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Watchismo Times

THE WATCHISMO TIMES WATCH BLOG A reliquary of obscure timepieces from bygone eras as well as the cutting-edge watch designs of today.

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Jaz Derby Swissonic - 1974 Digital Roller Time Display

The Jaz Derby Swissonic, Introduced in 1974 at the Basel Fair (Annual Swiss Watch Trade Show), featured a fascinating new way to display time. Cylindrical barreled rolling wheels powered by a new transistorized system with balance by Dynotron, ESA 9176. Rotating numbers on these drum rollers created a very tall timepiece sitting over 15mm off the wrist. A wheel next to the digital readout had graduating sized lines (thin t0 thick) deliniating each minute passing before 'clicking' to the next.

Many high-end watch companies today are creating roller style watches like Vianney Halter's Cabestan, Jean Dunand's Shabaka, and Jacob & Co.'s Quenttin. But the obscure French Jaz Derby started the ball, uh...wheels rolling.


Very rare watches today and even more difficult to find them functioning with precision. Piotr, a dedicated watch enthusiast in Poland has become the foremost expert of the Jaz Derby (among other watches of the era) and detailed his page of servicing the watch-->Link

Jaz Derby Movement

Nixie Tube Clock by Klok Modern

Vintage Nixie Tubes from the USSR are reclaimed after 30-60 years in Russian warehouses by Industrial Designer, Mike Mayberry and his company, Klok Modern. Exquisitely displayed in his custom fabricated, limited edition, aircraft aluminum housing and sold as a kit for home assembly. The beauty of the ten layered electrodes glowing orange with overlapping dimension can only be appreciated when it's right in front of you.

Klok K7 Model


1950's Nixie Advertisement

Kienzle 'Life 2002' Jump Hour from the 1972 Lifestyle

Kienzle 'Life 2002' Jump Hour from the 1972 Lifestyle

Kienzle - A German company that manufactured everything from early computers to dashboard clocks for VW, Mercedes and Porsche ventured into 'wrist dashboards' with this 1972 'Life 2002' mechanical digital jump hour wristwatch. An enormous asymmetric case with separate windows for 12/24 hours, minute and seconds disks.


Kienzle 'Life 2002' Jump Hour from the 1972 Lifestyle



'God Save the Watch' - Grima for Pulsar & Omega 1969-1975

'God Save the Watch' - Grima for Pulsar & Omega 1969-1975

1969 Grima 'About Time' for Omega

Andrew Grima, modernist jeweler and holder of a 20 year Royal Warrant of Appointment to the Queen of England. Grima created some of the rarest watches of the sixties and seventies - Most were one-of-a-kind private commissions and all are made from precious metals or gemstones.

'God Save the Watch' - Grima for Pulsar & Omega 1969-1975

Custom 18k LED top buttons

'God Save the Watch' - Grima for Pulsar & Omega 1969-1975

Alternate version w/ side buttons

Pulsar Time Computer commissioned Grima in the mid-seventies to create a small variety of solid gold LED (light emitting diode) wristwatches. Only surfacing in recent years after a liquidation of a Middle East jeweler's estate. All are one of a kind and part of Simon Alexander and Bruce Wegmann's important collection.

'God Save the Watch' - Grima for Pulsar & Omega 1969-1975

18k Bracelet LED

'God Save the Watch' - Grima for Pulsar & Omega 1969-1975

Solid White Gold LED (115 grams)

'God Save the Watch' - Grima for Pulsar & Omega 1969-1975

Hammered Gold LED

'God Save the Watch' - Grima for Pulsar & Omega 1969-1975

The entire Grima LED collection

Grima collaborated with Omega in 1969 for the 'About Time' series. Designing 85 one-offs built by 64 craftsmen in one year. All featured watches under gemstones instead of glass and one was fitted with a 28-carat emerald crystal. Very little is known about the Grima models but I've been told by an Omega representative that a book is currently being written featuring many of the 'About Time' line.

'God Save the Watch' - Grima for Pulsar & Omega 1969-1975

1969 'Gondola' Watch
18k YG w/Smoky Quartz Crystal

'God Save the Watch' - Grima for Pulsar & Omega 1969-1975

1969 'Greenland' Watch
18k YG w/ irregularly shaped Tourmaline

Andrew Grima 1965

Many thanks to:
Grima Jewellery
LED Watches.net
Simon Alexander & Bruce Wegmann

James Bond Gadget Watch History - Q-Branch Issues


Original 1962 Rolex Submariner from first 007, 'Dr. No'

James Bond generally prefers wearing a Rolex Submariner or Omega Seamaster throughout the series but when issued a specialty watch from Q-Branch, 007 has worn every gadget from Geiger counters to circular saws. Interestingly, the first James Bond, 'Dr. No' had no real gadgets at all.

Piano Wire Watch

1963's 'From Russia With Love' is the first 007 movie to introduce a multi-function watch, only it's worn by the villain, Red Grant. Fitted with a retractable piano-wire for strangulation.
Use
Grant tried to strangle Bond with the wire aboard the Orient Express during a fierce battle. However when Bond was being choked, he grabbed for his throwing knife and stabbed Grant in the leg, snatching the wire and strangling him.
Specs
An ordinary looking wrist watch, but on the side of it was a small tab, when pulled, a long steel wire would retract like a tape measure.

1965 'Thunderball' 'Geiger Counter'
Breitling 'Top Time' Diver Chrono

(No crown, no chronograph pushers)

Use
Bond gave the camera to Domino, with instructions to turn it on whilst aboard the Disco Volante, Domino did this and the device worked well. However Largo came into the room, Domino dropping it in fright, Largo was not a fool and heard the distinctive clicking noise of the Geiger counter. And began to torture Domino, who was saved by Kutze who had a change of heart when the bombing was ordered.
Specs
An ordinary small camera, common to the one's carried by tourists. However it contained a Geiger counter device, with it's reading gauge around the bezel of the lens.

Almost timing to real world watch technology innovations, Roger Moore is introduced as the new 007 and with that - some of the most inventive watches of the series are introduced in 1973's 'Live and Let Die.'

1973 'Live And Let Die'
Hamilton Pulsar 'P2 2900' LED digital watch

(non-gadget but latest technology)

Pulsar P2 LED

1973 'Live And Let Die' - Rolex 'Buzzsaw" Submariner
(spinning saw bezel used to cut free of rope)

Use
Bond firstly used his watch for a more entertaining purpose, by activating the magnet and unzipping Miss Caruso's dress. Towards the end of the mission when Bond and Solitaire were being lowered into Kananga's shark pool, Bond used the magnet to get hold of a compressed air bullet. Bond then used the mini saw to cut through the rope around his wrists and free himself. After a fight with Kananga, Bond forced the bullet into Kananga's mouth, making him "bite the bullet".
Specs
A standard looking Rolex diving watch with a few added extras:
  • High power electromagnet, which could deflect the path of a bullet
  • The bezel was equipped with a diamond cutting wheel

1973 'Live and Let Die'
Rolex 'Magnetized' Submariner Wristwatch
(Best use - Unzipping a dress,
Most utilitarian - Bullet guard)

1974 'The Spy Who Loved Me'
Seiko 0674 'Ticker Tape' Wristwatch


Use
This device was used to dispatch Bond back to headquarters. He was required to "pull out" of his current "mission", in a warmed up log cabin with a stunning blonde KGB agent.

Specs
A digital watch with an in built satellite link, short messages could be sent from MI6 and printed from the watch on a thin spool of tape.

1979 'Moonraker'
Seiko m354 Memory Bank 'Plastique Explosive' Wristwatch

(explosive coil hidden in caseback)

Use
Bond and Holly Goodhead were trapped inside the bunker of a space shuttle's launch pad, under it's rocket boosters. Time quickly running out, Bond removed the explosive, stuck it to a welded exhaust grate and blew it off the wall, making for an easy escape.
Specs
A digital watch, with an extended back-plate that could be removed to reveal a small but powerful explosive charge and a detonator wire. The explosive is removed and the detonator wire plugs into the side of the watch, a button detonates the explosive at a safe distance.

Octopussy Wrist Dart Gun
(replica)

Use
Bond used the wrist dart gun 3 times, once saving his life. Firstly he tested it out in M's office by firing a dart into a painting. Bond's life saving came, when he was in a centrifuge, the control room was taken over by Drax's henchman Chang, who turned up the G's to a lethal volume. Bond flicked his wrist, firing an amour piercer into the overridden stop button, stopping the machine with a short circuit. Lastly Bond used a poison tip to kill Drax, firing it into his heart and forcing him though an airlock into space.
Specs
A small gun like device propelled the darts by using pressurised gas, good for 10 firings before refill. The poison tipped darts, were coated with concentrated cyanide, the amour piercing dart had cores of depleted uranium - like the ammunition used in large bore military machine guns.

1981 'For Your Eyes Only'
Seiko H357 Analog Digital Display with scrolling LED message bar

(also Dick Tracy style two-way radio)

Use
A newer version of Bond's mothballed ticker tape watch, the Voice Link watch. Beeped at Bond, just as he was ready for a moonlight swim, Bond threw the watch to Melina Havelock's pet parrot. None other than Margaret Thatcher was on the other end of the line from 10 Downing Street, where Q had wired up the phone to the satellite link.
Specs
A digital/analogue combination watch, with a built-in satellite phone to receive calls direct from MI6.

1983 'Octopussy'
Seiko Liquid Crystal TV Watch


Use

Isn't it obvious?



1983 'Octopussy' Seiko G757 Sports 100
Homing Device/Hidden Microphone Monitor

1995 'Golden Eye' Omega Seamaster
Laser emitting, explosive device wristwatch

1997 'Tomorrow Never Dies' Omega Seamaster
Detonator Watch

1999 'World Is Not Enough' Omega Seamaster
Dual Laser/Grappling Hook Watch

Use
"Goldeneye": When Bond and Natalya got trapped inside the ICBM train, surrounded by one-inch thick amour plating. As Natalya pounded away at a computer keyboard trying to trace Boris' location, Bond activated the laser cutter on his watch and proceeded to cut a manhole in the floor of train. With seconds left, Bond ripped Natalya away from the computer, the two dived through the man hole, and ran from the train seconds before it exploded. Later in the mission, Bond had a series of magnetic mines activated in Trevelyan's HQ, and his watch could arm or disarm the mines. Trevelyan, being a former MI6 agent, knew about Bond's watch, he took it from Bond and disarmed the mines.
"Tomorrow Never Dies": Bond picks up a new version of the Omega courtesy of Wai Lin's stock of gadgets. Bond uses the detachable remote detonator to make a booby trap with a grenade and a glass jar. When Bond needs a diversion after Carver shoots his hostage, Gupta, 007 triggers the detonator causing the grenade to pop free and self-arm.
"The World Is Not Enough": Bond first uses the watch to illuminate the inside of the inflated bubble ski jacket whilst himself and Elektra are trapped in an avalanche. The watch is useful later, when stuck in an inspection pit in the nuclear bunker, Bond fires the piton wire to jump 50 feet.
Specs
An Omega Seamaster with blue face and bezel. Modified to incorporate a high-power laser diode, capable of cutting through two inches of steel. It was also equipped with a button used to arm and disarm the magnetic mines.
Wai Lin's gadget masters incorporate a detachable detonator into the watch for "Tomorrow Never Dies". Bond notes they have a newer version than his Quartermaster at MI6.
For "The World Is Not Enough", the watch is fitted with a miniature grappling hook which includes a 50 foot high tensile micro filament, able to support 800 pounds. Bond puts this into use to escape a potentially explosive situation. Q-Branch has also incorporated dual high-powered lasers into the design, and the casing is made from titanium.

2006 'Casino Royale'
Back to basics with gadgetless Omega Seamaster
Special thanks to;M16
Pocket Calculator Show
James McMahon
James Bond Dot Com

1976 Zenith 'Time Command' Analog-digital LED Hybrid Watch


1976 Zenith 'Time Command' Analog-digital LED Hybrid Watch

1976 Zenith 'Time Command' Analog-digital LED Hybrid Watch




1976 Advertisement

Very few Swiss watch companies truly ventured into the digital age but Zenith found a happy medium with their 'Time Command' or 'Futur' and 'Defy Quartz' ana-digi wristwatches. The latest Quartz analog display with the only watch of it's kind to diplay am/pm, date and/or seconds with a tiny LED window. But the most spectacular angle of this design is the curved crystal cascading over the top of the case allowing an uncommon three-dimensional view of the dial and hands.




Interesting to note the 1956 Zenith Space Command remote control directly above the Hamilton Pulsar of 1972 in the PC World 50 Greatest Gadgets of the past 50 years article.

Calculating the History of LED Calculator Watches

1975 Calcron Calculator Watch

Playboy magazine, June 1975...A gift-giving advertisement with ideas for dads & grads included this guy hidden in the back. The Calcron LED Wrist Calculator. Likely the first public offering of it's kind.

Pulsar Calculator Watch
Once thought to be the first calculator watch, the Hamilton Pulsar Company introduced their own version in late 1975.



1976 Uranus Calculator Watch

Obscure company Uranus creates a very unusual calculator watch with revolutionary "touch-friendly" buttons. (Most up to this point required a stylus pen for calculations) Sadly, very few exist today and even less in working condition. Both rarity and eccentricity make this the most valuable calculator watch to collect.

1977 Hewlett Packard HP-01 (prototype shown)

Hewlett Packard's appropriate contribution to the appendage calculation device. Article mentions "about 50,000 HP-01s had been made, of which about a half had been purchased by a Saudi prince. Half the rest were sold through shops, then the remainder was sold to HP employees at a clearance price." 

1977 Sinclair Kit LED Calculator Watch


Sinclair's "home assembled" offering (without time function) and ultimate failure due to ill-fitting parts. Article mentions "more than 10,000 Wrist Calculators were sold to masochistic hobbyists from all parts of the world." 


1976-78 Hughes Aircraft Calculator Watch


Hughes Aircraft Company (as in Howard Hughes) created this super-block calculator watch between 1976 and 78. One of the most outlandish due to it's massive metal casing. Worn by Lorne Greene and other cast mates on the 70's show Battlestar Gallactica.


Assorted 1980's LCD Calculator Watches - Link to NerdWatchMuseum

And along come the 80's...LCD technology is in full swing and every imaginable company produces LCD calculator watches as sampled above.
Jaz Derby Swissonic - 1974 Digital Roller Time DisplayJames Bond Gadget Watch History - Q-Branch Issues

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