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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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TIME OF DEATH - Antique Rotating Eyeball Skull Clocks by Oswald - HAUNTED HOROLOGY #3

TIME OF DEATH - Antique Rotating Eyeball Skull Clocks by Oswald - HAUNTED HOROLOGY #3I recently featured the antique rotating eyeball clock genre (here), but since I can't seem to stop featuring death related timepieces, here are a few more of the very rare skull versions. These eight day novelty clocks were built by Oswald of Germany between 1926 and 1944. These models are quite hard to find and generally cost a few thousand dollars.

TIME OF DEATH - Antique Rotating Eyeball Skull Clocks by Oswald - HAUNTED HOROLOGY #3The dials are represented as the eyes separating the hours on the left and minutes to the right. Most of their collection feature cross-eyed genies, monkeys, gnomes, owls, and dogs (LOTS of dogs).

Patent information here-->Link


TIME OF DEATH - Antique Rotating Eyeball Skull Clocks by Oswald - HAUNTED HOROLOGY #3
TIME OF DEATH - Antique Rotating Eyeball Skull Clocks by Oswald - HAUNTED HOROLOGY #3Related posts;
1610 Screaming Skull Clock

Mary Queen of Scots Skull Watch
All Memento Mori Posts
Other Oswald Eyeball Clocks

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120 Year Old Naked Ladies - 1890 Erotic Pocket Watch

120 Year Old Naked Ladies - 1890 Erotic Pocket WatchOh yeah, naked ladies playing harps... That's hot. Or so it was circa 1890 according to this awesome gunmetal cased erotic pocket watch full of sexy daguerreotype photos of loose Victorian ladies. One disc under the dial reveals a variety of rotating topless gals while the disc on the back exposes some other full frontal centenarian hotties through a porthole...or rather, a peephole.

And I forgot, it also tells the time...

120 Year Old Naked Ladies - 1890 Erotic Pocket WatchPetunia playing the Nippleharp

120 Year Old Naked Ladies - 1890 Erotic Pocket Watch120 Year Old Naked Ladies - 1890 Erotic Pocket WatchThe Caseback Peephole

Via Bogoff ($1750 - & free shipping if you mention Watchismo!) -->Link

Related Posts;
Antique Erotic Automaton
All Pocket Watch Posts



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Eraserclock - David Lynch's Mysterious Clock Design

Eraserclock - David Lynch's Mysterious Clock DesignHow would this keep time?

The film director David Lynch sketched this mysterious Rube Goldberg-esque clock design. Please email us with any ideas about how he might have intended this to work.

Eraserclock - David Lynch's Mysterious Clock DesignForgive me Henry...

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The Cloud Clock of Grindell "Death Ray" Matthews

The Cloud Clock of Grindell From the 1933 issue of Popular Science;

LIGHT PRINTS TIME ON CLOUDS

Once engaged in the development of a death ray for possible military use, H. Grindell-Matthews, British inventor, has developed a new gun for projecting light rays. A motor carriage supports the cannon-like projector, which is designed to throw signs upon clouds miles away, and is an improved model of one he demonstrated in New York City not long ago. By inserting a special clock with a transparent face and opaque hands and figures in the projector, the correct time is also thrown on clouds.

Grindell Matthews was most infamously known for his incredible (so-called) inventions like an aeronautical wireless phone in 1911 and a airplane dropping death ray in 1924. He was a visionary as much as he was a charlatan. Actually, his first real invention was huge...The first talking film in 1921 (years before Hollywood). Sadly, the British film industry told him the "talkies" would never catch on. Karma is a bitch.

This Cloud Clock, looking more like an actual death ray machine, was part of his Sky Projector invention. Casting images of everything from angels and American flags in the sky, the potential for advertising never caught on for this project and his company went bankrupt soon after.

Learn much more about Grindell Matthews controversial inventions and history here-->Link


The Cloud Clock of Grindell April 1933 Popular Science featuring the Cloud Clock

The Cloud Clock of Grindell Grindell Matthews

The Cloud Clock of Grindell The Sky Projector

via Modern Mechanix and Fortean Times


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The Time of your Life and Death - Mr. Jones Watches

The Accurate, Mantra, Decider, Right or Wrong, and More or Less are all the latest limited edition conceptual timepieces from Mr. Jones Watches.

Last time I featured Mr. Jones Watches-->Link, he had an exhibition-only series of prototype electronic watches developed to explore new cultural expressions, technologies of timekeeping and how they relate to contemporary life. "Each one was the embodiment of a social critique or observation." With a perfect sense of black humor, cultural irony and dry wit, London based Crispin Jones, the man behind the Mister, described his concepts as "work which lives in the intersection between Fine Art and Design - broadly this area is known as Critical Design - using the language and tools of design to articulate a critical perspective."

Now, his latest collection has taken this concept to public consumption. Featuring analog watches with rotating discs, each style of Mr. Jones Watches will be produced in a limited numbered series of 100. (£79.99 each - approx $159) Don't lose any more time, they're close to selling out! And just released this week, a series of Mr. Jones Watch videos by artist Steve Ounanian. Click play on any of the videos below.

The Accurate

The Accurate, evolved from his original Summissus watch, it's a watch that fosters humility in the wearer by featuring a mirrored dial to reflect the viewer together with a semi-subtle Memento Mori reminder of your inevitable mortal timeframe. The hour and minute discs spell out "Remember" and "You Will Die".

Crispin mentioned, "For the Mr Jones Watches project I worked with two other designers (Ross Cooper and Graham Pullin) we took a fairly broad overview of what the watch means to people (as an object rather than as a time keeping tool). For part of the research we tried to look at interesting things which people did in the past, i'm always quite drawn to products which didn't quite succeed in the marketplace." He also let me know that my humble Watchismo websites have been "an invaluable resource for information like this."



The Accurate interpreted by Steve Ounanian->Video

The original "Summissus" from his 2004 one-off series
Site-->Link & Video-->Link

The Mantra alternates a very positive statement (e.g. "you are amazing") with a very negative one (e.g. "nobody likes you"). The Mantra makes the arrogant person more humble and makes the humble more confident.


The Mantra interpreted by Steve Ounanian-->Video

The Decider is a watch for indecisive people - when you need to make a decision you simply look at your watch to see whether it is displaying "YES" or "NO" (if you are inclined to cheat then you can pull out the winding crown which stops the mechanism giving you an answer with no ambiguity).

The watch can also answer a more complex question - when you receive it tell the watch what you want to know, then wait until the battery runs out - whatever the watch stops on YES or NO is your answer...



The Decider interpreted by Steve Ounanian-->Video



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1934 Midget Icebox - The Coolest Watch in the World

1934 Midget Icebox - The Coolest Watch in the WorldWell, maybe you won't know what time it is, but you'll be the coolest cat in that sweaty speakeasy! From an article in the September 1934 issue of Popular Science. Original text below...
1934 Midget Icebox - The Coolest Watch in the WorldICEBOX ON WRIST TO COOL THE WHOLE BODY

"Purdue University physicists say the whole body may be kept cool during the hottest weather by a recently developed miniature refrigerator that straps to the wrist in the manner of a watch. The refrigerator is somewhat larger than a wrist watch and encloses a pellet of dry ice— solid carbon dioxide. As the dry ice evaporates, it forms an invisible gas. Escaping from the case, the gas has the same effect as cold water poured over the wrists. It lowers the temperature of the blood in the arteries and this cooled blood is carried to every part of the body. The metal case is insulated from the wrist by rubber, as the temperature of the dry ice is 109 degrees below zero and its contact with the skin would result in a severe burn. With proper insulation, however, there is no danger of this occurring. And thus the device can be worn in perfect safety."

1934 Midget Icebox - The Coolest Watch in the WorldThe original issue

Via Modern Mechanix

Related Posts;
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Plenty of cracks and scratches...but only one Dent

Plenty of cracks and scratches...but only one DentFor the first of The Watchismo Times’ British epistles (by new TWT contributor Alex Doak), here’s a suitably charming tale of British eccentricity, demonstrating a stalwart sense of heritage combined with that slightly anorakish tenacity of ours…

The surreal photo above (via worldarchitecturenews) actually depicts a 92-year-old gentlman by the name of Roland Hoggard. Bolted to the side of his barn, on a smallholding in Nottinghamshire, is the original clockface from London’s St Pancras railway station.

Plenty of cracks and scratches...but only one DentThe neo-gothic clock tower at St Pancras,
driven by a Dent mechanism

The story goes that back in the Seventies, the faux-Gothic Victorian architectural masterpiece was falling into disrepair. British Rail, in all their wisdom, therefore decided to tart the place up, which – in the Seventies at least – meant replacing everything with concrete. So the priceless fixtures and fittings were sold off. An American collector quickly earmarked the historic 10-foot-wide platform clock for an astronomic £250,000.

When the day came to take the clock down, British Rail, in classic British Rail style, managed to drop it. Backed by steel and weighing about 2.5 tons, the clock landed none too gracefully.

Thankfully, Mr Hoggard – then a train guard on the London–Nottingham route, and something of an amateur horologist – was at the London end when it happened, and saved the pile of shattered slate and cast iron from the skip with a mere £25 and a wheelbarrow.

Over the next 18 months, he painstakingly restored the clock between his railway shifts, even creating new numerals using concrete and moulds and making 108 bolts from scratch – a achievement of which his is rightfully proud.

Plenty of cracks and scratches...but only one DentThe new Eurostar platforms in progress,
with computer-rendered depiction of Dent’s new clock

St Pancras station is now getting the facelift it deserves, as the new home for the London-to-Brussels Eurostar route, from this November. And beaming down onto the ultra-modernised platforms, shopping complex and Europe’s longest champagne bar, will be an exact replica of the original clock, built by none other than the recently revived London watch brand, Dent & Co. (dentwatches.com).

It’s unsure who originally built the clock hanging on Mr Hoggard’s barn, but Dent was an obvious candidate for the new one, as Edward J Dent himself built the mechanism for the St Pancras’ external four-faced clocktower (which bears more than a striking resemblance to Dent’s other magnum opus, Big Ben, or the Houses of Parliament’s Great Clock to be more precise (Big Ben being the bell inside).

Which isn’t to say Hoggard’s 18-month toil went unnoticed. Frank Spurrell of Dent takes up the story: “Mr Hoggard kindly donated an actual chunk of the original face, which we sent to Loughborough University for petrochemical testing, to ascertain the slate’s provenance. We could then pinpoint the exact source in Wales required for the 12 new hour markers.”

Here’s hoping they doesn’t suffer the same fate going back up as the old stuff did coming down...


*Alex Doak - Freelance watch geek, and recent graduate of London's vaunted QP magazine, where he enjoyed a 4-year schooling under the aegis of horolo-guru James Gurney.

Related stories;
Dent article in QP Magazine-->Link
Big Ben on your Wrist-->Link




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No Time For a 19th Century English Bicycle Wrist-Horn & 21st Century Wristcam

No Time For a 19th Century English Bicycle Wrist-Horn & 21st Century WristcamYes, I know, I'm off topic again, but when products are invented for the wrist, I just can't resist.

This antique Victorian (1880-1890) English bicycle horn predates most wristwatches and looks quite difficult to blow while riding the awkward 19th century Penny Farthing bicycles of the same time (shown below).

No Time For a 19th Century English Bicycle Wrist-Horn & 21st Century Wristcam
No Time For a 19th Century English Bicycle Wrist-Horn & 21st Century WristcamYeah, take your hand off this thing
to blow your little horn buddy!


No Time For a 19th Century English Bicycle Wrist-Horn & 21st Century Wristcam
And since I'm feeling so un-timely today here is a modern wrist gadget by German product designer Tim Zurmoehle. Called "Watch!", a cool prototype digital wristcam.

I dig tubes...

No Time For a 19th Century English Bicycle Wrist-Horn & 21st Century Wristcam
Related Posts;
Victorian 1886 Camera Pocket Watch
History of Subminiature Spy Watch Cameras
1970 Sipe Steinheil Spy Wrist Camera
1955 Protana Minifon Recorder Wristwatch
History of James Bond Gadget Watches
All Gadget Watch Posts
All Multi-function Posts




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Painfully Real Cuckoo Clock - by Michael Sans

Painfully Real Cuckoo Clock - by Michael SansThe traditional Black Forrest Cuckoo Clock is creatively crucified by German artist and product designer, Michael Sans. This clock, simply titled "Cuckoo Clock", with materials consisting of; digital clock, metal housing, chromed nails and chain, cuckoo (died of natural causes in 1958). One of a kind-Not for sale.

Painfully Real Cuckoo Clock - by Michael SansDigital LED clock hung around the Cuckoo's head

Painfully Real Cuckoo Clock - by Michael Sans
Michael Sans Website-->Link


Related Posts on Watchismo;
All Clock features-->Link
All Artist features-->Link



Antique Black Forrest Cuckoo Clock Auctions
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Murano Watch Waste - Luxury Sink Drain Plug Clock

Murano Watch Waste - Luxury Sink Drain Plug Clock
Ordinarily, I'd come up with a lot to say about this drain plug watch/clock from Italy's Murano House but really, it would just be a lot of my time down the drain...


MuranoHouse Watch Waste-->Link

via Trendir


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TIME OF DEATH - Antique Rotating Eyeball Skull Clocks by Oswald - HAUNTED HOROLOGY #3120 Year Old Naked Ladies - 1890 Erotic Pocket WatchEraserclock - David Lynch's Mysterious Clock DesignThe Cloud Clock of Grindell "Death Ray" MatthewsThe Time of your Life and Death - Mr. Jones Watches1934 Midget Icebox - The Coolest Watch in the WorldPlenty of cracks and scratches...but only one DentNo Time For a 19th Century English Bicycle Wrist-Horn & 21st Century WristcamPainfully Real Cuckoo Clock - by Michael SansMurano Watch Waste - Luxury Sink Drain Plug Clock

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