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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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Satellite Telephone Wristwatches of 1979

Satellite Telephone Wristwatches of 1979
A cell phone vision from the 1979 book "Future Cities - Homes & Living into the 21st Century". Page 12 foreshadows a telephone wristwatch (they even speculate the nickname "The Risto") connected by satellites and capable of electronic mail and most surprisingly, electronic voting. All activated by pressing the aerial pop-out button!

Satellite Telephone Wristwatches of 1979Cover of the book

Satellite Telephone Wristwatches of 1979
via Paleo-Future

Related posts;
Wrist Radios
Camera Watches
James Bond Watches


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Girard Perregaux 1945 Jackpot Tourbillon

Girard Perregaux 1945 Jackpot Tourbillon
Well, since the Opus 5 concept watch 'Time Bandit' was never made, I guess I'll have to settle for this Girard Perregaux '1945 Jackpot Tourbillon'. Just introduced this week at the Geneva SIHH show, this hautegadget has an actual miniaturized mechanical slot machine just above the hands and tourbillon. Each roller has five symbols , hearts, diamonds, spades, horseshoes, and three liberty bells for jackpot. When the arm on the side is pulled, the spin also activates a striking mechanism of chiming gongs - for those vintage casino sounds. While modern barreled watches like Jean Dunand's Shabaka and the vintage rollers of the Patek Cobra incorporate timekeeping to this inventive display, the GP Jackpot represents what one-armed-bandits do best, taking lots of your money.

Girard Perregaux 1945 Jackpot TourbillonThe specs;
• 18k pink gold case
• Dimensions: 43.00 x 43.95 mm
• Height: 17.30 mm
• Antireflective sapphire crystal
• See-through case back, fastened with 4 screws
• Water-resistant to 30 metres
• Movement GIRARD-PERREGAUX GPFAY08
• Jackpot Tourbillon under gold Bridge
• Mechanical with manual winding
• Calibre: 38.60 x 32.60 mm
• Frequency: 21,600 vibrations/hour (3 Hz)
• Power reserve: minimum 96 hours (4 days)
• Functions: hour, minute, small seconds on the Tourbillon
• Slot machine and striking mechanism
• Alligator straps with folding buckle

via Timezone

Related posts;
Time Bandit
Patek Philippe Cobra
Jaz Derby Swissonic
Jean Dunand Shabaka

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Subminiature Camera Watches - Spy Watches Part II

Subminiature Camera Watches - Spy Watches Part IIOnce I think I've seen everything, somebody alerts me a mind-blowing gadget like this Steineck Subminiature Wrist-camera. Thanks to Max Busser, founder of MB&F Horological Machines who shared his find (above) from a vintage watch store in Lugano, Switzerland. Needless to say, I've been obsessed these antique spy/detective/novelty gadgets for the last few days and have uncovered a secret force of "Submini" wrist-cameras. A wide array of styles existed over many different eras, originating in 1907 with a pocket watch camera. Others were fit into rings, some were undisguised miniature cameras fit onto a wristband but my favorite remains the Steineck, with its robotic cyclops face and potential for Captain Kirk-ian prop-weaponry!

Subminiature Camera Watches - Spy Watches Part IIIt all began with these patent designs from 1907 for the first concealed camera in a pocket watch. Later marketed as the "Ticka" (below) with dummy watch face permanently set at 7 minutes past 10 o'clock indicating the viewing angle making it possible to use without the detachable viewfinder. Exposing unsuspecting subjects on a cassette of 17.5mm film (wound by turning the key) and the lens is hidden by the watch crown.

Subminiature Camera Watches - Spy Watches Part IIAn original Ticka with packaging
via UK Camera

Subminiature Camera Watches - Spy Watches Part IITicka's fixed 7-past-10 dummy dial

Subminiature Camera Watches - Spy Watches Part IIThe worlds first wrist-camera was created by Japanese inventor, Jujiro Ichiki in 1939. Via Modern Mechanix


Subminiature Camera Watches - Spy Watches Part IIThe above mentioned Steineck produced from the late forties into the fifties. Invented by Dr. Rudolph Steineck of Switzerland and highly regarded as one of the better quality subminiature cameras made. Uses a 24mm circular film disk and automatic film advance. The viewfinder is a reflex concave mirror with a sharp centre line pointer, which permits sighting from above when the camera, worn on the wrist, is held in picture-taking position. Through the centre of the camera is a hole, an alternative direct-vision viewfinder.

A complex mechanism best described from Submin.com's Steineck pages-->Link

Subminiature Camera Watches - Spy Watches Part II
Subminiature Camera Watches - Spy Watches Part IIThe Steineck in more detail from the original drawings and patent summary here-->Link

Subminiature Camera Watches - Spy Watches Part II1950s Pixie Wrist Camera
No tricks here, just a camera on your wrist.
via Link

Subminiature Camera Watches - Spy Watches Part II1960 Tessina Cameras featured the only subminiature watch that uses standard 35mm film but is the size of 16mm cameras. A rare version exisits for the wrist (above) and one with a Swiss watch attachment (below). Made up of 400 parts and built by Concava of Switzerland, the Tessina was also designed and patented by Dr. Rudolph Steineck.
Via Submin.com

Subminiature Camera Watches - Spy Watches Part IITessina with watch attachment

Subminiature Camera Watches - Spy Watches Part II1981 Magnacam Wristamatic invented by Bernard Seckendorf of New York. Not a spy camera but rather intended to be "on hand" for active sports. travel, sightseeing. Patent-->Link
Via Link and SubClub

Subminiature Camera Watches - Spy Watches Part II
Subminiature Camera Watches - Spy Watches Part II
Also from 1981, the Italian Ferro Ring camera. Very high quality and even had accessories. The lens was a fixed-focus 10mm with a variable shutter of B, 1/30 - 1/500. It takes special 25mm diameter discs of film and produces six 4.5x6mm images.
Via SubClub

Subminiature Camera Watches - Spy Watches Part IIGold plated Ferro Ring Watch with case for $5000
via Lionel Hughes Photographica

Subminiature Camera Watches - Spy Watches Part IIHere's one I wish existed. An impressive and ambitious 1940 Patent shows this K.M. French design for a wrist-attached camera complete with expanding bellows! Patent-->Link


More information on all varieties of subminiature & spy photography;
The Sub Club
Submin.com
PI Vintage

Subminiature Camera Watches - Spy Watches Part IIBe sure to read my previous post on the 1950s Minifon Spy Watch/Audio Recorder (pictured above)-->Link And the history of James Bond gadget watches-->Link



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Vintage Watching #2 - 1975 Solid Gold Pulsar LED Calculator Watch

Vintage Watching #2 - 1975 Solid Gold Pulsar LED Calculator Watch
A very rare solid gold Pulsar LED Calculator being sold by Usick-->Link

Originally sold in 1975 for $3750, this model is now priced at $10,000 obo and appears to be near mint. More info.

Can't afford 10k? The stainless steel and gold-fill versions are more accessible-->Link

Related posts;
History of Calculator Watches-->Link
Math Watches-->Link
History of Solar Watches-->Link
James Bond Watches-->Link


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Watches To Score With

Watches To Score WithThese quad-register timepieces are not monster chronos, they are scorekeepers for a variety of sports. All with mechanically hand-wound movements. Above is the Players Sport Watch, available at Joseph-Watches.

Watches To Score WithA really cool looking model by Tenor Dorly (n/a)

Watches To Score WithLikely a tennis scorekeeping watch-->Link


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Urwerk Time Bandit - The Opus That Never Was

An original sketch of what might have been the Opus V. Codenamed 'Time Bandit' by Urwerk's Martin Frei and Felix Baumgartner, it was an overwhelmingly difficult mechanical concept in which the wearer would engage the slot-machine style lever to activate the spinning digits and form the correct time on the side of the watch.

Even better, Felix Baumgartner describes the conundrum to Wei Koh of Horomundi/Revolution;

"You had to arm it like a slot machine. The time indications were placed on cylinders, but the watch did not show the time until you armed it. Once you released the arming lever these cylinders would turn until they stopped precisely at the right time. It was a completely crazy idea. It was really more complicated than a minute repeater; in fact, the base of this watch was essentially a minute repeater. You had a time telling base caliber and then a system of snail cams and racks like that in a minute repeater. When you armed the watch you would essentially be arming something similar to as strike barrel. But instead of translating the time into hammer strikes on gongs they would operate this one arm bandit like indication. And this indication involved a whole additional mechanism. When conceptualizing the watch we were joking that we were gambling with time, because we didn’t know if it was possible to create in a little over one year. This proved right."


Via Horomundi-->Link
The Complete Urwerk Story-->Link

The actual & highly successful Opus V
Related Urwerk Posts-->Link

Ian Skellern's video below
showing off the action of the watch


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Hatching Astronomic Sphere Clock by Vacheron Constantin

Hatching Astronomic Sphere Clock by Vacheron Constantin'L’Esprit des Cabinotiers' - The one-of-a-kind mystery clock that literally emerges from a hatching sphere - Created for the 250th anniversary of Vacheron Constantin.

The incubating clockwork consists of a golden sphere engraved by hand according to the sky chart drawn by Robert de Vaugondy (1723-1786), cartographer and geographer to Louis XV and creator of two large globes, one celestial and the other terrestrial. The sphere is composed of eight mechanical petals symbolizing the lotus flower, which may be progressively opened by means of an extremely sophisticated spring mechanism. The keys to the mystery and its revelation are known exclusively to the one owner of the object. The automata flower delicately reveals its heart, a timepiece endowed with a wide range of functions and complications (detailed below photos). Sold at auction for nearly $2,000,000.


Hatching Astronomic Sphere Clock by Vacheron Constantin
Hatching Astronomic Sphere Clock by Vacheron Constantin
Hatching Astronomic Sphere Clock by Vacheron Constantin
Hatching Astronomic Sphere Clock by Vacheron Constantin
Hatching Astronomic Sphere Clock by Vacheron Constantin
Hatching Astronomic Sphere Clock by Vacheron Constantin
Hatching Astronomic Sphere Clock by Vacheron Constantin
Hatching Astronomic Sphere Clock by Vacheron Constantin
Hatching Astronomic Sphere Clock by Vacheron Constantin

Technical specifications

GLOBE

Materials: 18-carat 750 pink gold (5N)
Diameter: 220 mm
Form and construction: Globe divided into a fixed half-sphere and 8 petals opening by means of 16 connecting rods linked to the telescopic shaft (on tiny sapphire balls) carrying the timepiece, driven by the mechanical motor housed within the base.
Finishing: The outside of the globe is in natural polished gold and features a depiction of the position of the stars on September 17th 1755 (date of the first document mentioning the existence of the House of Vacheron), decorated with a hand engraving inspired by the work of Robert de Vaugondy. The inside, enhanced by slender polished gold ribs, is finely satin-brushed.

CLOCK

Materials: 18-carat 750 pink gold (5N), Corundum
Diameter and thickness: 145 mm, 70 mm
Shape and construction: A cylinder and 2 sapphire crystal domes connected by a frame in 5N pink gold. An openworked support links the clock to the telescopic shaft at the centre of the sphere. Two holes for winding and time-setting are drilled into the rear dome.
Glasses: Sapphire crystal, glareproofed on both faces.

DIALS

Dial material: 18-carat yellow gold
Material for appliques: 18-carat pink gold (5N)
Dial description: Silvered with special 250th anniversary hand-guilloch? motif, minute disc encircling the dial in silvered 18-carat gold with engraved indications. ?Grand feu? miniature enamelled 12-segment outer disc.

Hatching Astronomic Sphere Clock by Vacheron Constantin

MOVEMENT

Indications & functions :
1. Hour on 12-hour display
2. Minutes
3. Deadbeat seconds
4. Hour on 24-hour display
5. Power reserve
6. Name of the day
7. Date of the day (perpetual)
8. Name of the month
9. Number of the year within the leap-year cycle
10. Equation of time
11. Age of the moon
12. Phases of the moon
13. Temperature
14. Astronomical calendar giving the position of the sun according to the Gregorian calendar. This mechanism was built on the basis of calculations by the mathematician Charles Etienne Louis CAMUS (1699-1768) and the watchmaking mechanical engineer Antide JANVIER (1751-1835).
15. Hours and quarters striking automatically in passing and on request, with the possibility of preventing the automatic striking.

Other technical characteristics:

Energy: Mechanical, twin-barrel, manual key winding
Regulating organs: Mono-metallic balance. Isochronous balance-spring ending in a Phillips curve, micrometric index (patented by Vacheron Constantin in 1884), Straight-line lever escapement with constant force system applied each second to the escape-wheel. This system precisely measures out the energy required for the regulator to perform 5 vibrations of an ideal and invariable amplitude.
Frequency: 18,000 vibrations per hour
Power reserve: Over seven days

Main dimensions:
Caging diameter: 125 mm
Total diameter: 129 mm
Total thickness: 41 mm


via The Purists --> Link
Quarter Millennieum of Vacheron Constantin auction --> Link

Related posts;
Christiaan van der Klauuw Astronomical Watches --> Link
Sethosphere Globe Clock --> Link


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Swiss Digital Envy - 1974 Sicura Instalite Electro-mechanical Jump Hour

Swiss Digital Envy - 1974 Sicura Instalite Electro-mechanical Jump Hour
Swiss mechanical watches were faced with a huge challenge by the growing popularity of digital LED & LCD displays of the seventies. Taking an older concept called the Jumping Hour or Direct Read (rotating discs with numbers printed on them instead of hands) and adapting it for watches like the Amida Digitrend with its reverse-reflected sideviewing LED imitation or the Sicura Instalite featured here. The Sicura was the first mechanical jump hour watch with a separate electric lighting function - batteries powered the lamp and manual winding for the watch. Pushing the top button lit up the display as well as three oddly placed portholes on the space-age case.

Available-->Link

Swiss Digital Envy - 1974 Sicura Instalite Electro-mechanical Jump HourSwiss Digital Envy - 1974 Sicura Instalite Electro-mechanical Jump HourSwiss Digital Envy - 1974 Sicura Instalite Electro-mechanical Jump Hour

Related posts;
Jump Hours


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Vintage Transistor Wrist Radios - Dick Tracy Wannabes

After my recent post on vintage watches for kids and another about the Sinclair FM Radio Watch, I had to feature a visual history of transistor radio watches. The invention of transistor radios in the fifties allowed radios to be much smaller than ever before, using much less power and eventually finding there way inside every imaginable portable product through the seventies. So needless to say, I'm showcasing the absurd world of novelty wrist-radios and radio-watches...

As much as people wanted two-way technology or walkie-talkie style of the famous Dick Tracy gadget, most got big bulky AM receiving behemoths like these.

1970s Aitron LED watch & transistor radio
The only transistor radio with LED watch. Display fit into center of speaker.
via ledwatches.net --> Link


Ga-ga-grooovy 70's wrist-radios!


Many brands like Wristo & Aitron

Radio Watch from Ultra-Terrestrial's collection -->Link
Sinclair's Accordion Prototype - The first FM radio-watch
Originally featured here --> Link
1964 Sinclair Micro-6 Transrista - Worlds smallest wrist-radio --> Link
Vintage ads from the 50's & 60's for homemade wrist-radios


The man



Satellite Telephone Wristwatches of 1979Girard Perregaux 1945 Jackpot TourbillonSubminiature Camera Watches - Spy Watches Part IIVintage Watching #2 - 1975 Solid Gold Pulsar LED Calculator WatchWatches To Score WithUrwerk Time Bandit - The Opus That Never Was1970 Sicura Safari Knife WatchHatching Astronomic Sphere Clock by Vacheron ConstantinSwiss Digital Envy - 1974 Sicura Instalite Electro-mechanical Jump HourVintage Transistor Wrist Radios - Dick Tracy Wannabes

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