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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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Look at Legendary LEDs of Lloyd's Large Collection


Video-->Link

With the recent release of the $350,000 Opus 8 ->(link) and the de Grisogono Meccanico dG ->(link) with their mechanically mimicked LED digits, I wanted to also share this video and photos from the collection of UK LED collector, Lloyd "Theledwatch". He was recently featured on Antiques Roadshow (see video above) where he shared some of the best examples of early 1970s digital light emitting diode watches like the Pulsar Hamilton P1, Girard Perregaux Casquette, Omega Time Computer and my one-of-a-kind favorites by the Royal designer Andrew Grima.

Some highlights of Lloyd's collection including the rarest and most valuable vintage digital LED watches of the seventies; (text also from theledwatch.com)

The Hewlett Packard HP-01 LED Watch calculator was a marvel of miniaturization and intelligent design. It was HP's first watch and their first small algebraic calculator but it was more than just a wristwatch and a calculator in the same package.

It combined them to do things that neither could do alone. Its user interface combined the best of both worlds. For example, to change time zones, the user displayed the time, added or subtracted the appropriate amount and stored the result.

Three styles of the Hewlett Packard HP-01 Calculator Watches

In the late 1960's and throughout the 1970's, Andrew Grima was commissioned by various members of the British and Scandinavian Royal family including Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret, to make various items of jewelry.

Mr. Grima's work is very highly sought after and collectors pay many thousands of pounds for his rare and beautiful pieces.. During the 70's his work was sold in an exclusive gallery in Knightsbridge (LONDON) and would range form many thousands to a million pounds plus.

Another one-of-a-kind Grima LED!

The rarest calculator watch by Uranus


Girard Perregaux's perfectly designed sideview "Casquette"

GP Casquette in Macrolon (also avail in gold)

The first solar powered watch by Synchronar
Invented by Roger Riehl in the late sixties
(Read previous post about history of Solar watches-->Link)
Rare Synchronar Ad for Women

Roger Tallon's original 1975 asymmetric LIP Mach 2000 models
(above and below)


The first electronic digital watches on the market by Hamilton-Pulsar

1973 Pulsar P2 for Tiffany & Co.

The ultra-rare Pulsar P1 in solid 18k
Only a few dozen in circulation valued at around $20k

Pulsar Calculator watches in steel and solid gold
The original 18k models sold for $3950.00 in 1975

Original Pulsar Advertising

Before going under in 1978, Pulsar introduced their very rare "Greenie"

1973 Omega TC-1 in solid 18k gold


1975 Longines LED

1976 Breitling Navitimer
(only produced one year before the LCD version)

Very rare Benrus "Pop-Up" LED Sideview
(case physically pops up when button is pressed and time is displayed)



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The Secret Life of Machines

A great episode of the late eighties BBC series "The Secret Life of Machines". This particular episode (featured in three parts below) focuses on the development and technology leading up to quartz watches but there is much much more in this show. Everything from sundials, water clocks, church clocks, mechanical pocket watches, the first wristwatches, vintage watch commercials, electric, tuning fork, solid state, LCD, LED, and the modern analog Quartz.




Part 1 --> Link (or click play above)



Part 2 --> Link (or click play above)



Part 3 --> Link (or click play above)

See Also;
All Watch & Clock History Posts-->Link

via WatchesCorner


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Ancient Nerds - History of Computing & The Earliest Calculating Devices

Neatorama.com has a fantastic overview of the history of computing with a special focus of early mechanical calculating devices-->LINK

Some examples from the feature;

Ancient Nerds - History of Computing & The Earliest Calculating DevicesThe 2000 year old Antikythera Mechanism, the worlds oldest computing device (and 1000 years more advanced than comparable mechanisms). Only discovered 100 years ago in a shipwreck.

Ancient Nerds - History of Computing & The Earliest Calculating DevicesWilhelm Schickard’s Calculating Clock (1632) that could add and subtract six-digit numbers (with a bell as an overflow alarm). This invention was used by his friend, astronomer Johannes Kepler, to calculate astronomical tables, which was a big leap for astronomy at the time. For this, Wilhelm Schickard was considered by some to be the "Father of Computer Age."

Ancient Nerds - History of Computing & The Earliest Calculating DevicesBlaise Pascal’s Pascaline (or Arithmetique) from 1645 - The basic mechanism of the Pascaline is a series of gears - when the first gear with ten teeth made one rotation (one to ten), it shifts a second gear until it rotated ten times (one hundred). The second gear shifted a third one (thousands) and so on. This mechanism is still in use today in car odometers, electricity meters and at the gas pumps.

Ancient Nerds - History of Computing & The Earliest Calculating DevicesGerman mathematician Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz' Stepped Reckoner of the 17th century was inspired by a steps-counting machine (pedometer) he saw to build his own calculator. Leibniz’s design used a special type of gear called the Stepped Drum or Leibniz wheel, a cylinder with nine bar-shaped teeth along its length.

Ancient Nerds - History of Computing & The Earliest Calculating DevicesCharles Babbage’s Difference Engine from 1822 was considered one of the first mechanical computers. Despite of its unwieldy design, his plan called for a basic architecture very similar to that of a modern computer.

Ancient Nerds - History of Computing & The Earliest Calculating DevicesDuring World War II, Nazi Germany used an electro-mechanical cipher machine called Enigma to encrypt and decrypt coded messages. It used rotors to substitute letters (for example, an "E" might be coded as "T"). The genius of the Enigma was that the machine used polyalphabetic cipher, where the rotation of the rotors allowed each subsequent letters to be encoded in a different manner. (For example, "EEE" might be become "TIF").

See the rest, including the dawn of digital computing here-->Link

via BoingBoing from Neatorama

See also;
All Watchmaking Posts
History of the First Digital Calculator Watches
1960s Juvenia Protractor Watch
Multi-Functional Watches
Slide Rule Wristwatches
Gadget Timepieces


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A Century of Rolex Watches - Antiquorum Thematic Auction

A Century of Rolex Watches - Antiquorum Thematic Auction
Antiquorum celebrates a century of Rolex watches with a thematic sale.

The year 2008 marks the 100th anniversary of Rolex. Antiquorum Auctioneers, the world’s leading auction house for timepieces, will celebrate this important event with the exceptional sale “Revolution: The Evolution of the Rolex Sport Watch” on April 17th at Antiquorum’s US headquarters located at 595 Madison Avenue in New York City.

See highlights of the auction here-->LINK


(Featured above)
Rolex “Space Dweller” Ref. 1016
Extremely rare, first introduced to the Japanese market in 1963, just after a visit to Japan by the Mercury astronauts.
Estimate: $20,000 -$30,000 (US)


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More Accurate Than God! Two vintage 60s Bulova Accutron Commercials


1960s Clocktower Video-->Link

Fantastic vintage 1960s television commercials for the Bulova Accutron. The humming transistorized electromagnetic coil tuning fork watches invented by Max Hetzel in the fifties.



Original 60s Accutron Commercial-->Link


Thanks to devout Accutron enthusiasts Horst Knebel and Hummin Georgie Stalzer for digging these out of the dusty vaults.

Max Hetzel - ACCUracy through ElecTRONics

"When the Accutron was introduced in 1960 it was described as the first electronic watch but it also had another revolutionary feature, the time keeping was controlled by a tuning fork. The tuning fork vibrated 360 times per second and the vibrations were maintained at a constant amplitude by means of a transistor, dispensing with the mechanical contact which had been a source of trouble with earlier electric watches. The tuning fork was made of Elinvar, for temperature stability, and Bulova was able to guarantee that it would not gain or loose more than a minute a month thoughout its life. It was designed by a Swiss engineer, Max Hetzel, and manufactured in the USA. It remained in production until 1976, by which time five million watches had been sold." --via Science Museum

"Bulova Accutrons were also subjects of the other famous space era rivalry with Omega Watches for being the first watch on the moon. Ultimately, the Omega Speedmaster Professional chronograph wristwatch (known as the "Moon watch") was designated by NASA for use by the astronauts in all manned space missions, becoming the first watch on the moon on the wrist of Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin.

However, all instrument panel clocks and time-keeping mechanisms in the spacecraft on those missions were Bulova Accutrons with tuning fork movements, because at the time, NASA did not know how well a mechanical movement would work in zero gravity conditions. The Bulova company currently manufactures a limited edition "Astronaut" model under its Accutron line of watches." -via Wikipedia

Related;
Other vintage watch commercials-->Link

Accutron enthusiast websites;
Accutron Spaceview
Accutron 214
MS Accutron
Rob's Accutron
Timezone Accutron



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Watchismo's Timewarp - Max Büsser's 19th Century Steel & Gunmetal Pocket Watch Collection

Watchismo's Timewarp - Max Büsser's 19th Century Steel & Gunmetal Pocket Watch CollectionAfter many opportunities to address my proclivities in my Timewarp column in QP Magazine, I wanted to turn the loupe on people who never fail to impress me, to explore what makes them tick. First on my list was modern pioneer, Maximilian Büsser and his rare & unusual 19th century unsigned laminated iron, gunmetal and steel pocket watches.

Click here to read article-->LINK

Ian Skellern's amazing photos of the collection;

Watchismo's Timewarp - Max Büsser's 19th Century Steel & Gunmetal Pocket Watch CollectionGreen enamel Jumping Hour

Watchismo's Timewarp - Max Büsser's 19th Century Steel & Gunmetal Pocket Watch CollectionBlackened steel with full triple calendar on back

Watchismo's Timewarp - Max Büsser's 19th Century Steel & Gunmetal Pocket Watch CollectionBlackened seven day power reserve

Watchismo's Timewarp - Max Büsser's 19th Century Steel & Gunmetal Pocket Watch CollectionSt. Imiers 1100 year anniversary one-handed pocket watch

Watchismo's Timewarp - Max Büsser's 19th Century Steel & Gunmetal Pocket Watch CollectionArticle available in issue 27 of QP Magazine

And of course, Max has just unveiled his remarkable HM2 (Horological Machine No.2) here-->LINK

An interview with Max at PuristsPro-->link

Related posts;
All Horological Machine Stories
Previous Timewarps



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VINTAGE WATCHING - 1970 Prototype Concept Calculator Watch by Litronix

VINTAGE WATCHING - 1970 Prototype Concept Calculator Watch by LitronixThis week's "Vintage Watching" presents an opportunity to own a one-of-a-kind chunk of electronic watch history. A 1970's concept calculator watch by Litronix.

Litronix, primarily an LED supplier to the other vintage digital watch brands including the first Hamilton-Pulsar digital watches. Featured here are these two experimental prototype calculator concept watches Litronix was considering for development.

But what makes this strange watch special is the unusual feature of sliders instead of buttons. Likely an attempt to improve the data entry from multiple miniature buttons to a more tactile sliding mechanism. The sliders move over a commutator which is a pc board segment. I assume you move them to the desired number and press down for selection but it sure seems like a waste of time. I guess that's why it never went into production, huh? Maybe someone can let me know if this slider function has ever been developed into another product from that time.

VINTAGE WATCHING - 1970 Prototype Concept Calculator Watch by LitronixThe second model shown here is just a block of metal, likely an earlier prototype of the one above.

The owner auctioning it (ends in less than a week), says he bought them a few decades ago a local watch and clock collectors' meeting. It is non-functional but nevertheless an interesting segment of calculator watch evolution.

VINTAGE WATCHING - 1970 Prototype Concept Calculator Watch by LitronixThree battery compartments on back



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The Latest Timewarp is LIP Smackin Good!

The Latest Timewarp is LIP Smackin Good!Here is my fourth "Timewarp" column for the 26th issue of QP Magazine. This time I feature the innovative French brand LIP and their incredibly advanced Mach 2000 and others from the revolutionary designer series of the early seventies.

Click to view the article-->Link

Past Timewarps (Sideview displays, Macho 60s & 70s vintage chronographs, and the 1971 Pierre Cardin Espace watches)-->Link



Enter The Watchismo Times 1st anniversary vintage chronograph giveway!-->LINK


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Haunted Horology Week! Mary Queen of Scots Skull Watch

Haunted Horology Week!  Mary Queen of Scots Skull WatchI'm celebrating the week leading to Halloween with a variety of spooky timepieces!

Not long before Mary Queen of Scots had her own head chopped off, she had this bone chilling silver skull watch made. The case is opened by dropping the under jaw, which turns upon a hinge, while the watchworks occupy the place of the brain.

Likely one of the earliest examples of horological "Memento Mori" (artistic reminders of ones mortality).

See all my past Memento Mori watch posts-->Link


Haunted Horology Week!  Mary Queen of Scots Skull WatchSideview

Haunted Horology Week!  Mary Queen of Scots Skull WatchThe original engraved dial with 18th century modified to a balance-spring movement by J. Moysan of Blois, France.

Haunted Horology Week!  Mary Queen of Scots Skull WatchEarly representations of the watch
(before photography proved its existence)

Haunted Horology Week!  Mary Queen of Scots Skull WatchIt is believed Mary gave this watch as a gift to Mary Seaton, one of her maids of honor. The skull is of silver gilt and is engraved with lines of Horace, figures of Death with his scythe and hourglass, Adam and Eve, and the Crucifixion. The lower part of the skull is pierced to emit the sound when it strikes, being cut in the form of emblems of the Crucifixion. The works occupy the brain's position in the skull fitting into a silver bell which fills the entire hollow of the skulL The hours are struck on this bell by a small hammer on a separate train..

She sure must have been a barrel of laughs...

Haunted Horology Week!  Mary Queen of Scots Skull WatchThere's something about Mary...

Haunted Horology Week!  Mary Queen of Scots Skull WatchRelated Post: 1810 Skull Pocket Watch-->Link



Enter The Watchismo Times 1st anniversary vintage chronograph giveway!-->LINK


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Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Cartier World Time Clock

Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Cartier World Time ClockAn onyx clock given to former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt by Pierre Cartier will be auctioned and is expected to fetch up to $1 million (€710,000).

The clock, containing time zones for locations important to Allied forces in World War II, is being offered for sale on Dec. 4 at Sotheby's Manhattan auction house.

Cartier sent Roosevelt the gift on December 20th, 1943 with a letter in which the French jeweler wrote, “My countrymen are particularly grateful for what you are doing for them, and we realize that it will be thanks to your efforts and marvelous leadership that France will again live.” Cartier continues, “I have thought that a clock marking the time in the different parts of the earth where the glorious American armies are fighting – a clock which therefore will mark the hour of victory – might be a useful addition to your desk.”

President Roosevelt, in his letter from the White House thanking Pierre Cartier, replies, “And, too, I am intrigued by the differing times of world capitals. Soon, very soon, I hope that Paris will resume her place among the free capitals of the world. All of us are doing our best toward that end.”


The letters are not part of the auction and are housed in the FDR Presidential Library in Hyde Park, N.Y.

Herald Tribune via Luxist



Enter The Watchismo Times 1st anniversary vintage chronograph giveway!-->LINK


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Look at Legendary LEDs of Lloyd's Large CollectionAncient Nerds - History of Computing & The Earliest Calculating DevicesA Century of Rolex Watches - Antiquorum Thematic AuctionMore Accurate Than God! Two vintage 60s Bulova Accutron CommercialsWatchismo's Timewarp - Max Büsser's 19th Century Steel & Gunmetal Pocket Watch CollectionVINTAGE WATCHING - 1970 Prototype Concept Calculator Watch by LitronixThe Latest Timewarp is LIP Smackin Good!Haunted Horology Week!  Mary Queen of Scots Skull WatchFranklin Delano Roosevelt's Cartier World Time Clock

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