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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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Bell & Ross Instrument BR 01 Airborne - The Talisman Watch


Bell & Ross Instrument BR 01 Airborne - The Talisman WatchInstrument BR01 Airborne

The Talisman watch


"The BR 01 Airborne is an anthem to the extraordinary saga of military paratroopers. This new watch is a tribute to those brave young men who fought in one of the toughest army corps, particularly the US Airborne divisions.


The Airborne divisions were born during the Second World War. They were the first to be exposed to danger and the first ones to face death. Their most famous motto was “Death from Above” symbolised by a skull that was a reminder to them of both their power and vulnerability.

Since then, the symbol has spread to other military regiments. It is often embossed on uniforms patches or on fighter planes. The skull is a constant reminder of the omnipresence of death on each military mission."

Bell & Ross Instrument BR 01 Airborne - The Talisman Watch


By wearing the skull, the soldiers are attempting
to both defy death and intimidate the enemy
Bell & Ross Instrument BR 01 Airborne - The Talisman Watch

"The BR 01 Airborne reinvents the notion of the talisman, and personifies the very spirit of these outstanding men. It is a genuine tribute to the noblest of military values as well as to the bravery of soldiers who face death on a daily basis to defend their country."

  • Movement: Automatic mechanical ETA 2892.
  • Functions: Hours, minutes.
  • Case: 46mm diameter. 316L glass bead blasted steel with black finishing type carbon powder coating.
  • Dial: black. Photoluminescent hands and skull for optimum night readability.
  • Glass: anti-reflection sapphire crystal.
  • Water-resistance: 100 meters.
  • Bracelet: rubber, leather or heavy-duty synthetic fabric

via TheWatchQuote

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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



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Ticking Time Bombers - 1943 Hamilton Bombtimer

The 1943 Hamilton Bombtimer, not actually a wrist or pocket watch, but mounted on a turret within a World War II bombadier's compartment so he could time the duration between bomb drop and detonation.

Two Bombtimers modified for the wrist

Additional Bomb Timer info from Rene Rondeau, Vintage Hamilton Watch Expert;

"A curious and largely unexplored topic..... There's nothing about them in Whitney's comprehensive "Military Timepieces", and they're not even listed in Hamilton's own WWII production summaries. There's one wartime ad that shows it (seen below).

These were made with the dial in either horizontal orientation as seen in the picture on top, or more "watch-like" vertical arrangement just below it (provided by the 2007 "Complete Price Guide to Watches". Usually the second hand is double-ended, one end with an arrow tip and the other with a simple point. I don't really know why. I suspect the second hand in the attached picture is a replacement since it's not even long enough to reach the seconds track.

They always have a pusher on the back edge as a hacking mechanism. It stops the balance and allows it to be set to the second. The movement is a standard 980.
The attached ad shows it being used as a training aid, in conjunction with a movie camera to film "hits". According to Hamilton employees and a couple of veterans I've talked to, these were primarily used to record bombing runs. Just as shown in the ad when used with a machine gun, the watch would be mounted into a bomb sight with a camera filming the release and detonation of a bomb, and the timer filmed as part of the image to record the exact moment of each step.

Needless to say these were never originally intended to be worn as watches, but lots of collectors mount straps by punching a hole in a conventional strap and bolting it to the case end."


WWII Advertisement featuring Bombtimer
(bottom right under crosshaired airplane)


Found a vertical version on Amazon



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Watchband That Will Knock You Out! Literally! The Defenseband

Watchband That Will Knock You Out!  Literally!  The DefensebandNext time someone tries to steal that $100,000 Tourbillon off your wrist, make sure to use the "Defenseband." Made by inventor Greg Thompson of Spider-Ti Human Restraint Systems.

Sure it's velcro and won't match your rose gold but whatever man, protect yourself! I'm thinking of buying one just so I can knock out the first guy I see wearing an Urwerk...Otherwise, how am I ever gonna afford one? For the low low price of $19.95 and a slight risk of jail time for a Hammerhead? Fair enough...


Watchband That Will Knock You Out!  Literally!  The Defenseband
Spider Ti Human Restraint Systems-->Link
Defenseband Instructional Video-->Link

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World War I Government Issued Jaeger LeCoultre Military Grilled Watch

World War I Government Issued  Jaeger LeCoultre Military Grilled WatchSince my more detailed "Wristwatches of War" post->Link, I've discovered some other interesting antique trench grille watches from World War I. Issued to infantry officers of British Expeditionary Forces, the 1917 Jaeger LeCoultre above and unsigned model below. Both available from VintageMilitaryWatches.com.

World War I Government Issued  Jaeger LeCoultre Military Grilled Watch
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1941 Panerai Commando Set
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1941 Officine Panerai Commando Watch Set

1941 Officine Panerai Commando Watch SetModern Panerai collectors are rabid angry beasts and they'll likely kill a small child for the upcoming vintage 1941 'Radiomir Panerai Commando Set' auction by Antiquorum. A group of very rare watches built for Italian Navy Frogmen in WWII. Included are a compass, depth gauge and wristwatch with documentation of ownership and details of their use in sabotage missions attacking British warships. This set is expected to sell between $57,000 and $75,000.

Auction-->Link

1941 Officine Panerai Commando Watch SetA previous set featuring watch/compass/depth gauge but also included a morse code device and diving knife. Link

Panerai Website-->Link

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16th Century Gun Powder Flask-Sundial Compass Watch

16th Century Gun Powder Flask-Sundial Compass Watch


Portable watches had only been around a few decades when this multi-function timepiece was built in southern Germany circa 1590.

Consisting of a round powder flask made of rosewood with inlaid and engraved rosette-shaped ornaments of brass and bone. A small clock with 1-12 hours twice situated on the outer ring. The small funnel of bone is closed with a springy lid made of brass. Below the center under the engraved lid with a transversally placed hinge, there is a horizontal sundial with indication of the hours from six o'clock in the morning to six o'clock in the evening. A small compass with north-south indication but without correction for the magnetic pole. The string gnomon is stretched by opening the lid and is only valid for one latitude. On the side of the flask, there is an opening to a funnel-shaped small pipe which is placed in the socket and allows for filling up the powder flask. Diameter 10.8cm


From the Beyer Watch and Clock Museum in Zurich-->Link
Museum Collection Photomontage-->Link

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Wristwatches of War


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Wristwatches of War - Trench Grilles and Hunter Guards


Pocket watches were a pain in the ass to fumble around for during battle, something needed to be done to keep soldiers hands on their guns as well as synchronize combat.

"When German Emperor Wilhelm I visited the Berlin Trade Fair and saw some experimental wristwatches made by Girard-Perregaux of La Chaux de Fonds in Switzerland. He gave an order for 1,000 of these for the German Imperial Navy, and as many as 2,000 such wristwatches were delivered in 1880. This began to change in the nineteenth century when watches were first used to coordinate military operations. Pocket watches were awkward to use in combat situations; under a great-coat, on horseback, or under fire, and so military men began fitting pocket watches into cups on specially made leather straps or asking manufacturers to fit them with chains or straps so that they could be worn on the wrist."


Many military watches had a special feature for those "in the shit". A Trench Guard, grid or grille covered and protected the dial with medieval-style armor. Those not intended for war were classified as Hunter cased, often more decorative than protective.

1880 Girard Perregaux for German Imperial Navy

1930 Elgin w/ Trench Guard & Enamel Dial

Eberhard & Co. 14k Hunter w/ porcelain dial

Waltham Trench

Cimier Grille

Movado 18k Decorative Trench


WWI British Air Force Military

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Bell & Ross Instrument BR 01 Airborne - The Talisman WatchFranklin Delano Roosevelt's Cartier World Time ClockTicking Time Bombers - 1943 Hamilton BombtimerWatchband That Will Knock You Out!  Literally!  The DefensebandWorld War I Government Issued  Jaeger LeCoultre Military Grilled Watch1941 Officine Panerai Commando Watch Set16th Century Gun Powder Flask-Sundial Compass WatchWristwatches of War - Trench Grilles and Hunter Guards

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