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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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F.P. Journe Sonnerie Souveraine Grand-Strike Clockwatch and Minute Repeater

This is a living breathing creature, not a wristwatch. At first glance, the F.P. Journe Sonnerie Souveraine may not seem out of the ordinary -- except for the profound fact that it comes alive with movement and sound, a mechanical praying mantis striking chiming gongs instead of prey.


Requiring ten patents and six years of development, F.P. Journe explains, "The grand-strike clockwatch is the most complex of horological creations. The greatest difficulty in its construction is to achieve full clockwatch capability from the limited energy available in a wristwatch without compromising on the sound and reliability of the chime."


F.P. Journe is relatively new the independent watchmaking world but he's become an overnight success since the 1999 inception. Comparisons to masters like 19th century watchmaker/inventor Abraham Louis Breguet and
Antonio Stradivari (Stradivarius violins) are certainly piquing the interest of many. And within the insular & ravenous watch collecting world, there exist entire forums dedicated to his brand.

The Sonnerie is priced at 650,000 Swiss Francs with only four made per year (with a waiting list) but the rest of the Journe collection
starts at $19,400 USD.

Ain't nothin like your first Time - Vintage Kids Watches

HAPPYTIME - 1970's Sears mechanical jump hour with bouncing eyes
1980's Kronoform Robot Watches
"The robot time-machine that can transform, each time, you tell time."


1983 Pac Man Video Game Watch --> Link
(rare version made with a mini joystick)

1966 G.I. Joe Military Watch by Gilbert
Swiss mechanical watch with compass

1965 James Bond 007 Spy Watch by GilbertPreviously featured --> Link


1934 Ingersoll Three Little Pigs & Big Bad Wolf Pocket Watch & Clock
Brick packaging display was genius!
Clock - Rotating Wolf arms grasp for piggies


Related story --> Homemade Pong Watch

Vintage Enicar Watches - Reversing Time in the Sixties & Seventies

Enicar was created when Artiste Racine (Racine Watch Co.) spelled his name backward and created a hearty brand that many people are unfamiliar over 90 years later. A special time existed for Enicar in the sixties and seventies when they developed their own automatic movements & focused on sport watches in addition to the rare odd vintage-modern designs featured here. Holding a special place in my collection, some of these Enicar was the very first vintage watches I ever owned. The Sherpa models are named for the 1956 Swiss Himalayan expedition that relied on Enicar timepieces.

Two crater-shaped models including the faceted space-age 70's Sherpa Star 

And the bark-textured volcano 70's Sherpa Star
1970 Asymmetrical Sherpa 350 & 356 Automatic

1970's Sherpa 320 Automatic
1970s Enicar Automatic Digital Jump Hour
1970's Enicar Automatic Mechanical Digital Jump Hour
1972 Enicar Sherpa Star Rotorwind Automatic
1970's asymmetric Enicar Mantagraph
1970's Enicar Chrono
1965 Enicar Sherpa 'Jet Graph' Chronograph
1970 Enicar Superdive
1950's Enicar Triple Date Moonphase Chronograph

1960's Minimal 'CircleSquare'

Licking and Ticking - More Vintage Timex Commercials


Why don't watch companies advertise on TV anymore? So many catchphrases, so little 
time.

Black Max! It takes a real man to wear it!-->Link
Of course, the break-up wristwatch??-->Link
"I got too close, Mongo grabbed my Timex" -->Link
"Bluejeans that tell the time!" -->Link
Secret Dummy Watch Party! -->Link
"I found my Timex in a very interesting place" -->Link

And previously featured - What watch to wear when you're drowning-->Link

Vintage Solar Powered Watches - A Partly Cloudy History

Evolution of the Sundial


1. Synchronar - Conceived in the early sixties and first produced in 1968, the first Solar watch ever was invented by the reclusive inventor Roger Riehl. Solar panels on the top with a sideview LED display. Heavily debated within a microcosm of vintage watch collectors as the first digital watch ever. That distinction is commonly given to the 1970's Pulsar LED. 

2. Nepro - 1975 LED with raised display and backside solar panels.


3. Uranus - "This is one of the earliest LED watches in existence. It is one of the very earliest "wearable" wristwatches made by Uranus (approx. 1971) and one of only a few made (hugely expensive to build). It actually predates the Pulsar and launched Uranus into a patent fight with Hamilton (Uranus lost). The thing that makes this watch unique is that it does not use an LSI (large scale integrated chip) but instead is made up of discrete logic and driver chips using hundreds of wire bonds to connect them up. It is truly a packaging marvel. The display is only hours and minutes. The face is divided in half horizontally with the LED in the upper half, the lower half being composed of solar cells in a fan pattern to supplement the battery, all in a gold filled case." by Guy Ball


4. Sicura LCD - 1976 LCD with innovative solution of putting solar panels on the side of the watch.

Sicura Ad


5. Sicura Analog - 1978 Analog version of the same watch.



6. Junghans 'Mega Solar' - 1990's radio-controlled, PVD-coated wristwatch with solar cell, date and integrated radio receiver from one of the most accurate clocks in the world - the Caesium Time Base at Germany’s National Institute of Natural Engineering and Sciences.


7. Citizen Crystron - 1976 "This was the first solar-powered analog wristwatch. It conformed to the conventional design of most analog watches except for the four square gray panels that take up most of the face. This watch began Citizen’s long-term commitment to solar powered watches, which has culminated in the very successful Eco-Drive line of watches." by Soluhr


8. Calcron & Louis Erard Calculator Watches - Mid to late seventies solar calculator watches with side panels. The non-solar Calcron is believed to be the first ever wrist-calculator watch made as originally featured here-->Link


9. Cristalonic 'Solar Quartz' by GmbH - 1980's LCD with an asymmetric black plastic case.

Cristalonic Advertisements


10. Lorus - 1980's solar LCD. A division of Seiko.

Sadly, development of the modern light-powered watch, like the Citizen Eco-Drive, eliminated the need for innovative visual configurations as solar panels now absorb light through traditional watch dials. It was fun while it lasted...

First Bite of the Hammerhead - Urwerk 201 Watch Release


Urwerk's 200 collection has just been unveiled! Stealthily solid and exposed like Wonder Woman's invisible jet, the 'Hammerhead 201' is a feat of micro-mechanics my mind is having trouble processing. Announcing shocking new features like the telescopic minute hands that extend and retract from the now iconic 'Urwerkian' hour display of three orbiting and rotating cubical hour satellites. Really difficult to grasp the complexity and beauty unless you can see it function live. If they ever make a video or animation available, I'll be sure to post it here.

Basically, time is displayed by the three-hour cubes with four numbers printed on each. They spin normally and are tripped to rotate as they line up with the 'erection' of the minute hand that grows from the bottom cube pointing to the corresponding minutes that arc at the bottom of the dial. As mentioned in a previous entry, the Hammerhead 201 is a blend of the Urwerk 103 Series and the Opus V project.

Other features include power reserve meter, day/night indicator, and a special highlight is the Control Board on the back which includes an oil change indicator notifying when servicing is needed (three years of usage), fine-tuning screw, and the worlds first 100 Year Plus indicator, an odometer keeping track of the total time of usage.

Again, another watch I'd love make out with.


Control Board



Orbiting Hour Satellites & Telescopic Minute Hands


DKN-Why??? Inspired by or Stolen by?

I'm all for vintage-inspired modern wristwatches - and it is true when they say, "Imitation is the highest form of flattery", but c'mon!

From what little I know, DKNY could be licensing the old designs for reproduction and quite honestly, the original vintage models are so obscure, nobody other than a few geeks like me would care. The 'magic' of the original models just can't be replicated, both the Heuer Manhattan and Zenith Time-Command will retain their certain 'Je ne sais qua' as vintage sensibility and quality is difficult to truly replicate.

But on the other hand, bringing interesting designs for enthusiasts with lower budgets is always appreciated.




Relic of the Future - Vianney Halter's Steampunk Antiqua Watch

'20,000 Leagues Under Switzerland' starring Vianney Halter's Antiqua. A Nautilus-ish time machine complete with riveted portholes, perpetual calendar, 100-year accuracy and 900 hours of watchmaker sweat into each watch.

Like the receding ocean before a tsunami, this was the predecessor to a wave of innovative Swiss watchmakers to follow. Or if H.G. Wells scripted it -- Swiss Steampunk watchmakers of the future's past.





Links to past Halter-related posts-->Here
F.P. Journe Sonnerie Souveraine Grand-Strike Clockwatch and Minute RepeaterAin't nothin like your first Time - Vintage Kids WatchesVintage Enicar Watches - Reversing Time in the Sixties & SeventiesA CLOCKWORK ORANGE Licking and Ticking - More Vintage Timex CommercialsVintage Solar Powered Watches - A Partly Cloudy HistoryFirst Bite of the Hammerhead - Urwerk 201 Watch ReleaseDKN-Why??? Inspired by or Stolen by?Homemade Pong WatchRelic of the Future - Vianney Halter's Steampunk Antiqua Watch

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