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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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The Cabestan Winch Tourbillon Vertical For Sale!

The Cabestan Winch Tourbillon Vertical For Sale!
I've written about this watch in the past, never really seemed it would be produced - but lo and behold, it
has been realized. Jean-François Ruchonnet of the DMC Group, the man responsible for the phenomenal belt-driven Tag Heuer V4 (which by the way, is also now a reality->Link) has taken Vianney Halter's vision to an official and public reality. Being sold in a variety of styles, seen at the official Cabestan website-->Link, you could buy one for between $275,000 and $400,000 (approx) but you'd be out of luck, all models for 2007 have sold out. And with plans for four watches a month in 2008, you might wanna rob that bank you always had your eye on...You know, the one with the sleepy security guard.

The Cabestan Winch Tourbillon Vertical For Sale!
Available in titanium, yellow gold and rose gold
(top of page features black cylinder version)
As well as the all black titanium below

The Cabestan Winch Tourbillon Vertical For Sale!
The Cabestan Winch Tourbillon Vertical For Sale!
And with the demand for bling versions of everything, yo, the encrusted diamond Cabestan

The Cabestan Winch Tourbillon Vertical For Sale!
Ah, the winch driven chain-fusee movements do move me!

The Cabestan Winch Tourbillon Vertical For Sale!
The Cabestan Winch Tourbillon Vertical For Sale!
The Cabestan Winch Tourbillon Vertical For Sale!
Cabestan Website-->Link
Search all past Cabestan posts-->Link




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The Latest Cabestan Photographs

The Latest Cabestan PhotographsI've been waiting to see more extensive photos of the Cabestan by Vianney Halter and Jean-François Ruchonnet of the DMC Group. So thanks to SuitbertW who just shot these for The Purists. The Cabestan has yet to go into production (as far as I know) and these prototypes seem to be the only existing specimens so far.

The rolling barreled displays are powered by chain links and fusee wound by a winding winch!

Mechanical specs below photos;

The Latest Cabestan Photographs
The Latest Cabestan Photographs
The Latest Cabestan Photographs
The Latest Cabestan Photographs
A spectacular architecture
(via EuropaStar)

This really spectacular architecture seems to be absolutely original. The mechanical design of the Cabestan, including its tourbillon, is totally transversal. The indications (hour, minute, seconds, and power reserve) appear on the cylinders located at the four “corners” of the watch.
Starting from the lower left, we find the barrel, which transmits its driving power to the movement by the intermediary of a chain. This chain is connected to a second cylinder, at the upper left, made up of one part of a fusee (placed horizontally as opposed to the traditional fusees that are always vertical), and the other of the cylindrical power reserve indicator (a total of 72 hours).

Still on the upper end, but this time on the right, we find two cylinders next to each other, providing the perfectly readable hours and minutes. In the lower right hand corner, we can see the tourbillon, which is also placed vertically and is directly linked to another cylinder, which quite logically gives the seconds indication, as the tourbillon makes one rotation per minute.
This completely original mechanical movement, with manual winding, a fusee and a tourbillon, integrates six ball bearings into its operation. It is also water-resistant to 30 metres. The entire movement is visible from above and from the side, under a double sapphire crystal (“Trimaran” model) with three recessed and curved sides, taking the form of a “hood”, all in a very sturdy design.

Winding the watch and setting the hour and minutes are effected using a winding stem in the form of a movable “winch” that links directly to one of the small “capstans” that are found at the four exterior angles of the case: at the upper left, it acts directly on the fusee and, by the intermediary of the chain, allows the barrel to be wound; at the upper right, it acts on the minute cylinder which is connected to that of the hours. The two other small “capstans” are only there for decoration and to complete the aesthetics of the case. Once the small winch is used, it is easily stored in the buckle of the watch’s bracelet.

Related Posts;
The Other Cabestan
Jacob & Co. Quenttin
HD3 Vulcania
Tag Heuer V4 Beltdrive
Vianney Halter Trio
Vianney Halter Antiqua


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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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Horological Hallucinogens by Zadora

Horological Hallucinogens by ZadoraDumbfounded and speechless. My first two reactions when first seeing these, um, er...Fancy wristwatches by Andreas Von Zadora Gerlof. An eccentric gem sculptor and metallurgist of everything from custom multi-million dollar chess sets for the Rothschild family to an upcoming exhibit of lifesize human skull gemstone sculptures.

But literally on hand now are these insane looking wristwatches. All one of a kind and priced at $150,000 each - also available for custom request if a pearl-swallowing snake or king fly isn't your cup of tea. Personally, I'd like to commission a bejeweled vomiting clown watch for my own personal reasons...

All the watches have drum-style sideviewing (display is on side of watchcase rotating with Roman numerals for approximate time) - semi-similar to Svend Andersen's Breguet inspired La Montre a Tact collection. The comparison ends there.

Horological Hallucinogens by ZadoraBaby turtles, gorging snakes and pirate skulls, oh my! (Enlarge)

Zadora Watches --> Link


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Watchismo's Timewarp for QP Magazine - Vintage Sideview Displays


My new column, 'Watchismo's Timewarp' for British QP Magazine (Issue #23) is now available.

For the series premiere, I write about one of my favorite species, the Sideview display like the 1958 Patek Philippe 'Cobra' prototype below. Its radical use of digital and graphic rollers was likely too ahead of its time. Originally featured --> Link



Others featured in the article;

1970 Amida Digitrend

1974 Jaz Derby Swissonic

1976 Benrus Pop-up LED

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...

Lurking In the Water - Urwerk's Hammerhead


Soon to be unveiled, Urwerk's latest 201 series, a variation and marriage of sorts of their Harry Winston Opus V and the Urwerk 103 collection. The love child will be named "Hammerhead." Entirely unique with new complications, Hammerhead will also have characteristics and features leaving no mistake who his parents are.


Jaz Derby Swissonic - 1974 Digital Roller Time Display

The Jaz Derby Swissonic, Introduced in 1974 at the Basel Fair (Annual Swiss Watch Trade Show), featured a fascinating new way to display time. Cylindrical barreled rolling wheels powered by a new transistorized system with balance by Dynotron, ESA 9176. Rotating numbers on these drum rollers created a very tall timepiece sitting over 15mm off the wrist. A wheel next to the digital readout had graduating sized lines (thin t0 thick) deliniating each minute passing before 'clicking' to the next.

Many high-end watch companies today are creating roller style watches like Vianney Halter's Cabestan, Jean Dunand's Shabaka, and Jacob & Co.'s Quenttin. But the obscure French Jaz Derby started the ball, uh...wheels rolling.


Very rare watches today and even more difficult to find them functioning with precision. Piotr, a dedicated watch enthusiast in Poland has become the foremost expert of the Jaz Derby (among other watches of the era) and detailed his page of servicing the watch-->Link

Jaz Derby Movement

Engine Block Watch - Parmigiani Fleurier 'Bugatti' Type 370 Sideview

sapphire crystals expose movement

Conceived as a true drivers watch with side-viewing while driving, the Parmigiani Fleurier 'Bugatti' is a companion timepiece for the super-exclusive French sports car company of the same name. Specifically the 'Veyron' - The fastest and most expensive street-legal sports car in the world.

But enough about the car...

The watch, only 150 made, taken directly from automotive technology, the Bugatti Type 370 "imposes it's aesthetic with parts arranged like a transversal engine." Mechanically wound by disc declutching tube spring, differential 10-day power reserve, mounted on silent block chassis, and choke with the dynamometric system. ...If you think I understand any of that, you're giving me far too much credit. MSP at only 200,000 Euros.







The Cabestan Winch Tourbillon Vertical For Sale!The Latest Cabestan PhotographsUrwerk Time Bandit - The Opus That Never WasHorological Hallucinogens by ZadoraWatchismo's Timewarp for QP Magazine - Vintage Sideview DisplaysVintage Solar Powered Watches - A Partly Cloudy HistoryLurking In the Water - Urwerk's HammerheadJaz Derby Swissonic - 1974 Digital Roller Time Display

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