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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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Clock Wise - Rare Vintage Patek Philippe Solar Clock & A Homemade Etch-A-Sketch Clock


Two 1960s Patek Philippe Solar clocks to be auctioned at the upcoming Antiquorum Important Collectors' Wristwatches, Pocket Watches and Clocks in Geneva. The full catalog here-->Link

Estimate: 3,600 USD - 5,400 USD (2,500 EUR - 3,700 EUR)
Auction-->Link

Previously auctioned 1960 Patek "Pendulette" Solar Clock
(or the "R2D2" as I like to call it)
Sold for approx $7000 in 2007->Link


From the Timezone history of the Patek light-powered clock-->Link

"By contemporary standards, the Patek light-wound clock is a technological anomaly and peculiarly primitive. It combines what were, in 1950, state-of-the-art electronics (including very expensive photoelectric cells) with a traditional Patek mechanical hand-wound movement.

To place the light-wound clock in historical perspective, 1950 was also the year that Patek introduced the Gyromax balance wheel, which at the time seemed an important development for the future of the wristwatch. It would be only two years later that Patek would introduce a "fully electronic clock, i.e. without moving parts," and still another year--1953--before Patek introduced its first automatic wristwatch. Just a year after the automatic Patek introduced the first "nuclear-powered" timepiece, "deriving its energy from a radio-active isotope." And finally, in 1958, Patek produced its first quartz-controlled clock. This is an interesting history for a company that is, today, so strongly associated with conservative and traditional mechanical wristwatches."

And now for something completely different...

Angela Yuan, a young NYC mechanical engineer has built a fun little clock from an Etch A Sketch toy. Each minute that passes, the machine tilts the toy, shakes it clean, and mechanically draws the correct time.


Video-->Link



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World Time Watches: the Earth on your Wrist



The 'Magellan 1521', a modern watch commemorating the explorer Magellan's first circumnavigation around the world. The hands curve the circumference of the globe dial and it's housed under a scratch-resistant sapphire dome - automatic winding movement powering through 'canon' tubes raising the hands unusually high. All these domed timepieces make me wish someone would produce a Logan's Run style wristwatch...

Magellan 1521 detail


Vintage 1970's Edox Geoscope
Earth disk rotates to display time around globe.


'Think the Earth' Globe Watch by Seiko

The Earth itself is the single watch hand rotating as a hemisphere under a crystal dome rotating one revolution every 24 hours. Pinpoint your location and, as their website declares, "Enjoy the leisurely flow of planetary time."

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...

Astronomic Watches by Christiaan van der Klaauw


Literally out of this world, the classic-cased timepieces by Dutch watchmaker Christian van der Klauuw are astronomically complicated. Inconceivably measuring everything from the position of the planets, the constellations, worldwide sunrises, sunsets, solar and lunar eclipses. Each model is handmade by Christiaan himself resulting in a very limited edition of each. Originally an astronomical clockmaker, the watches were developed after he miniaturized his own highly complicated movements.


Self-lauded as the smallest planetarium in the world, the obviously named 'Planetarium' features a heliocentric revolution of the planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn). 


His most recent invention introduced at the 2006 Basel World, the 'Venus' features a very animated dial with separately rotating Earth & Moon and Venus orbiting the Sun amidst the Constellations.


Frighteningly complex, the 'Astrolibium' measures celestial bodies and constellations. 

Astrolibium Guide


A variation of the Astrolibium, the 'Mondial CK1' is customized to where you are located on the globe and features a sunrise/sunset gauge for the rest of the planet. 



One of Christiaan van der Klaauw's original Astronomical Clocks which ultimately led to his miniaturized mechanical universe.
Look at Legendary LEDs of Lloyd's Large CollectionClock Wise - Rare Vintage Patek Philippe Solar Clock & A Homemade Etch-A-Sketch ClockWorld Time Watches: the Earth on your WristVintage Solar Powered Watches - A Partly Cloudy HistoryAstronomic Watches by Christiaan van der Klaauw

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