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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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Watchismo's Top Ten Vintage Plastic Watches

Watchismo's Top Ten Vintage Plastic WatchesTypically, when you think of plastic watches, you think of Swatch. But back in the sixties and seventies, plastic was still a very cool new medium for products. All of the watches featured here are vintage mechanical timepieces, a few with movements by Jaeger and others with automatic winding mechanisms. But overwhelmingly, they are all interesting designs and truly obscure models that you are likely to never find in a lifetime of collecting.

Above, a simple watch with oversized arrows for hands. The case is a somewhat oblong triangle.

Watchismo's Top Ten Vintage Plastic WatchesThis is by a brand called appropriately "Handcuff", this thing is as large as they come and I first read about it in Pieter Doensen's fantastic (out of print) book "Watch - History of the Modern Wrist Watch". I was lucky enough to meet with Pieter back in 2001 and purchased the exact model used for publication. Thanks again Pieter, it's in a safe place!

Watchismo's Top Ten Vintage Plastic WatchesAh, again discovered in the Doensen book, this Record Automatic (by Longines) was an amazing find on Ebay about 8 years ago...brand new in box, unfortunately too small for my wrist, made for women. Probably for the best as I would likely have the balls to wear this in public.

Watchismo's Top Ten Vintage Plastic WatchesThe Helmet Jump Hour, not much to say here other than "look at that friggin movement!". Insane. I featured this a while back-->link

Watchismo's Top Ten Vintage Plastic Watches
Watchismo's Top Ten Vintage Plastic WatchesPart of watchmaking history, the Tissot Astrolon Idea 2001, the worlds first all plastic watch, including the movement. For more info, go here-->link

Watchismo's Top Ten Vintage Plastic WatchesAnd some of my absolute favorite watches to collect but hardly ever wear, the Pierre Cardin 1971 collection (shown above and below). Produced for just for one year, these fantastic watches had manual winding Jaeger movements and designs (both platic and steel) like no other! For more, go here-->link

Watchismo's Top Ten Vintage Plastic Watches
Watchismo's Top Ten Vintage Plastic WatchesThe beautiful disc/hand dials of the vintage Mondia Moonstone

Watchismo's Top Ten Vintage Plastic WatchesThe only plastic watch shown here made for kids, featuring gadgets for spying (expandable eyesights, etc) and a manual winding movement with an ingenious display for showing the hour through a rotating hole, for more go here-->link

Watchismo's Top Ten Vintage Plastic WatchesThese plastic watches by Nivada are deceiving, the photos do not express their monster size, they measure approximately 70mm wide! The straps would usually match the dial, for more go here-->link

And for related plastic wristwatch posts.
..

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Eris Planetary Sphere Watch by Pierre Junod - Post Neptunian Object Inspired Swiss Timepiece

Eris Planetary Sphere Watch by Pierre Junod - Post Neptunian Object Inspired Swiss TimepieceNamed for the largest known (and newly discoved) dwarf planet in the Solar System and the ninth-largest body known to orbit the Sun directly, Eris is approximately 2,500 kilometres in diameter and 27% more massive than Pluto. The spherical Eris watch is considerably smaller that that, in fact I broke my calculator trying to determine its 32.2mm percentage of the former planet. Eris would have been our tenth planet if Pluto hadn't been shamed into oblivion.

Either way, this watch, designed
by students from l’Ecole d’Arts Appliqués Genèva is a 100 % Swiss made product by Pierre Junod Switzerland and can be worn as a pocket watch, pendant or used as a small desk clock. The Materials are white hour hand & orange minute hand, anthracite anodized aluminum case, laser engraved figures, mineral glass, Swiss quartz movement, each watch is sold with a natural rubber strap to hang from your neck, a wall, anything you wish to have time fly by.

The time is displayed with two pointers (extended from hidden hands) floating around the "equator" of the globe. The minutes indicated on the upper hemisphere and the hours highlighted down below.


Eris Planetary Sphere Watch by Pierre Junod - Post Neptunian Object Inspired Swiss Timepiece
Materials:

  • white hour hand & orange minute hand,
  • anthracite anodized aluminium case,
  • laser engraved figures, mineral glass,
  • swiss quartz movement, each watch is sold with a natural rubber band
Dimensions:
Diameter: 33,2 mm

Thickness: mm

Weight: 36 g

Battery Ref: Renata swiss made 364

Designer:
EAA Geneva, teachers & students:
Sandy Barbey, Anouck-Eva Meyer, Emmanuelle Taillard

Eris Planetary Sphere Watch by Pierre Junod - Post Neptunian Object Inspired Swiss TimepieceOrange hand (minutes) White hand (hours)

Eris Planetary Sphere Watch by Pierre Junod - Post Neptunian Object Inspired Swiss Timepiece
Eris Planetary Sphere Watch by Pierre Junod - Post Neptunian Object Inspired Swiss TimepieceChart of the tran-Neptunian objects

Product page for the Pierre Junod Eris Planet Watch


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SPACEMAN-TIME CONTINUUM - The Spaceman Watches of 1972-77

SPACEMAN-TIME CONTINUUM - The Spaceman Watches of 1972-77All obsessions have their own unique Big Bang and appropriately enough, my compulsive watch collecting was born from these Spaceman watches of the seventies.

Below is an article I wrote for QP Magazine reminiscing about going back to the future with these Spacemen.

SPACEMAN-TIME CONTINUUM - The Spaceman Watches of 1972-77
TIME-SPACEMAN CONTINUUM - Spaceman Watches of 1972-1977
Leaving New York one chilly winter day, late in 1999, I found myself come unstuck in time and arrive in Basel at the dawn of 1972.

THE UNIVERSE IN A NEUCHÂTEL

My time travel led me to a world filled with hundreds of Spacemen, sitting undisturbed in a Basel watch factory with no plans of visiting the moon anytime soon. This grounded crew was actually a secret stash of vintage Spaceman watches I unearthed at a former distributor of the timepieces designed by Andre LeMarquand, an architect from Neuchâtel . The futuristic watches had fallen out of style during the 80s and 90s but I was ready to fly them out of their dark Swiss graveyard and back onto the wrists of space-age sentimentalists like myself.

SPACEMAN-TIME CONTINUUM - The Spaceman Watches of 1972-77
In the late sixties Claude Lebet, owner of the Bulle based watch brand Catena asked Le Marquand to create a timepiece inspired by man’s conquest of the moon and the astronauts who made it there. Mr. Le Marquand provided him with his first wristwatch design called, what else, the "Spaceman".

The Spaceman was unlike anything seen before and Catena introduced the fleet at the Basel Fair of 1972. The large oval case appeared to be docked on your wrist held by a triple-forked Corfam strap by DuPont. The case also had a coned dome crystal half concealed by a coloured metal visor that allowed viewing of the dial to only the wearer. All hands and markers were perfectly seventies orange with models in a variety of colours only possible during that special decade.

The watches were powered by automatic and manual winding mechanical ETA movements and were distributed by a variety brands, among them Jules Jurgensen, Fortis, Tressa and Zeno.

SPACEMAN-TIME CONTINUUM - The Spaceman Watches of 1972-77Automatic Spaceman Audacieuse

The success led to the development of new Spaceman a few years later, an audacious design by Le Marquand and appropriately named, the "Audacieuse".

THE FINAL FRONTIER

The new Audacieuse was angular yet aerodynamic, looking more like an early miniature prototype of a B2 Stealth Bomber than a watch. The extreme design was square with a hooded dial, similar to the original semi-sideview concept. The straps were oversized and wide as the case itself, available in stainless steel or colored leather. A few very rare models with mechanical jump hour digital displays were also out there and a few quartz-digital "Spacesonic" were produced until the Spaceman series came to an end in 1977. Having completed his mission, the Spaceman stepped aside for the next giant leap in timekeeping – light emitting diodes (LED) and liquid crystal displays (LCD).

SPACEMAN-TIME CONTINUUM - The Spaceman Watches of 1972-771977 LCD "Spacesonic"

My close-encounter with the past was fuelled by reading Pieter Doensen's rare book, "Watch - History of the Modern Wrist Watch". This was been my launch pad to the world of vintage-modern watch design and technology and it has been described as the "the first comprehensive study of the collectible modern wrist watch". Flipping through the book, one can feast their eyes on Richard Arbib's Hamilton Electrics of the fifties & sixties, Roger Tallon's LIP Mach 2000's of the seventies and a multitude of other horological advancements over the past fifty years. But it was the futuristic charm of Andre LeMarquand's Spaceman that first abducted my interests.


SPACEMAN GALLERY

SPACEMAN-TIME CONTINUUM - The Spaceman Watches of 1972-77All White Spaceman Audacieuse
(manual winding)

SPACEMAN-TIME CONTINUUM - The Spaceman Watches of 1972-77Very Collectible Audacieuse with Lighting Display

SPACEMAN-TIME CONTINUUM - The Spaceman Watches of 1972-77Gloss Burgundy Audacieuse

SPACEMAN-TIME CONTINUUM - The Spaceman Watches of 1972-77Leather/Woodgrain Audacieuse

SPACEMAN-TIME CONTINUUM - The Spaceman Watches of 1972-77Ultra-Rare Tiger Eye Dial Version

SPACEMAN-TIME CONTINUUM - The Spaceman Watches of 1972-77Assorted shots of the Audacieuse

SPACEMAN-TIME CONTINUUM - The Spaceman Watches of 1972-77
SPACEMAN-TIME CONTINUUM - The Spaceman Watches of 1972-77
SPACEMAN-TIME CONTINUUM - The Spaceman Watches of 1972-77VERY RARE Spaceman Jump Hours (above)

SPACEMAN-TIME CONTINUUM - The Spaceman Watches of 1972-77Prototype Dynamic Scattering LCD Spacesonic

SPACEMAN-TIME CONTINUUM - The Spaceman Watches of 1972-77Inner dial of the Spaceman Oval

SPACEMAN-TIME CONTINUUM - The Spaceman Watches of 1972-77Sideviews

SPACEMAN-TIME CONTINUUM - The Spaceman Watches of 1972-77
SPACEMAN-TIME CONTINUUM - The Spaceman Watches of 1972-77On-the-wrist Shots

SPACEMAN-TIME CONTINUUM - The Spaceman Watches of 1972-77
SPACEMAN-TIME CONTINUUM - The Spaceman Watches of 1972-77Brown Oval (Corfam Straps)

SPACEMAN-TIME CONTINUUM - The Spaceman Watches of 1972-77Blue Oval

SPACEMAN-TIME CONTINUUM - The Spaceman Watches of 1972-77Red Oval

SPACEMAN-TIME CONTINUUM - The Spaceman Watches of 1972-77Original Spaceman Advertising (Click to view)

Spaceman Watches

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Vintage Watching - Two Very Rare 1970 Helmet Jump Hour Watches

Vintage Watching - Two Very Rare 1970 Helmet Jump Hour WatchesHoly crap, I've seen one of these before but fellow eccentric vintage jump hour collector Ruud has found two of them at once! You'll hear more and more about his amazing collection of vintage digital jump hours in time to come... Now if I could only convince him to share the wealth, hell, I'm probably the only other person in the world who would actually want this ridiculous rarity.

Vintage Watching - Two Very Rare 1970 Helmet Jump Hour Watches
Vintage Watching - Two Very Rare 1970 Helmet Jump Hour WatchesA vertical drum display not unlike the 1974 Jaz Derby Swissonic (featured-->here) Or my favorite of all time, the 1950s Patek Philippe Cobra (featured-->here)

Vintage Watching - Two Very Rare 1970 Helmet Jump Hour Watches
Vintage Watching - Two Very Rare 1970 Helmet Jump Hour Watches
Related Stories;
Patek Philippe Cobra Sideview Prototype of 1958
1974 Jaz Derby Swissonic Cylindrical Jump Hour
All Jump Hour Posts
All Sideview Display Posts
Alternative Displays
Jean Dunand Shabaka
Jacob & Co. Quenttin
The Cabestan


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Vintage Watching - A Bumper Crop of New Old Watches

Vintage Watching - A Bumper Crop of New Old WatchesJust compiled a collection of oddities and obscurities from the forties through the seventies! So fresh to the site that not all the descriptions have even been written!

Visit the new collection here-->LINK


Vintage Watching - A Bumper Crop of New Old WatchesAll kinds of rare oddball stuff!

Some highlights; 1960s Omega Dynamic, 1950s White Gold LeCoultre, 1970s Wittnauer Futurama Retrograde.

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From Russia With Lust - History of Communist and Cosmonaut Wristwatches

From Russia With Lust - History of Communist and Cosmonaut WristwatchesClick photo for close-up

Every now and then, I find someone who rivals my perversions for collecting timepieces. This is doubly true about a man named Ill-Phil, a self-diagnosed terminal watch pervert. His is a rare disorder of Russianitis, a condition that propels him to collect and document in great detail, everything you need to know about Russian watches.

Kidding aside, Phil's Russian Times is overwhelmingly thorough with photos of every imaginable Russian watch as well as the technical information about every factory, brand, movement, marking, and cyrillic translation.

And one of my favorite parts of the site, the lovingly assembled and obsessively researched portraits of cosmonauts and their watches.

From Russia With Lust - History of Communist and Cosmonaut WristwatchesFrom Russia With Lust - History of Communist and Cosmonaut WristwatchesFrom Russia With Lust - History of Communist and Cosmonaut WristwatchesFrom Russia With Lust - History of Communist and Cosmonaut Wristwatches
Ill Phil's Russian Times-->LINK



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


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Finding Proof of the Jovial "Vision 2000"

Finding Proof of the Jovial Recently finding evidence of this rare 1970s Jovial "Vision 2000" from a vintage advertisement, I still had little hope of ever finding photographic proof of it's existence. But thanks to my deep reaches into the crevices of obscure watch collections, a guy from Italy sent me these photos of his well-worn specimen. He described how he found it at an old watchmaker's shop near Venice almost 20 years ago, right before the store went out of business. How do you say "Please sell it to me!" in Italian?

From my original post-->Link


Finding Proof of the Jovial Finding Proof of the Jovial
Finding Proof of the Jovial From the original 1970s ad

Finding Proof of the Jovial
Enter The Watchismo Times 1st anniversary vintage chronograph giveway!-->LINK


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The Time that fell to Earth - Meteorite Watches

The Time that fell to Earth - Meteorite WatchesIt seems appropriate to follow up the Omega Moon Mission Collection with another extraterrestrial themed timepiece -- Wristwatches made of meteorite, the truest of space-age materials.

These rare rocks traveled millions of years to find this infinitely tiny speck of a planet, somehow not completely burn up in our atmosphere, find their way to land instead of water, be fortunate enough to be discovered by modern man, delivered to a luxury watch company, and wind up on your privileged little wrist.

"Iron meteorites are composed primarily of various alloys of iron and nickel, and are derived from molten planetary cores that were broken apart billions of years ago. The crystalline patterns within Meteorites are known as a "Widmanstätten Pattern" or structure, named for Alois von Beckh Widmanstätten. These patterns can only form in the vacuum of space where the molten pieces of planetary cores come into contact with very few molecules to which they can transfer their heat and thereby cool. The large metallic crystals characteristic of meteorites require literally millions of years of cooling to form from a molten planetary core fragment. It has been estimated that it took about 1000 years for these molten pieces of planetary core to cool by just 1 degree celsius."

I'm getting carried away...so here are a few examples of meteor watches over the years;

Up at the very top are a variety of Jaquet Droz Meteorite watches. They have been producing many rare mineral dials in recent years and have been using meteorite for some of their most exclusive models.

The Time that fell to Earth - Meteorite WatchesA 2001 Rolex Daytona with meteorite dial

The Time that fell to Earth - Meteorite WatchesAnd the VERY rare Kryptonite Daytona
(some VERY bad watch humor)

The Time that fell to Earth - Meteorite Watches1989 Ulysse Nardin "Planetarium Copernicus"

An phenomenal astronomical watch with six meteorite rings. A domed sapphire crystal divided into 12 sections that start from the center (the Earth) and radiate outward in a spider design. The six revolving meteorite rings are engraved with the names of five planets, each on a gold cartouche fixed with a central disc representing the Sun. The Earth disc fixed to one of the meteorite rings attached to the Moon which rotates around the Earth. The outer gold ring is engraved with the 12 signs of the zodiac and the months. One of 65 produced.

The Time that fell to Earth - Meteorite WatchesAntoine Preziuso's Calibre T21 Muonionalusta Meteorite Tourbillon, No.1 above for the 2005 "Only Watch" auction.

The Time that fell to Earth - Meteorite WatchesMartin Braun "Selene Meteorite"

"What goes with a moon phase better than authentic meteorite?" The oversized moonphase display is one of the most realistic, with accuracy to the hour. Displayed by two dark disks rotating under a translucent moon.

The Time that fell to Earth - Meteorite Watches1990s Corum Meteorite Peory
Being auctioned here-->Link
And the Corum Meteorite Zagami #2-->Link

So, how does one top meteorite as a rare material? Perhaps the answer begins with Romain Jerome. His latest watches have introduced a series made from the actual rusted steel of the Titanic. Incredibly expensive models like the Tourbillon model shown below. Even the dial somehow integrates recovered coal from the shipwreck.

The Time that fell to Earth - Meteorite WatchesRomain Jerome Titanic DNA Tourbillon

Update! I had no idea while writing this meteorite watch story, this deadly Kryptonite-like meteor struck Peru and has been making the locals sick!-->Link

Don't forget to enter The Watchismo Times 1st anniversary vintage chronograph giveway!-->LINK


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Omega Speedmaster "Missions" Collection

Omega Speedmaster Omega Speedmaster After the phenomenal success of the Omegamania auction this summer, Antiquorum is offering many more vintage and contemporary Omega watches at the upcoming Important Collector's Wristwatches auction on September 26th in New York City.

Highlighted here is the rare collection of commemorative Moon Mission watches, a tribute to the legendary 'Speedmaster Professional', which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 1997. Omega offered an exceptional collection of 23 Speedmaster watches presented in a case covered with genuine spacesuit cloth. The case contains a special series of 22 stainless steel Speedmaster watches, each with a different official NASA mission patch on its dial at 9 o'clock: from the August 1965 Gemini V to the November 1973 Skylab SL-4. The collection also includes a replica of the original 1957 Speedmaster. The Omega Speedmaster valise was produced in a numbered limited series of 50: 40 examples for commercial sale, including this one, plus 5 presentation sets and 5 'artist's proof' examples.

Buzz Aldrin above with his velcro'd Speedy.

Omega Speedmaster Estimated between $80,000 and $100,000
Auction-->LINK

And if you prefer the real deal like me, here are a few of their actual Omega moon watches for auction;

Omega Speedmaster 1965 Speedmaster "Pre-Moon Alpha"
est. $2000-3000
Auction-->Link

Omega Speedmaster 1969 Speedmaster Professional
est. $5000-7000
Auction-->Link

Some of the additional highlights of the Antiquorum auction-->Link


Click to find modern Speedmasters
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Watchismo's Timewarp of Pierre Cardin for QP Magazine

Watchismo's Timewarp of Pierre Cardin for QP MagazineMy third Timewarp column for QP Magazine featuring the super swanky space-age Pierre Cardin Espace Watches of the early seventies. Click to read-->Link




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Watchismo's Top Ten Vintage Plastic WatchesEris Planetary Sphere Watch by Pierre Junod - Post Neptunian Object Inspired Swiss TimepieceSPACEMAN-TIME CONTINUUM - The Spaceman Watches of 1972-77Vintage Watching - Two Very Rare 1970 Helmet Jump Hour WatchesVintage Watching - A Bumper Crop of New Old WatchesFrom Russia With Lust - History of Communist and Cosmonaut WristwatchesFinding Proof of the Jovial "Vision 2000"The Time that fell to Earth - Meteorite WatchesOmega Speedmaster "Missions" CollectionWatchismo's Timewarp of Pierre Cardin for QP Magazine

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