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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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Horological Horticulture - 1970's Greenhouse Watch

Horological Horticulture - 1970's Greenhouse WatchFound an interesting vintage mechanical Lucerne that could double as a terrarium. I'm sure there's a geometric term for this shape but I must have skipped that day in high school. Similar to the Spaceman Audacieuse of the early seventies with it's anglular space age styling, unsure which came first. Transparent viewing from the sides and top allow the sunlight to germinate your hour flowers.

Horological Horticulture - 1970's Greenhouse Watch
Horological Horticulture - 1970's Greenhouse Watch
via-->Link

Related Posts;
Space Age Watches
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1970 Jovial Vision 2000 - Today's Time with Tomorrow's Styling

1970 Jovial Vision 2000 - Today's Time with Tomorrow's StylingEvery so often, I find a really odd watch I've never seen before, never heard of before, and can not live without after. This 70's "Jovial Vision 2000" is one of those, and now one of many vintage Holy Grails I must seek out. Having never seen the actual watch, I'm satiated for now with this original advertisement from an early seventies Basel Fair.

One of a few watches that had half-dials with compressed hours for the covered portion. I am organizing a future posting (next week) of all the unusual vintage varieties with this strange display. If anyone ever does find a Jovial Vision 2000, please email me, share the photos for a follow up and prepare to receive an offer from me. I'd be more than jovial...yes, I just said that. Ugh.


1970 Jovial Vision 2000 - Today's Time with Tomorrow's StylingAd copy; "Vision 2000 The watch that tells today's time with tomorrow's styling"

1970 Jovial Vision 2000 - Today's Time with Tomorrow's StylingSideview

1970 Jovial Vision 2000 - Today's Time with Tomorrow's StylingAd copy; "You may not be able to go to the moon yet but you can already wear this VISION - 2000 watch of outer space concept"

Related Posts;
Paul Smith Half Dial
Double Dial Watches
Amida Digitrend AdOther Vintage Watch Ads



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Paul Smith Dashboard Watch

Paul Smith Dashboard WatchPaul Smith has reissued the dashboard style watch, a somewhat tamer variation of the previous model from their fun collection of the late-nineties. Called the PS20, it features what appears to be a retrograde style display (when hands reach the right, they flyback in the blink of an eye), but it's actually just a double handed display. Once one end of a hand is out of view, the opposite end appears. Time is told much like that of many other retrograde watches (seen here-->link) and the casing appears to be brushed steel with a block link bracelet. The date is viewed through a porthole in the bottom half of the watch. £375 (quartz) Paul Smith Watches-->Link

Paul Smith Dashboard WatchAvailable in olive, light/dark blue and red

Paul Smith Dashboard WatchThe original model from the late nineties
Polished steel, sport link bracelet, expanding digits

Paul Smith Dashboard WatchMost of the original collection

Some had mechanical movements, most were Quartz. Many inspirations from the vintage LIP, Christian Dior and Pierre Cardin watches of the seventies. Most of the current collection is pretty drab otherwise.

Related Posts;
Retrograde Lip & Wittnauer Sector Futurama
Other Retrograde Watches



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Vintage Watching - 1971 Hamilton Dateline

Vintage Watching - 1971 Hamilton DatelineA solid 18k white gold vintage mechanical Hamilton Dateline TM100B of the early seventies. Featuring bold horizontal hour markers, a solid integral bracelet and most interesting, the date window through the bottom band. -->Link

Vintage Watching - 1971 Hamilton Dateline14k solid yellow gold Dateline TM2903 with date window through case.

Vintage Watching - 1971 Hamilton DatelineSteel version-->Link

Vintage Watching - 1971 Hamilton DatelineA variation of sorts, this is the automatic A-201 in 14k gold-->Link


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Vintage Watching - 1971 Hamilton Dateline


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Vivid Vintage Vulcain

Vivid Vintage Vulcain
Vulcain, a Swiss brand in existence since 1858 with their claim to fame with the 'Cricket' alarm watches created 90 years later. A relatively traditional brand with conservative styles that extend to today. But along came the sixties and seventies, the magic decades of originality and a playground of strange and wonderful designs from unexpected playmates.

Therefore, I've compiled an exhibit of rare vintage Vulcains of that time.

Vivid Vintage VulcainA 1970s Vulcain Cricket Alarm from the original 1947 mechanical invention inspired by the tiny insect with a big sound. When activated, the alarm ratchet vibrates on your wrist and is surprisingly loud.

Vivid Vintage VulcainAn automatic winding vertical jump hour with integral cloth band as part of the watch case itself.

Vivid Vintage VulcainTwo models (jump hour digital and analog) with case concealing bands.

Vivid Vintage VulcainA parking meter style jump hour from the 60s

Vivid Vintage VulcainAn obscure Vulcain 'Cobra', a hard plastic case curving around the wrist like a snakehead. The top band is soft leather that fits into the solid band on the bottom. Really unusual!

Vivid Vintage VulcainThe very strange Vulcain 'Eye'

Vivid Vintage VulcainOne of my favorites, an asymmetric model with gradation turquoise/silver dial, a grooved steel case and unusual band that attaches over the top of the case and under at the bottom. Has a very 1960s concept car appearance.

Vivid Vintage VulcainAnother variation of the asymmetric style above.

Vivid Vintage VulcainA mod curvex style metal block model

Vivid Vintage VulcainMystery watch with floating dial/movement

Vivid Vintage VulcainSkeletonized Vulcain

Vivid Vintage Vulcain1960s Vulcain Nautical Cricket Diver

Vivid Vintage VulcainAnd Vulcain today, with (from clockwise), the The Tourbillon Imperial Gong (Link), Golden Voice Classic (Link), Vulcanographe (Link), and the revival 1961 Cricket Nautical (Link).

Related posts;
60's-70's Enicar-->Link
Vintage plastic watches-->Link
Bullhead Chronos-->Link
Jump Hours-->Link

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Swiss Digital Envy - 1974 Sicura Instalite Electro-mechanical Jump Hour

Swiss Digital Envy - 1974 Sicura Instalite Electro-mechanical Jump Hour
Swiss mechanical watches were faced with a huge challenge by the growing popularity of digital LED & LCD displays of the seventies. Taking an older concept called the Jumping Hour or Direct Read (rotating discs with numbers printed on them instead of hands) and adapting it for watches like the Amida Digitrend with its reverse-reflected sideviewing LED imitation or the Sicura Instalite featured here. The Sicura was the first mechanical jump hour watch with a separate electric lighting function - batteries powered the lamp and manual winding for the watch. Pushing the top button lit up the display as well as three oddly placed portholes on the space-age case.

Available-->Link

Swiss Digital Envy - 1974 Sicura Instalite Electro-mechanical Jump HourSwiss Digital Envy - 1974 Sicura Instalite Electro-mechanical Jump HourSwiss Digital Envy - 1974 Sicura Instalite Electro-mechanical Jump Hour

Related posts;
Jump Hours


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MB&F : Maximilian Busser & Friends Horological Machine No.1


Even if the new company Max Büsser & Friends were a dangerous cult, I might likely find myself selling flowers and handing out booklets in the airport for them. In fact, I'm not even sure you can call it a company anyway, it's really more of a commune for wayward horological geniuses.

This, the first watch of the new brand, the 'HM1' or more specifically, Horological Machine #1' has popped the cherry of the traditional flat hands-on-dial timepiece by creating a multi-layered three-dimensional time machine. Timing has been deconstructed by separating the hours from minutes into two overlapping dials, much like a splitting egg. But Max's 'Friends' are close to splitting atoms with the level of technical intricacy. The dials feature transverse mounted floating sapphire subdials connected by a raised central flying central tourbillon and four massive mainspring barrels fueling a seven-day power reserve. The two beryllium gear trains run in parallel to reduce torque of each mainspring, improving synchronization between them. The entire watch caliber is built from scratch.

Only thirty HM1 will be built per year, limited to a total of 100 models ever made and prices exceeding $100,000 USD. According to Max himself, upcoming Horological Machines will pass the baton further with each lap. The next Machine is slated for an October release and be sure to check here for any advance looks!

Max Büsser, the man I believe is responsible for leading this new age of independent watchmaking - mostly due to his previous time-bending series of Opus watches for Harry Winston Rare Timepieces. Like Malcolm Mclaren, Max assembled the Sex Pistols of the watch world by matching some of the most unique talent to create timepieces unlike anything ever seen before. Pairing genius minds like F.P. Journe, Vianney Halter, Felix Baumgartner and Martin Frei who all inconceivably blend design and micro-engineering to radical works of horological art. The HM1 was conceptualized by Büsser, designed by Eric Giroud, a former architect, and built by movement engineers Laurent Besse and Peter Speake-Marin. The known and unknown talent will be assembled and rotated from machine to machine where everyone involved is given credit for their hand (or wrist) in the project.

Much like a rock star leaving a successful band in pursuit of a solo career, Büsser left the Opus project at it's peak to begin MBandF, the first cultish independent collective where he is the charismatic spiritual leader.

Front-view (via Revolution)
Sideview of raised sapphire subdial next to central tourbillon



The HM1 rotor - Inspired by the battle-axe of the Mecha character 'Goldorak UFO Grendizer', from the 1975 Japanese Manga Max loved as a kid.

Exploded view of the movement

First Swiss Electro-Mechanical Watch, the 1960 Landeron 4750


Before quartz battery powered watches nearly destroyed mechanical innovation in the seventies, there existed a brief period of transition, an electro-mechanical era. The first battery-powered watches were, of course, the famed Hamilton Electric series of the late fifties and early sixties. There were other technological hybrids including the first electronic diode watch by the French company Lip and the transistorized Bulova Accutron with their tuning fork mechanisms.

This is the 1960 Landeron 4750, the first Swiss-electric movement. As you can see by the component diagram below, these were not simple watches like the inanimate battery powered Quartz of today. I'm featuring one of the more unique versions of this watch, the 'Montre à Couilles', as detailed in Pieter Doensen's book, built as a demonstration model with two externally cased battery compartments.













Landeron 4750 movement diagram (via electric-watches.co.uk)


1975 Bulova Accutron 'Spaceview'


1974 Lip Electric


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...
Horological Horticulture - 1970's Greenhouse Watch1970 Jovial Vision 2000 - Today's Time with Tomorrow's StylingPaul Smith Dashboard WatchVintage Watching - 1971 Hamilton DatelineVivid Vintage VulcainSwiss Digital Envy - 1974 Sicura Instalite Electro-mechanical Jump HourMB&F : Maximilian Busser & Friends Horological Machine No.1Two Unique Swiss Vintage Mondia Moonstone & Parade WatchesFirst Swiss Electro-Mechanical Watch, the 1960 Landeron 4750Vintage Solar Powered Watches - A Partly Cloudy History

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