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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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Intimate Relations with Greubel Forsey's Multi-Axis Tourbillons

Two new videos featuring the actions of Greubel Forsey's (multi-axis) Tourbillon 24 Secondes Incline and Double Tourbillon 30º.





Video Link

The inventions of Greubel Forsey

And my personal favorite, the Invention Piece no.1

Greubel Forsey website-->Link


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Big and Bigger Bangs - Hublot & BNB Concept Video

Big and Bigger Bangs - Hublot & BNB Concept Video
Hublot, not known for their subtlety with watches like their "Big Bang, Bigger Bang, Mag Bang and Ice Bang", have some videos detailing their stellar growth. Their involvement with BNB Concept, the custom movement maker, featured on EuropaStar-->Link and the BNB site-->Link, has been documented in their Hublot TV series here-->Link

Big and Bigger Bangs - Hublot & BNB Concept VideoThe Brothers Bang



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The Inertia of F.P. Journe

The Inertia of F.P. Journe
The genius of F.P. Journe as captured by Danish Television-->Video Link


F.P. Journe website-->Link

Related Posts;
Centigraphe Souveraine
Sonnerie Souveraine
Independent Watchmaking



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Mechanimania! A Collection of Mechanical Watch Videos



Timelapse Super Macro Film-->Link


Ulysse Nardin Split Second Chronograph-->Link



Ulysse Nardin 160 Close-up-->Link


Ulysse Nardin Freak-->Link


IWC Flyback Chronograph-->Link



Jaeger LeCoultre Memovox Alarm-->Link


Berthoud Pouzait Lever Escapement-->Link



All other Video Posts-->Link


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Urwerk on Steroids - Titanium Aluminum Nitrade Coated 103.08

Urwerk on Steroids - Titanium Aluminum Nitrade Coated 103.08
Thanks to Ian, the moderator of the Urwerk Forum at Horomundi for this latest unveiling and information!

The TiAlN coated URWERK 103.08 - Harder than Steel!

TiAlN - Titanium Aluminum Nitride - treatment is well-known in industry for its exceptional properties. A TiAlN coating less than 4 microns thick has the effect of multiplying the resistance of the underlying metal to scratches, shocks, oxidation and even acids.

Its colour is dependant on the Titanium/Aluminium ratio and can range from melting bronze to stormy black.


Urwerk on Steroids - Titanium Aluminum Nitrade Coated 103.08
For the very first time URWERK present their iconic 103 with a steel case and and not just any steel an incredibly hard TiAlN-coated steel. With this new model, URWERK blurs the frontier between horological art and cutting-edge technology. The coat of the steel 103.08 is the hardest yet known in the world of haute horlogerie.

Urwerk on Steroids - Titanium Aluminum Nitrade Coated 103.08
"The TiAlN appears to have the gift of endowing supernatural properties to common metals like steel." Felix Baumgartner, master watchmaker and co-founder of URWERK

"TiAlN is a hard material which can be used as protective coating to enhance the lifetime of a variety of work pieces against mechanical or chemical attacks. The hardness of TiAlN is often between 30 and 40 GOa. In comparison, the hardness of DLC (diamond like carbon) is 20-25 GPa"
. Dr Ayat Karimi, Institute of Complex Matter Physics, EPFL, Lausanne.

While the 103.08 will not be a limited edition, only the first 50 watches will have the angular shaped crystal pictured here. After those first 50 'Launch Pieces', the shape of the crystal will revert to the standard curved shape.

Urwerk on Steroids - Titanium Aluminum Nitrade Coated 103.08
Urwerk on Steroids - Titanium Aluminum Nitrade Coated 103.08
All Posts Urwerk Related-->Link


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The Birth of Modern Horological Art

A very interesting article by Wei Koh for HH Journal about the recent and phenomenal growth of modern haute horology. He appropriately compares this new 'movement' to the cinema of the French New Wave and the art of the mid-century abstract expressionists.

Link-->Page 1 Link-->Page 2

"“What was true for the painters of yesterday is false for the painters of today.” - Umberto Boccioni

“I was always astonished how the industry was using 21st century materials and techniques to make 19th century watches. I say if we are going to use today’s materials and today’s technology then we have to make today’s watches.” - Richard Mille

“I am a watchmaker, my father is a watchmaker, my grandfather is a watchmaker. But I could no longer continue to repeat the past as they had. I had to find my own way.” - Felix Baumgartner, co-founder Urwerk




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The Meandering History of Wandering Hours

The Meandering History of Wandering HoursThe Wandering Hour display (also known as a Floating Hour or Chronoscope) has been around four centuries. In 1656 the Campanus brothers had built a night clock for Pope Alexander XII. In a total innovation, they replaced the then conventional hands with hour figures on rotating discs, which performed a semicircular arc across the clock face. The correct figure appeared at the start of each new hour. It then moved clockwise across the arc of the dial and, depending on its progress, simultaneously marked the quarter or half-hour, which had just passed. Alexander's night pendulum clock was illuminated by an oil lamp so that the pope could see the time in the dark. The concept is that the moving hour display keeps an almost metaphorical count of the passing minutes rising and setting along the hourly arc.

"It is a deceptively simple and elegant system, and it is literally as old as the combination of concentric hours and minutes hands to which we are so accustomed. -- The orbit of the elegantly simple planetary ring, and the epicyclic dance of hour numerals which surrounded it, remained hidden beneath a solid dial." (source)

The Meandering History of Wandering HoursCampani Brothers Tabernacle Night Clock
Late 17th Century --> Link

Below are samples of Wandering Hour watches over the past four centuries. Only during the past few decades have watchmakers realized the full beauty of this display and exposed their dials to reveal the symbolic inner workings as part of the design itself.

The Meandering History of Wandering HoursWatches with wandering hour dials first appeared in the 17th century. In England, they were often commissioned by the King, to be presented to visitors or in recognition of loyalty to the country. The watch above from 1710 is likely the portrait of Frederick I of Prussia (1657-1713) -->Link

One of the earliest watchmakers to adapt this style to a pocket watch was British watchmaker Joseph Windmills. Joseph Antram, watchmaker to the King of England also produced wandering hours like this one-->Link

The Meandering History of Wandering HoursA variation was the 'Sun and Moon' dial. A 1750 Dutch pocket watch by G.Knip (above). Within the inner half ring, a revolving disc is painted with the sun and moon rotating every 24 hours, thereby indicating not only the hour but whether it is day or night. A minute hand was used in the normal circular fashion. -->Link Another model-->Link

The Meandering History of Wandering HoursSideview of the 'Sun Moon' Wandering Hour

The Meandering History of Wandering Hours1820 Chronos Breguet Wandering Hour
Etablissement Mixte series

Typically, four digits appear on three disks, each rotating epicyloidally one quarter while out of view and advancing to the next corresponding hour. The minutes were easily approximated by the hour position within the arc.

The Meandering History of Wandering HoursBreguet Wandering Hour Wristwatch by Gubelin

The Meandering History of Wandering HoursThe Audemars Piguet "Star Wheel" reinvented this system in the early 1990s, creating many variations of wandering hour wristwatches. "Three transparent sapphire disks, or star wheels, are each inscribed with four hour indicators and attached to a rotating center wheel. As the assembly turns, the current hour indicator is rotated into view and then passed across a 120-degree minutes sector. The time is read by noting the visible hour pointing to the current minute." (source) Additional information-->Link

The Meandering History of Wandering HoursStar Wheel Sapphire Disks

Each disk is obscured until it rises into the arc where the background contrasts the digits into legibility.

The Meandering History of Wandering HoursLate 1990s "John Schaeffer Star Wheels"
With Minute Repeater

The Meandering History of Wandering Hours2000 Millenary Star Wheel
125th Anniversary Model

The Meandering History of Wandering HoursVincent Calabrese "Horus"

"The wandering dates conceived by Vincent Calabrese (above & below), The jumping hour hand is displayed in a small window that turns around the dial, showing the minutes passing. There is only one hand on the dial, that of the seconds. The same principle as it applies to the date is a world first." (source)

The Meandering History of Wandering HoursVincent Calabrese "Ottica"

The Meandering History of Wandering HoursAlain Silberstein Wandering Hour "Cyclops"

These orbiting satellite displays have had a few revivals over the past 300 years but only in wristwatches in the past few decades. The brand Urwerk (below) is taking this very old concept to interstellar levels. Their revolutionary wandering hour displays have become three dimensional, the numbers are placed on spinning conical discs or rotating cubes with retractable retrograde pointers.

The Meandering History of Wandering HoursUrwerk's original 101
Inspired by the Campanus Night Clocks
and the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars

The Meandering History of Wandering HoursUrwerk series 102 "Nightwatch"
also known as "Sputnik"

The Meandering History of Wandering Hours
The Urwerk wandering display was just too cool to keep covered.

The Meandering History of Wandering HoursUrwerk 103 series
Their first display with exposed hours

"The innovative rotating satellite complication is the heart and soul of the 103 series of watches. The orbital cross carries the four hour-satellites and an internal Geneva cross governs each of these satellites. Each of the satellite features three hour numbers four hours apart. As a satellite approaches the crown, its Geneva cross engages a pin and rotates the disk 120° for the new hour to take its position." (source)

The Meandering History of Wandering HoursThe Urwerk 201 'Hammerhead'

The Meandering History of Wandering HoursThe Urwerk team evolved their Wandering Hour into cubes and retrograde minutes for the Harry Winston "Opus V."

The Meandering History of Wandering HoursQP Magazine recently featured this public clock in London, The Newgate Clock, possibly the only public wandering hour clock in the world. It was created by horologist Joanna Migdal and inspired by Joseph Windmills original designs. See how it works here-->Link

"The innovation lies not only in the display which evokes the natural course of the sun on the horizon, but also on the original satellite mechanism whose future applications are yet to be discovered." (source)

Related Posts;
Jump Hour Watches
Mystery Dial Watches
Watch History
Retrograde Watches

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Jam Handy Watchmaking Films of 1947-1949 for Hamilton Watch Co.

Jam Handy Watchmaking Films of 1947-1949 for Hamilton Watch Co.Count how many times they say "Fine Watch Fine" in this 1947 Jam Handy film for the Hamilton Watch Company and you'll get dizzy. Also, hang in there through the awesomely corny beginning for the high tech American watchmaking bravado that follows. Video-->Link

Jam Handy Watchmaking Films of 1947-1949 for Hamilton Watch Co.
"How A Watch Works", Jam Handy's 1949 educational film about mechanical wristwatches and how they work. Video-->Link

Thanks to Archive.org for these kitschy nuggets of watchmaking history!


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Animations of Mechanicality - Video of Opus 7


Recently featured here-->Link, the Opus 7 developed by Andreas Strehler for Harry Winston Fine Timepieces really needs to be seen in (on) the flesh. The video shown above doesn't really do it justice but it does help illuminate the complex simplicity of its unusual alternating mechanical digital display. As the watch journalist, Ian Skellern describes, "With only one display indication, the Opus 7 can 'remember' hours, minutes or the power reserve while displaying only one of them." These innovative mechanical memory devolopments are being discussed at Horomundi-->Link, where a post about another watch, the Maurice LaCroix "
Mémoire1", the world's first, and yet unseen by the public, chronograph with memory. (...and which I'll be posting more about this week)

But back to the video...More brands need to shoot live action videos of their complicated watches in motion. Potential enthusiasts and future collectors would really appreciate seeing the convoluted mechanics mingle. Computer animated presentations are fantastic, they go inside the watches like no other physical possibility. They all start to look the same with the spiraling video game slickness. Why not hire a filmmaker who shoots insect documentaries and could really examine the watches in its their actual micro-mechanical-environments.




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Intimate Relations with Greubel Forsey's Multi-Axis TourbillonsBig and Bigger Bangs - Hublot & BNB Concept VideoThe Inertia of F.P. JourneUrwerk on Steroids - Titanium Aluminum Nitrade Coated 103.08The Meandering History of Wandering HoursJam Handy Watchmaking Films of 1947-1949 for Hamilton Watch Co.Animations of Mechanicality - Video of Opus 7

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