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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.

THE CABESTAN - Polygraph Watch? Richter Scale Watch? Please tell me this does more than tell the time...

THE CABESTAN - Polygraph Watch?  Richter Scale Watch?  Please tell me this does more than tell the time...This is just sickening. When something is so damn cool it makes you sick to your stomach, you should pay attention. Is it admiration? Jealousy? Bad Mexican food? Hell, it's all of the above.

Thanks to CoolHunting for first bringing my attention to this Sexy Beast!

The Cabestan is a collaboration between two of horology's bad boys, Vianney Halter and Jean-François Ruchonnet's DMC Group (who also designed the Heuer Monaco V4).

Inspired by old Curta calculators, this watchmaking marvel has a vertical tourbillon and an unusual fusée-and-chain movement. Time is shown on the barrels; no dial and no hands. You wind the watch by attaching a "wrench" to the two top cabestans (the knobs on the side).

135 of these beauties will be made in gold or platinum. Oh, and start saving now. They cost around $220,000 and are available from Vianney Halter.

Yeah, but a Richter scale-polygraph detector watch will come out for Basel 2007, you mark my word.

Europastar article

THE CABESTAN - Polygraph Watch?  Richter Scale Watch?  Please tell me this does more than tell the time...

Paul Smith Pistols - Horology In The UK

Paul Smith Pistols - Horology In The UK
Paul Smith Pistols - Horology In The UK
Paul Smith Pistols - Horology In The UK
Paul Smith Pistols - Horology In The UK

Limited Edition (500) watch by Paul Smith circa 1998

A fascinating blend of vintage and modern by the influential British designer - Especially the sideview analog (pictured) with Op-Art engraved design on top (always mistaken for a Dick Tracy style speaker watch), the hand engraved edition number and Paul Smith signature, angular case design reminiscent of early LEDs like the Synchronar Solar and Bulova Computron.

The rest of the collection was also very impressed with influences like the 1960's Heuer Monaco, asymmetric Bulova by Dior, 1970's Lip Mach 2000 & Pierre Cardin Espace series. See photos

But sadly, the current Paul Smith watches have tamed down quite a bit. I assume it's to please a wider marketplace. Strange how that works...

Examples from the original line;
1. Early Catalog of original Line
2. Automatic Model
3. Dashboard Model

Current Models from UK - link

catalog of the original Paul Smith watch line
Paul Smith Pistols - Horology In The UK

Paul Smith Pistols - Horology In The UK

Vianney Halter for GoldPfeil

Vianney Halter for GoldPfeilThis will be the first of many features on Vianney Halter's "haute horologie".

The Goldpfeil Seven Masters jumping hour moonphase by Halter is an unconventional timepiece with three displays. One rectangle for digital jump hour, a square for minutes/seconds and the upper subdial with geometric moonphase. Carved from a block of solid 18k white gold, fitted with automatic movement entirely developed by Halter.

Again, part of an elite wave of Swiss watchmakers that are designing, in my opinion, "Wristwatch Porn." Designs so stimulating, I find myself physically attracted to them...I want to hold them, caress them, buy flowers for them on Valentines Day.

Good thing my wife understands.

(Detailed Photos Here - thanks to

Another one of the "If you have to ask..." prices.

Vianney Halter for GoldPfeil

Digitrendy - Amida Digitrend Prism Jump Hour

"Hmm...How can I make a sideview LED style digital watch and still be mechanical? I got it! Make two dials for hour and minutes, print the numbers backwards and have a prism reflect the corrected mirror image through the side crystal."

- Likely thoughts of Swiss mechanical digital inventor Joseph Bamat when creating the 1970's Amida Digitrend mirrored prism jump hour digital mechanical watch. (also made by Crehor & Hudson)

Patent information describes it in further detail;

DIGITAL WATCH (filed November 1970)
A timepiece includes a pair of rotatable discs carrying respectively hour and minute indicia on one surface adjacent their peripheries. The indicia are arranged to pass, on rotation of the discs, adjacent the geometric central axis of the case of the timepiece. A window is formed at a position corresponding to the geometric central axis of the case, in a cover of the case, for viewing the indica.
More photos here

Jump hour disks with backwards digit printing

Mid-Century Modern Gadget - Mortima Thermometer Compass Watch

Mid-Century Modern Gadget - Mortima Thermometer Compass Watch

According to Pieter Doensen's book, Mortima created these steel spiral bimetal thermometer compass wristwatches in 1956. I've seen a few others made by Continental.

This one has the original band with bark cut steel matching the case. If only it squirted poison gas, it might have been used in an early James Bond flick. Hmm, hey what's this button for anyway?...

Soon to come - post about the 1960's Gilbert Spymaster 007.

Mid-Century Modern Gadget - Mortima Thermometer Compass Watch

Odyssey for the Hamilton Odyssey X-01

Odyssey for the Hamilton Odyssey X-01
Odyssey for the Hamilton Odyssey X-011966, Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke commission a variety of companies to imagine & design futuristic products for the year 2001. Oh, yeah, and to be featured in the film, "2001 A Space Odyssey."

Hamilton is hired and John Bergey creates a digital clock and analog/digital wristwatch (movie prop watch seen here). At the same time, it inspires his work inventing the Pulsar Time Computer LED digital watch in 1970.

1968, the movie is released and Hamilton release an entirely different but beautiful watch to the public, the "Odyssee 2001," spelled differently for apparent copyright issues.

Today, forty years later, Hamilton is issuing the "X-01" a limited edition reinterpretation of the original movie watch for $1195. Only 2001 will be made, cast from Titanium, Quartz movements, sapphire crystal and three sideview registers for Home Time, Dream Time, and GMT. Unfortunately they are now analog unlike the digital display from the original. But that is remedied by an old school trick, the small registers are set using a magnet that's hidden in the clasp - A feature of the first Pulsar LEDs.

An odyssey worth taking in my opinion.

Get one HERE.

Click for photos of X-01

Odyssey for the Hamilton Odyssey X-01

Clockwise 02 - Longines Nixie Tube Clock

Clockwise 02 - Longines Nixie Tube ClockNixie Tubes were state of the art in electronic numeric displays in early digital voltmeters, multimeters, frequency counters and many other types of technical equipment. They also appeared in costly digital time displays used in research and military establishments, and in many early electronic desktop calculators, including the first: the vacuum tube-based Sumlock-Comptometer Anita Mk VII of 1961. Later alphanumeric versions in fourteen segment display format found use in airport arrival/departure signs and stock ticker displays. Some elevators and pinball machines also used nixies for displays.

By the 1970’s they were almost completely supplanted by the cheap, long lived, low power-consuming seven segment LED’s. The nixie is a neon tube, typically with 10 stacked cathodes, one for each arabic digit.

Clockwise 02 - Longines Nixie Tube Clock
Many folks are building their own clocks and wristwatches with vintage old stock tubes (watch examples #1, #2, #3), mostly uninspired designs but a few select people are creating interesting one-offs (Finkbuilt) and limited edition do-it-yourself kits (Klok).

Clock above was built by Longines, another amazing find Pieter Doensen showed me and wouldn't sell...

Totally Tubular!

Clockwise 02 - Longines Nixie Tube Clock

Sir Clive Sinclair's Doomed FM Radio Watch

Sir Clive Sinclair's Doomed FM Radio Watch
Sir Clive Sinclair's Doomed FM Radio WatchThe man, the myth, the miniaturization of everything he could think of.

Sir Clive Sinclair - Inventor of the first pocket calculator (1972 Sinclair Executive), the first pocket television (1966 Microvision), the homemade LED watch (1975 Black Watch) and this 1984 FM radio watch prototype by Dagfinn Aksnes. Only few exist after the plug was pulled on production within days of it's introduction at an electronics trade show in Las Vegas.

Three separate body casings for the LCD watch, FM radio/tuner and center speaker are connected by bottom hinges, "flexicircuits" and protected by expandable accordion style "concertina" covers allowing the watch to curve to the wrist. The antenna for reception was a copper band concealed inside the strap and powered by two batteries, one in clock case, one in buckle.

I owned one for a time, loved it's prototypical Mars Rover qualities, soon discovered that the watch had many functional (not design) flaws and understand it's premature demise. Apparently there is a rich tradition of advanced products failing at Sinclair. A sign of a true trailblazer.

Dagfinn Aksnes Article
Planet Sinclair Article & Photos Article & Photos

Sir Clive Sinclair's Doomed FM Radio Watch

Retired Retrogradation - 1970's Retrograde Watches

Retired Retrogradation - 1970's Retrograde WatchesWear one of these masterpieces and pray nobody asks the time... Unless you like talking to strangers, you'll be helping them understand what the hell they're looking at. I'll just pull out my cell phone and get the interaction over with.

Kidding aside, these are very easy to gauge the time as well as my favorite style of timekeeping. Retrograde wristwatches - Time is told as a scale typically passing over an arc of numbers. Each hand has it's corresponding hour or minute measurements and once they grow to the highest increment, they spring back to the opposite side to start the next hour or twelve hour period of timing. Circles? We don't need no stinkin circles!

You can see this feature used in some of the most ridiculously high end wristwatches like Jaeger LeCoultre, Breguet, Gerald Genta, and Glashutte. Generally, it's a retrograde subdial, not an entire watch of retrograde movement like I'm featuring.

Shown in the photos are the 1970's Sultana, Wittnauer Sector Futurama and the three very rare LIP models. 1 2 3

Retired Retrogradation - 1970's Retrograde WatchesApparently, judging from this original LIP advertisement, the LIP Retrograde line were modern dancers when off the wrist...

Retired Retrogradation - 1970's Retrograde Watches

Pierre Cardin 1971 Espace Watch Collection

Pierre Cardin 1971 Espace Watch Collection
Designing collarless suits for the Beatles in 1963, Nasa Spacesuits in 1970, Pierre Cardin released his very brief Espace watch line in 1971. Made of metal blocks, lucite cubes, layered disks, contouring arcs, bold stripes or Futuro domes, my most prized collection of watches are near majority but forever incomplete due to unearthed prototypes and rare versions of already scarce models. Most are in my gallery for viewing.

Cardin was an 'O.G.' of the space-age set along with Andre Courrèges, Mary Quant, Rudi Gernreich, and Paco Rabanne, all creating clothing for the future where you'd be accompanied by your best friend and confidant, Barbarella.

All mechanical watches fitted with handwound Jaeger FE 68 movements.

Pierre Cardin 1971 Espace Watch Collection

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