When I say a watch is one of the oddest I've seen, you gotta believe me. This 1970 Buler is one of those and can be distinguished as having "a face only a mother could love". Absolutely enormous bullion sized driver angled case, grooved black slots, atomic green dial, manual winding hexagon crown, and most superbly weird, the original mint leather-cloth mesh band! Even the buckle is leather!
Caught somewhere between sadistic torture device and a steampunk gadget, Suekichi's artisinal timepieces are prolifically original, fantastically bizarre, and perfectly timed for The Watchismo Times.
"Steampunk, a subgenre of speculative science fiction which came into prominence in the 1980s and early 1990s. The term denotes works set in an era or world where steam power is still widely used—usually the 19th century, and often set in Victorian era England." Incorporatingretro-futurism styles of fictional technological inventions like those found in the works of H. G. Wells.
"I started to work in a toy store, as a salesman. Across from the toy store was a watchmaker, and he would sometimes come over during work hours, and we became friends. I asked him if he could teach me how to make watches, and... [nods]."
"So did your watches start out as unique as they are now, or have you built up to this level of weird?"
"In the beginning, they were pretty simple, a strange drawing maybe, but that's about it. But at the flea market, a one-armed man came up to me. And he said to me, well, with only my left arm, I can't put on a watch. Wow, I thought, he's right...I wonder if I could make a watch like that? So I made - and you can see one upstairs in the showcase - I made a watch that you put your wrist in it and it shuts around your wrist."
Suekichi's gallery-->Link and more-->Link Chief interview-->Link
Triangular cased watch by LeCoultre (circa 1940). Angled on the wrist allowing time-viewing while driving. Featuring a stainless steel case, stepped bezel, 15 jewel movement and back-winder. Drivers watches by LeCoultre are very rare. The Duoplan movements, developed in 1925 to aid reliability in increasing miniaturization, were arranged on split levels leading to the creation of the world's smallest Caliber 101.
An original sketch of what might have been the Opus V. Codenamed 'Time Bandit' by Urwerk's Martin Frei and Felix Baumgartner, it was an overwhelmingly difficult mechanical concept in which the wearer would engage the slot-machine style lever to activate the spinning digits and form the correct time on the side of the watch.
"You had to arm it like a slot machine. The time indications were placed on cylinders, but the watch did not show the time until you armed it. Once you released the arming lever these cylinders would turn until they stopped precisely at the right time. It was a completely crazy idea. It was really more complicated than a minute repeater; in fact, the base of this watch was essentially a minute repeater. You had a time telling base caliber and then a system of snail cams and racks like that in a minute repeater. When you armed the watch you would essentially be arming something similar to as strike barrel. But instead of translating the time into hammer strikes on gongs they would operate this one arm bandit like indication. And this indication involved a whole additional mechanism. When conceptualizing the watch we were joking that we were gambling with time, because we didn’t know if it was possible to create in a little over one year. This proved right."
Via Horomundi-->Link The Complete Urwerk Story-->Link
Bullhead Chronographs, as they're called, feature the crown and pushers on top of the case instead of the side. Due to the rarity of the configuration, more liberties are taken in regards to the overall design, many dials are angled up for a drivers style and feature unusual dials. A long way of saying they are some of the coolest damn watches made in the sixties and seventies.
1970 Bulova Bullhead (above) with the famous Chronomatic Calibre 11, the first automatic watch with a micro-rotor. Also used in the 1969 Heuer Monaco. Additional photos here-->Link
1969 Omega Bullhead also featuring the Chronomatic movement. A case that is much wider at the top. Very rare. Link to additional photos-->Link
1970's Seiko Speedtimer sporting a perfect seventies burnt umber fade. A more commonly found vintage Bullhead.
Enormous 70's manual wind Orator Bullhead with massive steel case and gray gradation dial. A very obscure brand and an even more rare model.
1974 Breitling Pupitre is another asymmetrical Bullhead chrono with two-tone brown dial, manual winding Valjoux 7740 movement (also came in auto Caliber 11)
The bully of the Bullheads, the 1972 60mm wide Desotos Chronograph, first featured here-->Link
Another obscure 1970's Bullhead by Fleurier, a giant chunk of metal disguised as a chronograph.
1975 Victor Chronograph, manual winding, angled case, two-tone orange/gray dial.
Two vintage 70s Sorna Chronographs with one common goal...Make you look tough as hell. Above, is the volcano cased model (similar to the Omega Speedmaster Mark III) with multi-color black, orange, green, gray dial.
Below is the even larger triangular Sorna Bullhead with world time.
Vintage Solar Powered Watches - A Partly Cloudy History
Published: January 22,
2007 | 01:15
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.
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.
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...
First Bite of the Hammerhead - Urwerk 201 Watch Release
Published: January 17,
2007 | 18:44
Urwerk's 200 collection has just been unveiled! Stealthily solid and exposed like Wonder Woman's invisible jet, the 'Hammerhead 201' is a feat of micro-mechanics my mind is having trouble processing. Announcing shocking new features like the telescopic minute hands that extend and retract from the now iconic 'Urwerkian' hour display of three orbiting and rotating cubical hour satellites. Really difficult to grasp the complexity and beauty unless you can see it function live. If they ever make a video or animation available, I'll be sure to post it here.
Basically, time is displayed by the three-hour cubes with four numbers printed on each. They spin normally and are tripped to rotate as they line up with the 'erection' of the minute hand that grows from the bottom cube pointing to the corresponding minutes that arc at the bottom of the dial. As mentioned in a previous entry, the Hammerhead 201 is a blend of the Urwerk 103 Series and the Opus V project.
Other features include power reserve meter, day/night indicator, and a special highlight is the Control Board on the back which includes an oil change indicator notifying when servicing is needed (three years of usage), fine-tuning screw, and the worlds first 100 Year Plus indicator, an odometer keeping track of the total time of usage.
Engine Block Watch - Parmigiani Fleurier 'Bugatti' Type 370 Sideview
Published: November 08,
2006 | 02:04
sapphire crystals expose movement
Conceived as a true drivers watch with side-viewing while driving, the Parmigiani Fleurier 'Bugatti' is a companion timepiece for the super-exclusive French sports car company of the same name. Specifically the 'Veyron' - The fastest and most expensive street-legal sports car in the world.
But enough about the car...
The watch, only 150 made, taken directly from automotive technology, the Bugatti Type 370 "imposes it's aesthetic with parts arranged like a transversal engine." Mechanically wound by disc declutching tube spring, differential 10-day power reserve, mounted on silent block chassis, and choke with the dynamometric system. ...If you think I understand any of that, you're giving me far too much credit. MSP at only 200,000 Euros.
Designed to resemble a futuristic concept car of the fifties, Dunhill has revisited the historical Motorities series with this limited edition 'Carwatch'. 45mm multi-material case, angular sapphire crystal and automatic movement. And Motorities was the original 1893 product line of accessories for the new fad called 'motoring'. Alfred Dunhill has been credited for introducing the built-in dashboard clock when he fitted a pocketwatch inside a sturdy, dashboard-mounted brass case.
My eyes filled in the gaps of what appeared to be complete lugs on this monolug automatic Motorities Wheel Watch Petrolhead by Dunhill. Case design based upon metal "Spinners" used to attach wire wheels to vintage sports cars. And in the same spirit, the 40 hour power reserve is fashioned as a fuel gauge. Others in the series include the Pressurehead, Wheel Watch Chronograph, and Carwatch (featured above).