On Retronaut, David Orman has gathered up a magnificent collection of digital watches from the 1980s, which was truly the last spasm of the heroic age of digital horology.
Today's the day when Americans, Canadians, and others across the pond turn their clocks back (we in the UK beat you to it by a week). In honor of that momentous occasion, the Vintage Ads LJ group has a fine collection of clock ads from the past. Here are two of the best, found by nolock_boston: Telechron, GE Computer Radio (which I covet with the intensity of a thousand suns).
Hayden sez, "A good one for Halloween - this skull-shaped memento mori clock is historically important and even a little spooky today.
The Art of Mourning site is all about death and love in jewelry and art, so there are many examples of the symbols of death throughout history."
Watches and clocks with the memento mori motifs were not uncommon, dating from the mid 17th Century to the 1930s. This early Verge silver skull pivots at the top of the cranium, whereas others pivot from the jaw. There are others created that fold open at the top of the head with enamel and diamonds, but pieces like these are extremely rare and command a high price. Examples exist from Switzerland, France, Germany and England. As written by the Taft Museum:
“The skull and watch are part of the standard subject matter of 17th-century vanitas still lifes. Vanitas is from the Latin for “emptiness” or “untruth,” from which comes the English word “vanity.” Such pictures depict objects that have an underlying moral message—usually about the fleeting nature of physical reality. Therefore, it is not surprising that the skull and watch, two reminders of the passage of time, should merge in a single object. The use of the skeleton hand, however, is unusual.1“
Thomas White Memento Mori Watch, c.1780
Having seen and admired Matseng's freeformed "The Lethal Nixie Cube Clock," which displays the time one digit at a time, I have only one question: is this a great-looking Nixie tube clock, or the greatest-looking Nixie tube clock:
It's a clock made of a single IN-1 Nixie tube controlled by a ATMega8. The Mega8 directly controls 10 pcs of MPSA42 high voltage transistors for lighting up the filaments in in Nixie. It also generates the high voltage required for the tubes by a pwm output connected to a IRF520 N-FET and the usual inductor and fast recovery diode.
Freeformed Nixie Tube clock
Hodinkee's John Reardon has a great profile on and interview with Dan Spitz, former Anthrax guitar hero who quit the music business to become a world-renowned, prize-winning watchmaker who hand-lathes his own replacement parts for antique watch restorations. Reardon quit his gig to spend more time with his family -- he has twin boys who have autism -- and to pursue his lifelong technical passions. He's hand-built his own workbench!
Funny story, actually. I was working as a watchmaker in Geneva and thinking I would never go back to music when Dave Mustaine from Megadeth called me and said “Dude, what are you doing? Stop messing with watches. You need to come back and start writing music again. You are one of the creators of our genre, thrash metal. You need to stop tinkering around with these million dollar toys and get back to music.” This lecture led to the end of my solitary confinement as a watchmaker. I looked down the bench and saw another watchmaker working on a crazy watch but obviously also headbanging. I walked over to him and saw that he was blasting Slayer. He was working on a multiple fly-back, jump hour, chrono, perpetual calendar, moon phase, tourbillon and he’s blasting Slayer! I looked at him and thought, “That’s it, I’m done. I’m going back to music.” In the end, most people in Switzerland are blasting while working on watches, anything from Barbra Streisand to Slayer.
My grandfather was a watchmaker, and I grew up playing with junk movements and parts. It's amazing to hear the story of someone so accomplished -- especially in a second career begun as an adult.
Interview: Meet Dan Spitz, Anthrax Guitarist Turned Master Watchmaker
Brazilian artist Diego Kuffer writes, " I have a new series of photos called 'Chrononaut'. It's about how experience shapes the way we perceive the world and reality. Also, it pictures public clocks in Sao Paulo that are abandoned, because it isn't allowed anymore to post ads in public spaces, as part of a law that forbids this kind of visual pollution."
diego kuffer » Crononauta
Click's latest watches are the "Wall Switches." As the name implies, they look like wide, flat, blank wall-switches, but have a hidden illuminated time-display that lights up when the switch is flicked.
Click Wall Switch Watches
The latest from Roger Wood's feverish imagination: a glorious higgeldy-piggeldy of an assemblage clock.
Holy crap, but Dominic Wilcox's sculptures are seriously up my street. He mods little plastic people to depict strange and newsworthy contemporary moments, then animates them by affixing them to the faces of vintage wristwatches and pocket-watches under oversized domed crystals.
Dominic Wilcox has created a series of miniature time-based sculptures using a collection of vintage mechanical watches and customised model figures. By attaching tiny figures onto the second and minute hands of each watch, Wilcox has made unique, animated scenes from everyday observations and imagined situations.
Watch sculptures : Moments in time by Dominic Wilcox
New in the Watchismo Vault collection, the $17,500 Devon Tread watches, which use a cunning system of belts and optical sensors to keep and display the time. No, I don't have $17.5K to drop on something like this, but if you asked me to imagine what a $17.5K watch should look like, it would be something much like this: "The exposed movement is a mesmerizing display of the patented interwoven system of conveyor belts. This series of belts includes critical elements that allow the optical recognition system to know every belt position at all times."
Tokyoflash's latest Kisai watch is the Kisai Stencil, based on a concept design submitted by a math teacher named Heather Sable. It uses "negative space" to draw the numbers, a display that is cryptic at first but is easy to read at a glance once you've figured out the knack of it.
I found that I had a knack for creating read-at-a-glance designs with cryptic looking, yet easy to read digits. I designed the digits for this concept by starting with rectangular shapes, and cutting out unnecessary pieces using line segments and dots. By arranging them into four quadrants with some connecting lines, the display appears to be just a bunch of stencilled in lines and dots, while if you read the background, you can see the digits clearly.
When I got an email from Tokyoflash telling me they were interested in this design, I was absolutely elated. I had a huge smile on my face for the entire day. Now that I see how my concept has been brought to reality as Kisai Stencil, I am super-excited. The fact that Tokyoflash decided to emboss the digits I created on the strap fits so perfectly with the fact that I am a Math Teacher - of course there are numbers on my watch strap!
Kisai Stencil LCD Watch
CDR sez, "Watches that keep Martian time. Originally for a Mars Mission, now for anyone who needs something useless yet infinitely desirable."
Watchismo gives us an early look at Vincent Perriard & Co's HYT H1, a concept watch starting at $45,000 that will debut at the Baselworld 2012 show. It uses liquid-driven pistons as well as gears to tell the time. I am agog.
Pistons in the movement move the bellows. As one expands the other one compresses which moves the green Fluorescein liquid. Fluorescein even has applications in forensics to detect latent blood stains but this is likely a first and only use in horology!
Sneak Peek to Baselworld 2012 - HYT H1 - the first timepiece ever to combine mechanical and liquid engineering.
TokyoFlash's new Kisai On Air watch uses an always-on touchscreen LCD to display the time; the "minute hand" points to the hour and displays the minutes. The watch has a bunch of fun animations and some limited customizability, too.
A multi-functional watch design, Kisai On Air features touch screen technology and displays the time and date. It also has an alarm mode and animation.
The touch screen display has four hot-zones (top, bottom, left, right) which you can simply touch with your finger to change mode; time, date, alarm, light up.
Holding your finger in place for a few seconds allows you to customise; hold your finger over the alarm zone to set the alarm, hold it over the time zone to set the time. It's intuitive, simple and fun to operate.
After 15 seconds the screen will lock to prevent accidental input, however the LED light up function can always be operated. To unlock the display, simply swipe your finger across the screen from left to right. Please see the video at the bottom of the page to see this in action.
Kisai On Air Black
Swiss luxury watch company Hublot has announced a version of the Antikythera mechanism, an ancient Greek astronomical calculator, that is incorporated into a wristwatch. The mechanism is to be displayed at the 2012 Baselworld expo before moving to a permanent exhibit at Musée des arts et métiers in Paris.
Hublot painstakingly recreates a mysterious, 2,100-year-old clockwork relic - but why?