Your Very Own Atomic Clock! 1960's Patek Philippe/Hewlett Packard

Similar to the portable atomic clock used for an experiment in the 1971 to prove Einstein's theory of relativity and...time travel:

"Atomic clocks are extremely accurate clocks that can measure tiny amounts of time—billionths of a second. In 1971, scientists used these clocks to test Einstein's ideas. One atomic clock was set up on the ground, while another was sent around the world on a jet traveling at 600 mph. At the start, both clocks showed exactly the same time.

What happened when the clock flown around the world returned to the spot where the other clock was? As Einstein had predicted in a general way, the clocks no longer showed the same time—the clock on the jet was behind by a few billionths of a second. Why such a small difference? Well, 600 mph is fast but still just the tiniest fraction of the speed of light. To see any significant differences in time, you'd have to be traveling many millions of miles an hour faster." (source)

In recent hunts for oddities, I happened to stumble upon this 1960's Patek Philippe & Hewlett Packard Atomic Cesium clock!

Auction info; HP 5061A Fantastic complex scientific instrument. Actually a mobile mass spectrometer monitoring the hyperfine transition frequency of Cesium isotope 133 as atoms are hit with microwaves, and uses that output to stabilize a quartz crystal oscillator.This was the most accurate clock on earth at the time of manufacture in the late 60's. Still hard to find a more accurate clock. Frequency stability per manual is 8x10 minus 13 power. Cost was around $60,000. HP still makes a very similar model for over $120k. For those of you not around in 1967 $60,000 would buy a luxury home. Has beautiful bevel crystal glass cover for the Patek Phillipe Swiss manufactured analog clock. Makes a solid tick sound with each second. Has 1 and 5 MhZ and 100KHz outputs and 1PPS outputs. Unit is fully functional and frequency locks in 12 minutes and stays locked. Cosmetically excellent. Cannot read hour meter, but appears to have had low usage based on condition inside and out,and function. Weight 67# before packing,18 3/8" X 16 3/4" X 8 1/4". Has space for internal backup battery, not included. Includes Original A/C and D/C plugs. External D/C power can be used for backup power. Repro Operation and Service manual included.

If you do get it, be sure to consider converting it to a very rare Atomic Wristwatch, like this guy-->Link

More info on Einstein's experiment-->Link and-->Link

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The Killer Zodiac Watch of the Zodiac Killer

Warning! If you haven't seen the film "Zodiac" by David Fincher (Fight Club, Se7en), this post contains spoilers for the movie.

This was a note left by the serial killer, the "Zodiac" in the late 1960s - One of many letters to the press taunting the police with ciphers and threats, terrorizing the city of San Francisco all the way through the mid-seventies. This one in particular described how he wanted people to wear his trademark crosshair logo on buttons with obvious hints of future bloodshed if he wasn't satisfied.

But my post today at TWT has less to do with his crimes and more to do with his strange wristwatch related identity.

Originally, his unsigned notes announced himself as "the killer". But soon after, he was compelled (if not convinced) to create an identity. Following letters featured a circle with crosshairs and the name "Zodiac", it was soon discovered later that the image and name combination was directly borrowed from the Swiss watch brand of the same name and same logo. Zodiac watches were the only known source where both were used. Although the crimes were never
officially solved, the prime suspect (to this day) did own a Zodiac Seawolf watch. It wasn't a very common brand to own and many other clues have linked this man to the murders. I've included the film scene below featuring the suspect interviewed by police where they discover his timepiece of choice. Forgive the quality, it was taped directly from my TV.

Press play above or go to the video-->Link

The Zodiac Suspect Arthur Leigh Allen and his Zodiac Sea Wolf

The Zodiac's 1967 Sea Wolf Diver

Movie trailer video->Link
or official Zodiac Movie Website->Link
The Zodiac Killer Timeline-->Link

Original 1960's Zodiac Sea Wolf Advertisement
(hey, is that diver killing that turtle??)

And an assortment of other vintage Zodiac
Seawolf Divers of the sixties, seventies and today;

1960s Sea Wolf Automatic

1970 Orange Diver

1970s Auto Diver

1970s SST SeaWolf

2007 Seawolfs

More styles in vintage ads-->Link

Watch photo credits;
Vintage Zodiacs

More info about the Zodiac Killer;
Crime Library
Zodiac Movie Site
Zodiac Killer-Wikipedia
Vintage Zodiacs
Zodiac Website

Click here for vintage Seawolf auctions
Find modern Zodiac watches here

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Painfully Real Cuckoo Clock - by Michael Sans

The traditional Black Forrest Cuckoo Clock is creatively crucified by German artist and product designer, Michael Sans. This clock, simply titled "Cuckoo Clock", with materials consisting of; digital clock, metal housing, chromed nails and chain, cuckoo (died of natural causes in 1958). One of a kind-Not for sale.

Digital LED clock hung around the Cuckoo's head

Michael Sans Website-->Link

Related Posts on Watchismo;
All Clock features-->Link
All Artist features-->Link

Antique Black Forrest Cuckoo Clock Auctions
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Ticking Time Bombers - 1943 Hamilton Bombtimer

The 1943 Hamilton Bombtimer, not actually a wrist or pocket watch, but mounted on a turret within a World War II bombadier's compartment so he could time the duration between bomb drop and detonation.

Two Bombtimers modified for the wrist

Additional Bomb Timer info from Rene Rondeau, Vintage Hamilton Watch Expert;

"A curious and largely unexplored topic..... There's nothing about them in Whitney's comprehensive "Military Timepieces", and they're not even listed in Hamilton's own WWII production summaries. There's one wartime ad that shows it (seen below).

These were made with the dial in either horizontal orientation as seen in the picture on top, or more "watch-like" vertical arrangement just below it (provided by the 2007 "Complete Price Guide to Watches". Usually the second hand is double-ended, one end with an arrow tip and the other with a simple point. I don't really know why. I suspect the second hand in the attached picture is a replacement since it's not even long enough to reach the seconds track.

They always have a pusher on the back edge as a hacking mechanism. It stops the balance and allows it to be set to the second. The movement is a standard 980.
The attached ad shows it being used as a training aid, in conjunction with a movie camera to film "hits". According to Hamilton employees and a couple of veterans I've talked to, these were primarily used to record bombing runs. Just as shown in the ad when used with a machine gun, the watch would be mounted into a bomb sight with a camera filming the release and detonation of a bomb, and the timer filmed as part of the image to record the exact moment of each step.

Needless to say these were never originally intended to be worn as watches, but lots of collectors mount straps by punching a hole in a conventional strap and bolting it to the case end."

WWII Advertisement featuring Bombtimer
(bottom right under crosshaired airplane)

Found a vertical version on Amazon

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Murano Watch Waste - Luxury Sink Drain Plug Clock

Ordinarily, I'd come up with a lot to say about this drain plug watch/clock from Italy's Murano House but really, it would just be a lot of my time down the drain...

MuranoHouse Watch Waste-->Link

via Trendir

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The Wristwatch - Born on a Woman's Wrist

It's true, women were the first to adorn their wrists with time. Since the mid-19th century, with sporatic examples dating even further back (here), most ladies wristwatches were incorporated into bracelets, heavily jeweled, stylishly decorative, and quite often concealing their functions. Women were at least five decades if not more than a century ahead of the first mens Cartier Santos, a watch made for a pilot in the early 1900s. Ahead of the first military watches that placed strapped pocket watches onto a soldiers wrist.

This history has been beautifully documented in the extensive interactive exhibit, "Fine Watchmaking - A Tribute to Women", an exhibition from the 2007 SIHH. Examples from the show below and the complete online catalogue here-->LINK

1868 - First Patek Philippe wristwatch
Made for Countess Koscowicz of Hungary
One of the oldest known bracelet-watches.
Movement signed Capt & Freundler à Genève, 1813.
Musée d’Horlogerie du Locle, Switzerland

1930s Cadenas Watch witch serpentine chain
Van Cleef & Arpels

Advertisement for the Marquise watch by Baume & Mercier.
Marquise watch. Early 1950s. Baume & Mercier collection

Unusual watch attached to a ribbon

And from the article, "Women and watches - A long standing love affair"

"The wristwatch conquers new fans

With the sleeveless dresses of the Directoire and Empire styles, the bracelet became a blank canvas on which jewelers could express their creativity. Some were inspired to incorporate a timepiece, proving that women, not men, were the first to wear their watch on their wrist. However, not everyone welcomed this innovation. Certain of its detractors even claimed that such small and doubtless fragile mechanisms would inevitably be damaged by the movements of the wrist.

This by no means discouraged Omega, which proposed wristwatches for men and women as of 1905. The watch was seen from a new angle, as a fashion accessory. Women were encouraged to own several and adapt them to their outfit and activities. When, in 1914, the women’s magazine Femina ran a poll of its readers, 3,437 of the 4,350 respondents said they preferred the wristwatch. After the First World War, both men and women adopted the wristwatch for its modern, sporting or avant-garde image. All eyes focused on Rolex when in 1927 Mercedes Gleitze swam the Channel with a waterproof Oyster strapped to her wrist. After the Second World War, society discovered mass consumption and an emphasis on well-being as never before. Life was once again a social whirl and luxury reinstated. Piaget was one of the first to create watches in a jewelery spirit, followed by Jaeger-LeCoultre and Chopard."

For the rest of this article-->Link

Via Journal de la Haute Horlogerie
& Origins of the Wristwatch before 1900

Related Posts on The Watchismo Times;
All Ladies Wristwatch Features-->Link
Jewelry Features-->Link

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Out of this World! The Richard Mille Planetarium Tellurium

I'm proud to be one of the first to unveil the Richard Mille Planetarium Tellurium. A massive achievement in horology with an entirely new mechanical interpretation of a centuries old tradition - Depicting the universe as clockwork. Created by the revolutionary independent watch brand, Richard Mille (with obvious watch case design) and developed by mastermind Stephen Forsey and Robert Greubel of CompliTime and an exclusive look into his original drawings for the Planetary Tellurium below the photos...

Text by Theodore Diehl for Richard Mille (For the complete story, visit Horomundi-->LINK)

"Despite its enormous complexity, the Richard Mille Planetarium- Tellurium is designed to be: - easy to understand - easy and practical in use - precise and reliable This means that for the first time, an object of this type will be able to be operated by someone who is not a specialist.


First of all, the diameter of the earth has for practical and aesthetic reasons been notably enlarged in the Planetarium-Tellurium (in reality, the earth is 109 times smaller than the sun) allowing a good view of the continents and indeed of countries. All the planets can be seen perfectly, although these, as explained above, are not to scale regarding size and distance. The indications (date, equation of time, zodiac) are represented in an easily readable and consistent way, and on a separate area from the layout depicting the rotation of the planets.

Indications, front panel


Astronomic representations (R) and indications (I)
  1. - Rotation of the earth on its axis (R)
  2. - Rotation of the earth around the sun (R)
  3. - Obliquity of the earth (R)
  4. - Rotation of the moon on its axis (R)
  5. - Rotation of the moon around the earth (R)
  6. - Phases of the moon (I)
  7. - Equation of time (I)
  8. - Mercury (R)
  9. - Venus (R)
  10. - Sun (R)
  • Rotation of the earth on its axis (R) One rotation on its axis in 24 hours. Error: +1° in 7.7 years
  • Rotation of the earth around the sun (R) One rotation in 1 year. Error: -1° in 2 million years. This rotation is used as the basis for indicating the seasons, the equinoxes, solstices and zodiac signs, represented in their respective windows.
  • Obliquity of the earth (R) Exact rotation, the tilt of the earth’s axis between the two poles: 23.5°. This tilt towards the sun provides a perfect understanding of the phenomenon of the seasons.
  • Rotation of the moon on its axis and rotation of the moon around the earth (R) The calculation of the rotation is based on a synodic month of 29.53058912 days (time interval between two new moons). Error : +1° in 168 years.
  • Phases of the moon (I) The phases of the moon are represented on the moon itself with a surrounding ring that represents the area visible from the earth.
  • Equation of time (I) The equation of time is represented by a hand and a dial divided into sectors on the front part of the planetarium. The hand represents in + or – the minutes that must be added or subtracted from the mean time in order to obtain the true solar time.
  • Solar time. Associated with the equation of time, it represents the true time in relation to the sun. This indication is connected to the planetary mechanism and is on the dial.
  • Mercury (R) Representation of Mercury performing a rotation around the sun in 87.9 days. Mercury does not rotate around its axis.
  • Venus (R) Representation of Venus performing a rotation around the sun in 224.7 days. Venus does not rotate around its axis.
  • Sun (R) Static representation of the sun in the centre of the Planetarium Tellurium.
  • Time indications - Hour - Minute - Time zones - Date (Perpetual calendar) - Day (Perpetual calendar) - Month (Perpetual calendar) - Year, decade (Perpetual calendar) - Leap year - Power reserve - Seasons, equinoxes, solstices, Zodiac signs
MATERIALS USED Titanium, steel, brass, gold, silver, red corundum

Another unique aspect of the Richard Mille Planetarium-Tellurium is the addition of a perpetual calendar to the astronomic representations in combination with a détente chronometer escapement. The addition of a highly accurate going train and winding barrel of the planetarium to this escapement make this the most accurate clockwork Planetarium Tellurium of its kind.

The clock will be unveiled at the September 2007 Tempus - Temple of Time in Singapore.

A one of a kind creation, the price? Well into seven figures.

More information at Horomundi here-->Link
Richard Mille website-->Link

View of the interior without the Sun in position.
Titanium bridges/plates

Planetarium Terrurium Drawings
by Stephen Forsey of (Greubel Forsey)

The latest Richard Mille RM011 Chronograph
Photos by Mike Disher of TimeZone

Highlights of other Planetary devices, clocks and watches include the 18th century Planetarium clock below by Jean-Andre Lepaute of France.

Table Clock with Planetarium circa 1770
Collection of the Beyer Museum

Our solar system has even been reduced to a mechanical wristwatch with this recent Christiaan van der Klaauw "Planetarium." Previously featured here-->Link

Other phenomenal wrist galaxies like the 1985 Ulysse Nardin's Planetarium Copernicus and more recent, the Trilogy Set including the Astrolabe.

Boy, if I didn't feel small in this Universe, I sure do now!

Lastly, learn about the very first mechanical astronomical device nearly 2000 years old, the ancient Greek Antikythera Celestial Calculator-->Link

Related Posts;
Other Astronomical Timepieces-->Link
All Clock Posts-->Link
Complication Timepieces-->Link
Richard Mille-->Link
$2,000,000 Hatching Astronomic Clock by Vacheron Constantin --> Link

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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

The Brothers Bang

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Watchismo's Timewarp of Pierre Cardin for QP Magazine

My third Timewarp column for QP Magazine featuring the super swanky space-age Pierre Cardin Espace Watches of the early seventies. Click to read-->Link

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Laser Beam Wristwatch!

Where is the truth in advertising? Were we really that stupid in the eighties to fall for this sales pitch?

Plus all my other favorite vintage watch commercials and films linked below;

1970s Timex Commercials -->Link
"Black Max, Takes a Licking and Keeps on Ticking, and more"

1960s Timex Commercial-->Link
"Underwater Dating"

1978 Texas Instruments Commercial-->Link

A New Age in Quartz-->Link

1940's Jam Handy for Hamilton-->Link

1940's Conquer by the Clock-->Link

And a few more I've found recently;

The 80's Multichron Calculator Watch

More Vintage Timex Commercials

Chronoforms Robot Watch

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Arnold & Son Grande Complication - True North Perpetual Calendar

A perfect watch for hunting giant squid, Moby Dick or the Loch Ness Monster. The Arnold & Son True North Perpetual, the top tier model by the recently reanimated 220 year old brand. Featuring a manually wound A&S caliber 1794 movement, perpetual calendar (date, month, moonphase, leap year), double equation of time, true solar time, true direction, longitude, and power reserve. All that's missing is a barometer, armillary, sextant, and telescope.

Arnold & Son website-->Link

Related Posts;
HD3 Complication Vulcania
Steampunk Watches
Multi-functional Timepieces

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Watchismo Featured in Mens Vogue!

From the September 2007 issue
(click above to read article)

Human robots?? Why the hell did I say that? That doesn't make any sense. Oh well...I'm in Vogue! The first line makes up for that, though I feel more like a Father at an orphanage.

More Shameless Self Promotions;
QP Interviews Watchismo
Coolhunting Video of Watchismo
Bell Bottom Chronographs for QP
Vintage Sideview Displays for QP
LTD Magazine Chronos of Watchismo
Revolution Rolex Sweepstakes

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Watchband That Will Knock You Out! Literally! The Defenseband

Next time someone tries to steal that $100,000 Tourbillon off your wrist, make sure to use the "Defenseband." Made by inventor Greg Thompson of Spider-Ti Human Restraint Systems.

Sure it's velcro and won't match your rose gold but whatever man, protect yourself! I'm thinking of buying one just so I can knock out the first guy I see wearing an Urwerk...Otherwise, how am I ever gonna afford one? For the low low price of $19.95 and a slight risk of jail time for a Hammerhead? Fair enough...

Spider Ti Human Restraint Systems-->Link
Defenseband Instructional Video-->Link

Related Posts;
James Bond Gadget Watches
Sicura Knife Watch
Panerai Commando Watch Set
Movado Seduction Weapon

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World War I Government Issued Jaeger LeCoultre Military Grilled Watch

Since my more detailed "Wristwatches of War" post->Link, I've discovered some other interesting antique trench grille watches from World War I. Issued to infantry officers of British Expeditionary Forces, the 1917 Jaeger LeCoultre above and unsigned model below. Both available from

Related Posts;
Wristwatches of War
1941 Panerai Commando Set
Gunpowder Flask Watch

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