The Dan Henry 1972 Alarm Chronograph

The dial is where the 1972 really comes into its own. Like the case, it starts with a basic layout pulled from the Porsche Design Chronograph I—lume covered stick hands, a 6/9/12 chronograph sub-dial layout, small rectangular indices, a clean chapter ring with a widely spaced tachymeter, and a needle seconds hand—but the 1972 Alarm Chronograph also stamps its originality here boldly. For starters, this is a sandwich dial, keeping the lumed indices on a second lower level to add depth. And, of course, the 1972’s party piece is the alarm complication, expressed here with a skeletonized and lumed triangle on a stick and an unobtrusive on/off indicator between 7 and 8 o’clock. Overall, it offers slick functionality without compromising the aesthetic… More at Worn & Wound.

It may be quartz, but there is a good reason for that. The complexity would cost £1,000’s in mechanical form, but here you can spend $350 for a seriously sweet looking watch.

Or, you can spend just $270 on the even more impressive 1970 Automatic Diver above. Go on. It’s almost Christmas, treat yourself.

The clock that cost its inventor millions

One of the world’s first digital clocks, which was made by a man in his shed, has been sold at auction. Thomas Bromley, an engineer and amateur inventor, created his Digitron Electric Clock in 1961 at his home in Hull.
He held the patent to the design for three years but chose not to renew it – potentially costing him millions. The prototype sold for £460 to a UK buyer, more than the £400 it was expected to fetch, when it went under the hammer in Beverley, East Yorkshire… More here.

That appears to be a very low price for something so significant.

ANICORN × NASA

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Edition number (No. 1-60) of each watch will be marked on the watch movement and also a metal plate which is unique to this collaboration. The full package includes a mechanical timepiece with Cerakote Ceramic Coatings, white textile strap (with embroidery NASA worm logo + GPS coordinates of the Kennedy Space Center in Florida), NASA embroidered patch and a metal warranty plate. Sold out.

Not a bad price and a unique design. Hardly surprising it is sold out already.

APPLE WATCH SERIES 4 – FINAL THOUGHTS

I feel like a man in 2007 who doesn’t want to give up his basic Nokia phone. I can see the future coming and I don’t want to admit that one day I may need a smartphone.

The future will overtake me and I will own an iPhone or Android phone like everyone else and wonder why I ever thought my Nokia was enough for me.

I kind of feel this way about the Apple Watch. I can see a time when it could be essential, when it could be a product group that is viewed as an oddity if you do not have one strapped to your wrist. With time and the advance of technology it is conceivable that smartwatches will offer so many benefits that they becomes a must have item, and at that point they will also become fashionable and potentially luxurious.

It is hard to imagine at this time, that a device so small can be so essential, but open your mind just a little to consider the advancement of voice control, the miniaturisation of technology and the progression of power management, and it feels possible that the usefulness of such devices will outweigh the pleasure some of us get from mechanical timepieces.

Balancing gaining pleasure from a mechanical object against the sheer utility of a gadget is not easy because it is like comparing oranges and bricks, but with only two wrists and the propensity to cover just one of them at a time, something has to give.

While it is possible that a watch on one wrist and a smart device on the other could become normal, I suspect that will not happen. The inconvenient truth is that the smart one will make the elegant one feel redundant, even for those of us who love mechanical watches, and it will be a no-brainer for the rest of the population (98% minimum) who care little for watches.

There is, however, a difference between watches and phones, and history cannot be a completely accurate guide here. No one had emotional connections, not strong ones, to their basic mobile phones. There is no sense of real history, no passing down through the generations and thus they are automatically replaceable. You will never see a vintage Apple Watch that is valuable or that can even be used in the future, and at no point will one ever be seen as an emotional object which is kind of strange for something you wear.

I suspect that the Apple Watch, and the other smartwatches, have come along at the right time. In a moment when young people tell the time with their phones and when even many older people do not bother with a watch. The time is ripe for a new product category and those of us who love the tradition of mechanical watches are in the most minor of minorities.

Onto the Apple Watch itself.

I was hugely disappointed with the Series 4 at one point because of the battery, but that seems to have settled to the point that 45 minutes of charging per day will likely be enough to keep it running the rest of the time. It still irks me when compared to the likes of Fitbit and Garmin, but it is manageable.

The Series 4 is a huge improvement design-wise over the previous four models and that screen matters more than you may expect for making touch points feel natural and for displaying the information you require without the need to squint. The way it hugs the wrist has been improved a great deal with a flatter sensor at the bottom, the Series 3 sensor lifts the entire watch from the wrist, and a more consistent form throughout.

It is extremely fast, extremely convenient and for a variety of tasks could be considered essential. For runners who want music and podcasts on the move and who do not want to carry a phone with them, the cellular version will be close to perfect.

For those who are new to fitness and who do not realise that Fitbit and Garmin do a ‘much’ better job in this area it could help them become much more healthy. And for those who for whatever reason find the iPhone impractical to use when working, the notifications and basic interactivity will feel more than a little useful.

Apple has moved the Apple Watch up a huge notch with the Series 4 and it feels like the iPhone 4 to me. The sudden design change and extra usability will make it more appealing to more people, just like the iPhone 4 did, and look what followed. If the Apple Watch Series 4 is the iPhone 4 equivalent, I am very curious to see what the Apple Watch Series 10 will be.

For the moment, however, it is still not for me and for two reasons. Firstly my love for mechanical watches which may be on borrowed time and secondly the fact that the Fitbit Versa, Ionic and various Garmin smartwatches are more practical on a day to day level, mainly because of the battery life. They most certainly have their faults, of that there is no doubt, but they have been designed to give the user what they need without the requirement to charge it too often and to mess about making it work how they need it to.

I have moments of clarity where I just sit and think. Moments when I don’t want to be interrupted and just need to consider what happens next, and as silly as it sounds in those moments I like to look at my watch, play around with it and just enjoy it. The Apple Watch is not for those moments and it is not for people who want a zero hassle experience, and if they did want a smartwatch I would still have to recommend one that does not require a daily charge to get through the day.

Final Versa final thoughts and the future of smart watches and I need three wrists, and…

I didn’t expect the arrival of the Fitbit Versa to cause so many conflicting thoughts in my mind, but I am a fickle character so am left pondering much more than just a simple fitness tracker.

The Versa is a surprise to me and has proved to be a capable fitness tracker, a practical and stylish watch and one that is the first that has made me consider wearing a traditional watch. For me, it ticks almost every box in terms of fitness tracking and offering just enough flexibility to make it an interesting device that is worthy of playing just for the sake of it now and again.

There are problems in that the battery life is not great when using third party clock faces, but I am getting close to four days per charge when using a Fitbit clock face. Some of the setup is archaic including moving music to the device which I have not been able to do successfully yet, even with the help of Fitbit support. They need to work on certain areas which are way behind Apple’s implementation of such things, but there is no doubt in my mind that the Versa is a better smart watch than Apple’s offering, to me at least.

If I were not a watch guy I would be wearing this every day in preference to a simple timekeeper, but I have my father’s vintage Bulova which is a hard object to simply leave lying on a shelf. The rattle of the bracelet is the same one I heard as a child as is the hum of the movement. It is by far the most important material possession I own and yet logically the Versa fits my life as it is in 2018 better than the Bulova ever could. If it was 1970, when the Bulova was made, it would be a different story, but I am kind of enjoying having a free wrist and just one device that serves as tracker and watch.

It makes me understand that the world is changing in how watches are viewed and I would go as far as to say that watches can feel dated at times, which in many ways is what mechanical timepieces are supposed to feel like. It makes me understand that the future may, or likely will be, smart watches and not just watches and this is a difficult realisation.

I still want to wear my father’s Bulova, but I won’t wear two ‘watches’ because that just looks silly. I can get away with a Fitbit Charge 2 on my right wrist and the Bulova on my left wrist, and lets face it the Charge 2 does almost everything the Versa does but in a different way. The problem is that I am still wearing the Versa alone on my left wrist and the Bulova is still lying on the shelf. That’s how good the Versa is.

The new Helvetica Smartwatch

Eternally more interested in hyperbole and emotion than actual facts, Mondaine didn’t know by what margin, but the new watch is 40mm, compared to the 44mm of the original. In watches 4mm makes a huge difference, and this new model is noticeably less bulky. It’s also slimmer and lighter, making it much more comfortable to wear, and dare we say it, unisex… More at Wareable.

A very unusual approach to displaying notifications. Look closely at the dial and see the letters mixed in with the hour marking numbers. I do like the way Mondaine is progressing in this area with a conservative approach and it is the brand who has got closest to making a smartwatch feel like something you could treasure for a long time.

WAKMANN YACHTING

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Wakmann did numerous versions of this watch. With that said, this particular version, the blue dial with the Wakmann signature, is quite a rare watch. There’s also a very similar black version which is common and would often pop up on several marketplace. These were probably mass produced at some point around the late 60’s or early 70’s just as the quartz crisis is starting to set in. It has a chrome case which is indicative of a low cost alternative and might have even be one of the models that are affordable at the time. Affordable is a double edge sword in a way since not very many of them would survive in the future because of the materials used. That said, it is a perfect incredient for collectors because of its scarcity… More at Rue Watches.

Very difficult to find, but possibly the most perfect watch I have ever seen.

A Concise History Of The Smartwatch

The watches that had caught my attention were a Seiko wrist computer called MessageWatch and a prototype of a phone watch developed by Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. in Japan that would ultimately be called Wristomo. “The ‘new quartz’ trend hasn’t gotten a lot of attention,” I wrote. “But the hunch here is that the new technology is an important, if under-reported story. My guess is that it marks the beginning of the fourth major market shift of the quartz era. Each of the first three was a major revolution which dramatically altered the watch market. Whether the new-technology trend develops into the fourth revolution is impossible to know, but it could.” More at Hodinkee.

Not the newest of articles, but some fascinating devices included.