Weekly Love Affair.2

This just in from MeisterSinger — The Peter Henlein edition.

I love this watch, and only 15 are being made (image courtesy of monochrome-watches.com).

meistersinger-peter-henlien-edition

MeisterSinger is known for watches with only one hand that tells the time in five-minute increments around the dial (no seconds hand either).

Here is an example of one of my favorites of the brand:

meistersinger-day-date

In the Peter Henlein edition, the brand has added the effect of two hands in a creative and ingenious way — the inner ring of Roman numerals and a second accent on the meistersinger-peter-henlein-up-closecentral hand that points to the inner ring in order to indicate the hour.

And in order to attain COSC certification as an excellent time keeper, a seconds hand was also added, which I think is great because it provides the only continuous movement one can enjoy in a non-skeletonized watch.

I did not see information regarding the thickness of the watch (that is, how high off the wrist it wears), and I hope it is no more than 12 mm and preferably 10 mm. In any event, it immediately became the week’s love affair.

 

Weekly Love Affair.1

I saw this watch online today and it became This Week’s Love Affair for me (photos courtesy of http://www.watchesbysjx.com).

glashutte-skeletonized-2

 

It is the Glashütte Original Senator Moon Phase Skeletonized Edition and it hits hard on many of my favorite things:

  • Blue steel hands
  • Roman numerals
  • “Railroad track” for minutes
  • Skeletonized movement
  • Not just time only (moon phase is nice)
  • Mix of silver and gold

It also avoids a problem I have with other references by Glashutte, namely the more typical over-weighting (in my opinion) of the Glashutte logo. Here is another Glashutte dial so that you can see what I mean:

glashutte-big-logo

This logo in particular is like having a pebble in my shoe, and I don’t want to experience that every time I look at the watch face. The smallest design infraction (as measured by my own taste) is enough to cross a watch off of the wish list.

This makes me admire the leading watch brands in that they manage to please enough people with their designs to stay in business (though the digitization of time-keeping at the moment is certainly depressing the industry).

As is usual for high-end watches like this, the finishing on this particular movement is a delicious sight to behold:

glashutte-skeletonized-1

They don’t call fine watches “wearable art” for no reason.

I like skeletonize watches because it allows the wearer to see the movement while wearing the watch, and in this case the artwork is distinctive on both sides.

And so another watch makes it to the wish list…

glashutte-skeletonized-3

The Longitude Story

My father-in-law gave me a book to read called “Longitude, the True Story of a Lone Genius Who Soled the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time” (Dava Sobel), after my passion for watches rubbed off on him a bit.

longitude-by-dava-sobelIt’s one of the great stories of scientific discovery and human rivalry as various men sought to win the “longitude” prize (GBP 20,000) that had been set up in the year 1714 by the British Parliament for the purpose of giving sailors a tool for determining their positions at sea. The so-called “longitude problem” had caused the death of many ships and crews to the point of affecting the wealth and power of nations, and was, as a result, considered the “thorniest scientific dilemma of the day”.

The prize was won by John Harrison, who solved the problem by inventing a reliable clock (known as “H4”, his fourth solution) that could keep time even while on ship that was rocking about in stormy seas (clocks at the time required a stable foundation for an uninterrupted and smooth pendulum motion).

h4

The intensity of the story comes in part from the way Harrison is repeatedly passed over by the award committee even though his invention is working while other submissions are failing — the Group Think at the time centered around the use of the night sky and mathematics as the “only” solution. The earnest man challenging orthodoxy, suffering, and yet winning in the end (and becoming a legend) is a powerful motif indeed.

Regarding the clock that made him legend, I find it so poetic that Harrison saw fit to make an aesthetically pleasing movement and not just a mechanical device that would perform at sea.

h4-movement

H4 is is so much more than a clock. It is a work of art that saved countless lives.

Atmos Love

The Atmos clock by Jaeger Le Coultre is a true focused pleasure, not only in its design and aesthetics but also in its mechanical movement and use of air to power it (minute changes in temperature cause its innards to expand and contract, enough to run the clock for several decades before enough dust builds up to slow it down…essentially a perpetual motion machine, or as close as one can come to such a thing).

I am lucky enough to own this one:

atmos-classique

It sits nears my desk, silently running without any intervention by me (no winding, no nothing). The wheel on the bottom rotates in one direction for about 30 seconds, then atmos-side-viewslows down and reverses, spinning the other way. The minute hand moves twice in each minute, using almost no power to do so.

The roman numerals in blue are pure joy, and I have found that I prefer watch dials that utilize roman numerals, such as these beauties by three brands that happen to occupy the top spots on my wish list:

roman-numeral-heaven

The watch and clock world has an infinite variety of dials and I can always be put off by this or that feature (the shape of the hands alone, or the maker’s logo, etc). And then some are perfect (to my own taste) in every way, such as the clock face of my Atmos Classique.

Recently I was in an antique store and as always I found a few watch items here and there to pique my interest.

On that trip, I found this item tucked away on a lower shelf, well out of view (photo was floor level):

atmos-1952

 

You can see that this is an Atmos clock from 1952 — JLC has been making them for a long time. It was not running, which must have meant that the “stop” mechanism had been been activated from underneath the clock (to keep the spinning weight from moving and getting jostled in transit). I say this because the tag says it was serviced in 2008, and so it should be in good working order for at least a decade or two (or more).

My father has an Atmos on his mantle that dates from the 1980s and it looks very similar to this 1952 specimen. It ran for about 20 years and then stopped. I looked into the cost of servicing it (highly specialized, as one would imagine) and found it to be around $700.

I was moved to write about Atmos today because I saw a nice piece on http://www.hautetime.com, <link>, which featured an Atmos in Baccarat crystal.

Behold:

atmos-568

This Atmos comes with a price of $28,000 versus the more typical $6,750 of the basic models.

A quick view of the JLC Atmos site <link> revealed the following marvelous piece:

atmos-wood-inlay

This combination of mechanical design prowess, beauty, and quality is for me one of the highest expressions of an advanced human civilization.

It won’t last, but it is here now and I am grateful.