Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Nostromo watch, inspired by the ship in Alien

Nostromo watch, inspired by the ship in Alien
We don't travel down the modern-watch road too often here on The Automata / Automaton Blog, but this one recently featured on Engadget is just too mechanically cool to pass by. The watch, called "The Nostromo", is inspired by its namesake -- the ship in the movie Alien. The exposed gears -- and everything else -- are stunning.

Here's Engadget's recent post on the Nostromo Watch.

[ Thanks Tom! ]


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Sunday, December 06, 2009

Large-scale all wood "pocket" watch

Back in March of 2007, I posted about a real wooden pocket watch. The one shown here is also made of wood and also a pocket watch. The big difference is that this one isn't at pocket watch scale. It's actually 10-1/2" in diameter and 3" thick. Even so, this is a stunning demonstration of artistry and craftsmanship.

Some details on the watch:

The escape is a double-roller Swiss Lever with a half-second balance wheel. ...The escape has banking pins and a safety roller, so - like a watch - it runs in any position. You can even shake it or bang it around, and she keeps on ticking!

The balance wheel is in Teflon bushings and the escape wheel is on ball bearings. The pins on the balance wheel have small screws inside to adjust the poise. The cherry pallets are adjustable. The anchor for the "hairspring" (actually a very small clock spring) moves with an adjustment lever to regulate the watch. It keeps perfect time.

Here is a link to see more images of the wooden watch.


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Friday, July 17, 2009

Stuhrling men's automatic skeleton watch

I know: there are probably dozens of excellent blogs that talk about nothing but watches. I don't know much about them, really, but I couldn't resist sharing all the shiny miniature mechanical goodness embodied in this one made by Stuhrling.

From the watch description
A skeletonized design displays the mechanical movement, and a series of gold-tone alternating Arabic numerals and indexes bring at-a-glance precision. A deep black crocodile leather band comes equipped with a sturdy buckle-clasp closure. Other details include 41.5-millimeter case and a gold-tone stationary, stainless steel bezel. Characterized by its distinct beauty, this exquisite timepiece sets itself apart. Powered by automatic-self-winding movement, this watch is water resistant up to 165 feet.

Here's a link for more details on this automatic skeleton watch
with an extensive write up of Swiss watchmaker, Stuhrling.


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Monday, April 20, 2009

Gorgeous automaton chronograph pocket watch

Take a look the video showing all the functions of this magnificent pocket watch. Brass case, skeleton back, and animated bell-ringing figures. I am in love.

Details of this Pocket Watch
Movement: Swiss made 1/4 repeater and chronograph movement
Case Material: Brass case
Dial: Brass & Enamel
Size: 58mm round excluding the crown.
Condition: Overall in vintage condition and time keeping time, repeating function working correct.

One of many detailed photographs, this one showing the mechanism in back...
Gorgeous automaton chronograph pocket watch
Here is the full eBay listing with a number of outstanding detail photographs of Brass cased automaton chronograph pocket watch


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Monday, March 09, 2009

John Harrison, his clocks & longitude problem

Here is a 10 minute video segment about one of my heroes -- John Harrison. Harrison was the creator of the marine chronometer which gave sailors the first reliable way to determine their longitude while at sea. People didn't trust watches and clocks as we do now and many scientists of the day sought an astronomical solution to the problem. While possible, this was extremely impractical approach to use on board a tossing ship at sea in all kinds of weather.

Harrison made a total of four marine chronometers (H1, H2, H3 and H4), each more sophisticated that the one before. Prejudice and politics kept him from receiving a large prize for solving this problem. It wasn't until he was an old man and had gotten the attention of the British king that he was officially recognized for his contributions to science, horology, and navigation.

The full story can be found in Dava Sobel's book Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time.


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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Pocket watch automaton with flag waving man

Pocket watch automaton with flag waving manThis colorful mechanical pocket watch features a street-level view of the Empire State Building. A man at the base of the building holds an American flag and waves it with the rhythm of the watch. The listing doesn't say much about how old the watch is or its maker, though we do know that it is in working order.

The backplate opens to reveal the mechanical interior of the timepiece.

Here is the eBay listing with more photographs of the Pocket watch automaton with flag waving man


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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Enchanting World of Automata, Paul Spooner

Here's a Paul Spooner piece that at first glance seems to depict the most innocent of automata themes. Indeed, simple ballerinas and musicians have long been the subjects of automata.

However, automata also have a long history of more adult themes -- and sometimes in conjunction with the more respectable subjects. For example, there are many pocket watch automata that show a simple, tasteful scene on the watch face. A door on the back of the pocket watch, though, may reveal a more graphic, shall we say..."amorous"...tableaux.

Spooner tips his hat to both of these themes in the piece shown here (NSFW). With tongue firmly in cheek, he has titled it: The Enchanting World of Automata. Paul Spooner's wit is second to none in the world of contemporary automata.

See the full scope of Paul Spooner's automata at Fourteen Balls Toy Company or look into buying a piece at the Cabaret Mechanical Theatre online shop.


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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Reuge Musical Alarm Pocket Watch with Automata

Reuge Musical Alarm Pocket Watch with Automata
Take a look at this beautiful pocket watch by famed music box maker, Reuge.

This entirely mechanical pocket watch features the an alarm that uses an internal music box to play "Oh what a beautiful morning". The face of the watch also features three moving automata.

The man on the horse moves his arm up and down, the horse lowers its head to drink the water and the lady operates the pump. In a very nice bit of detail, the water itself can be seen flowing from the pump into the basin.

The watch comes with its original box and key -- a Breguet ratchet style and is used to wind up the music box. There is also a button on the back that will start and stop the music and automata.

Here is the complete eBay listing with many more nice photographs of the musical alarm pocket watch with automata by Reuge


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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Pocket Watch Contains a Functioning Gun Inside

Pocket Watch Contains a Functioning Gun Inside
In case you missed this over at BoingBoing.net blog today, follow the link below to find about more.

Here's the post about the Antique railroad pocket watch with hidden gun.

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Friday, May 16, 2008

Intriguing 19th Century Automaton Pocket Watch

19th Century Quarter Hour Automaton Pocket WatchWith an estimated value between $4,000.00 - $6,000.00 USD, this tasteful pocket watch is described as a mid 19th Century quarter-hour automaton repeater pocket watch with male and female bell ringer figures. The listing says that the watch is probably Swiss-made and that it comes with the attached winding key.

If it is Swiss, I am a little confused by the Chinese or Japanese characters on the back side of the key (see second image on eBay). Intriguing.

The watch is being sold on eBay on May 20th, 2008. Here is the listing for the 19th Century Quarter Hour Automaton Pocket Watch.

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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Automaton Pocket Watch with Animated Figures

Here is a beautiful automaton pocket watch (of unknown make) on eBay:
automaton pocket watch
Here is photo of the watch's skeletonized back. I like the back even better than the front.
pocket watch automaton back
From the eBay Listing:
"Quarter hour repeating, automaton pocket watch in the large 17 size! The early 19th century watch, which has a wonderfully skeletonized back and partially skeletonized (open escapement) dial is in a hallmarked, silver case. We have been unable to identify its tiny hallmark. The dial ring is of white porcelain. When activated this amazingly detailed automaton movement strikes 3 different mock bells by three different automated figures on its gorgeously crafted and finely detailed dial."

For you aspiring bidders out there: I'll warn you now...it's not cheap. There are many additional photos on the eBay listing that are worth seeing. I would love to know the maker of this timepiece.

Here is the eBay listing for Automaton Pocket Watch with Figures & Skeletonized Back

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Friday, March 09, 2007

Amazing Pocket Watch with Wooden Movement

I have seen many nice all-wood clocks, but this was beyond my imagination...a pocket watch made entirely of wood.

I am not talking about the face or the case, but nearly all of it -- gears, escapement, ratchets.

They were apparently made in Russia around 1900. I wish I knew more about it, especially the size, type of wood, how many were made, and if it still works.

I learned of this amazing bit of artistry via a long series of links. In order of discovery they were:

BoingBoing.net to...

The Watchismo Times blog to...

Odd Watches

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