Posted on 09 March 2014 by Patrick Kansa
Today’s Historical Horology post is a bit of a diversion. To be sure, our beloved watches have their roots in the clocks of yore, and you’d even find similarities (albeit with larger pieces) if you took apart a mechanical clock and compared it to a mechanical watch. What we don’t have, however, is this. Continue Reading
Posted on 02 March 2014 by Patrick Kansa
When it comes to the history of watchmaking, one of the most popular (and complex) complications that have come to be seems to be, time and again, the chronograph. While I myself seem to be personally moving away from an interest in chronographs, I certainly understand the appeal, and still believe it to be an amazing feat of engineering with the accuracy we’re able to get to these days. If you’d like to learn some more about the chronograph, and things like how it came to be, and how to use one, read right on.
First things first – this is a Historical Horology post, so we need to tackle some history. While a man by the name of Louis Monet created what we would consider to be the first chronograph watch (in 1815), it was actually Nicolas Mathieu Rieussec who created the first market-ready version that was commisioned in 1821 by King Louis XVIII. Why did the king want such an ability? To time horse races, a favorite pastime of his.
Nicolas Mathieu Rieussec
The watch proved popular, although it had an interesting quirk (by today’s usage of chronographs) – it was constantly running. It wasn’t until 1844 where we had a reset capability added by Adolphe Nicole. After that, while the watchmaking industry underwent massive changes, the chronograph itself didn’t see any massive innovation, until we come to 1958, when a rotating bezel tachmeter was added by Tag Heuer.
Of course, since that time, there’s been all manner of scales added to the chronograph, allowing for a variety of different measurements that are able to be captured. If you’d like to dig more into the history (as well as have a primer on how to read some of those scales), check out this article from Gentleman’s Gazette.
Posted on 23 February 2014 by Patrick Kansa
When it comes to political figures, it’s always interesting to figure out what exactly they’re wearing in a particular photograph. As of late, there have been some brands that are officially endorsed as being “the” president’s watch (as evidenced by this Jorg Gray). But what if you wanted to go back further, and see what, say, George Washington tracked the time with? Continue Reading
Posted on 16 February 2014 by Patrick Kansa
At some point in your watch collecting life, you’ll very likely feel the siren call of a vintage watch. Perhaps it’s something you’re looking for to have a “birth year” watch, or you want something that happens to have been made locally to where you live. Aside from these (and many other) good reasons, there’s still a larger question – why even bother with these earlier watches? Why not just go for something that’s modern and presumably more reliable and accurate? Continue Reading
Posted on 09 February 2014 by Patrick Kansa
Most likely, you’re at least passingly familiar with the fact that Rolex made a practice of selling watches to British officers held in German POW camps during World War II, with payment not expected until after the war’s conclusion. The Brits were singled out as it was generally believed that their word was bond, and Hans Wilsdorf had a soft spot for England, as he had originally started up his business there. Continue Reading
Posted on 02 February 2014 by Patrick Kansa
In the current day and age, we no longer think of the places where watches are made as being factories. Instead, we tend to call them by the name the Swiss industry uses – manufacture. Just the simple change to this non-English (yet still recognizable) word calls to mind a much different image than you likely have when you think of a plant or factory (especially for those of us who have worked in such facilities). Continue Reading
Posted on 26 January 2014 by Patrick Kansa
When it comes to the Historical Horology features, I’ve often taken a look at things that stretch back a hundred years or more. Today, however, we’re going to to focus on something that has a bit shorter of a timeline – that being the brand Chronoswiss, which started up in 1983.
Posted on 19 January 2014 by Patrick Kansa
In today’s installment of Historical Horology, I just want to give a quick preface, and then set you loose on the main article that I ran across. In this day and age, many watch brands like to emphasize their lineage, especially if the brand has stayed in the hands of one family. But what if you you found out that you were a descendant of a founder of a watch company you admire – and that it’s still in family hands? Continue Reading