Home Continuing Series Historical Horology Historical Horology: A Watch-Based Camera

Historical Horology: A Watch-Based Camera




Ok, strictly speaking, this isn’t truly historic – but it’s a combination of elements that due pull from historical elements, and it’s just a really cool bit of horology, to boot.

From all the reading I’ve done, most watch makers started out as tinkerers of some sort, and eventually their focus turned to watches; this seems to hold just as true today as it did at the earliest stages of watch making.  It’s in that vein that I’m including Kwanghun Hyun in the HH series of posts.


At first blush, a hand-built pinhole camera (Wikipedia article for more info on those) doesn’t make much sense for this blog.  Yes, pinhole cameras are an interesting oddity – relying on an extremely small opening to capture a detailed image.  The drawback, of course, is that not much light gets in that small hole, so you have a dim image.  What you need to do is keep the shutter open for a specified amount of time.

And that’s where the horology comes in to play.  In the first iteration of the camera, Mr. Hyun used a modified Unitas 6497, mounted up front, to handle the timing duties.  That, in and of itself, is interesting.  Where things take a really cool turn is with the second iteration of the camera.


He took apart an existing movement, made his own plates and bridges, and reassembled it (resembling something of the layout we see in this video, no?).  This allows for a more conventional look to the camera – and for the watch folks, a really intriguing display up on top.


While I doubt I’ll be getting a film camera anytime soon, you must admit this is a pretty cool creation.  For more information, please head over to  studio 3Hands, or check out this article over on Worn & Wound.

All images courtesy of Kwanghun Hyun via W&W

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    • Thanks! For those reading the comments, you’ll want to check that site out, as it shows some of his other handiwork, including two watches.

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