Monday, 31 December 2012

Accurist Greenwich Meridian 2000 Countdown Watch

As it is the end of 2012, I felt it was time for a watch with a countdown timer.

In fact, with this watch, it has the right type of timer, as it's designed to count down the time to a given date!

The watch is by Accurist, and is the Greenwich Meridian year 2000 countdown watch.

Accurist is a British watch company that started in London in the 1940s. They have been the official sponsors of the Speaking Clock, and official timekeepers for various events. In 1997, they built a satellite controlled clock in Greenwich on the meridian line, accurate to a ten millionth of a second to count-down to the new millennium.

This watch was released sometime around that time, and has a face which resembles the official countdown clock. The LCD display has 3 lines (date and day, time, and seconds (along with the Accurist name)). Down the middle is a line representing where the meridian line passes though the countdown clock.

One of the main modes is the countdown timer. To operate this, you set the date and year you want to count to, and the timer display then shows the time until that day starts (days on top, hours and minutes on the middle, and seconds on the bottom). There is also a regular alarm mode as well, and the watch has an electro-luminescent backlight.

The back of the watch has 'Greenwich Meridian 2000' written in the middle, and the 000 is written as 0°0'0" to represent the prime meridian at 0 longitude (0 degrees, 0 minutes, and 0 seconds). Around the outside on the back it states that this is the 'Official Timepiece Old Royal Observatory Greenwich', and that it is water resistant.

The strap continues the meridian line from the watch face over a map where the line passes through, showing the equator, the tropic lines, and from 80° North to 50° South.

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Takeo Kikuchi TK-3040 Watch produced by Fortune

I'm wearing another watch today from a brand that I'd never heard of until I bought it.
The brand is Takeo Kikuchi. It turns out that he is a famous Japanese industrial and fashion designer who was born in 1939. He ran a self-named brand until 2004 when he passed it over Taishi Nobukuni. Their flagship store is based in Shibuya in Tokyo.
The watch is a reasonably industrial looking 3-hand dial with a small face on a rectangular head. There is also a small date marker at the 6 o'clock position. At the 12 position there is shield logo, and 'Japan made' written either side of the date marker.
The back of the watch has Kikuchi's name and says that the watch was produced by Fortune. There are several links to a Fortune watch company, but none of based in Japan (-the closest is one based in Hong Kong).
There is also  a model number TK-3040 on the back, and a four-digit serial number (which may imply that there are less than 9999 copies produced). Kikuchi's name is also on the strap clasp. The watch is all stainless steel, and water resistant to 5 bar.
The box is monogrammed with the initials TK, and in the box there is a cleaning cloth, also with the TK initials.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

EleeNo Cyber Dual Touch

I'm off to an event for NuMusic and NuArt to celebrate the end of the year, so like for the festival, I need a watch with lots of flashing lights.

The watch I chose is another by EleeNo. The EleeNo watch range is one of the groups under the SeaHope brand. More on the brand can be found in my SeaHope overview page.

With the EleeNo designs, there are several different ranges, and the hi-tech digital watches usually come under the EleeNo Cyber range.

The EleeNo Cyber Dual Touch is one of the newer and most advanced of their watches. There are no buttons apart from the inset adjust button on the side. It shows the time on 66 LEDs with 12 for hours on the top row. Minutes add up in columns from the bottom right until you reach 5, and then starts again from the bottom of that column with a 5 minute LED also showing. As the hour progresses, the columns fill from right to left.

It works by touch screen, which lights where your fingers touch. Each watch has two colours (this is orange and green), and you choose which will display by either running your finger from bottom to top, or top to bottom.

Before the time shows, there is first one of six animations:
A dog
A running man
A countdown and explosion
The word 'SeaHope'
and the words 'EleeNo Cyber'

The back of the watch has the SeaHope logo, the EleeNo Cyber logo, DT dual touch, and the battery type (CR2032).

Friday, 28 December 2012

Hello Kitty Gashapon watch

Today's watch is a cheap and cheerful one. I got it while on a trip to Japan out of one of their Gashapon (or Gachapon) machines for about 200 yen.

Gachapon is the Bandai brand name for a capsule toy machine. These machines are especially popular in Japan, and you can find places with hundreds of different types lined up along the walls. The machines are filled with plastic capsules, each containing a toy, model, watch etc. Inserting your money and turning the lever drops a random ball (so you can never plan what you'll get). Gachapon refers to the turning of the crank (gacha), and the noise of the toy falling (pon), and is also used to describe the prize.

This particular gachapon was for Hello Kitty LCD watches, and I won a blue version. The watch is a basic LCD watch with two buttons, and a square display set into a solid plastic bracelet. The Hello Kitty design is transfer applied to the bracelet, and was made in 2006. It is definitely designed for children, as the bracelet is small and stiff, so I can't get it on.

It appears to be intended to be disposable, as the unit is well sealed (there is no opening on the back). It may be possible to remove the module from the front but there is no obvious latch, so I thought I may damage the watch too much if I tried before blogging it.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

326 Pink Haired Drawing Angel watch by Megahouse

Today I've chosen another watch by the hard-to-research 326.

326 is 34 year old (as of 2012) Mitsuru Nakamura. He is a Japanese artist and singer who has also worked on computer games (with Gitaroo Man on the PS2 being the most well known).

He also released a game on the Wonderswan handheld games console in 1999 with the MegaHouse Corporation. The watch label has the MegaHouse logo, and is dated 1999, so I guess this is linked with the game. This is the second of four watch designs from 326 that I have, and is quite a different style, to the first one I blogged.

This watch is a strap style watch with a small 2-hand dial. The watch head is built into the narrow strap, and looks similar to some of the Cabane de Zucca watches. On the back it says is has a Y121 movement, which may suggest that it is a Seiko watch (as Seiko has produced small dial watches with modules numbered in the Yxxx format).

The watch face features a picture of a pink haired person in a red tracksuit drawing on a table. When you look closely, you can also see the person has a Halo and small angel wings. The strap has a patch sewn on with the colourful 326 logo.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Alessi Tic AL5011

I've been aware of the Alessi brand for a long time, but not for watches. The Alessi brand is most known for it's interior design products with an experimental (and often expensive) style. The company started its sense of style in 1935, and makes what it calls 'handicraft items made with the aid of machines'. They don't employ in-house designers, but work with freelance talents.

This watch was designed by Piero Lissoni who was an architecture graduate born in 1956. He started an industrial designer, architectural, and graphic design studio in 1986 and has worked for many Italian design houses. His most seen works include homes and hotels in Venice, Zurich, Istanbul, and Bangkok.

Alessi has produced many watches over the years, and this model is called the Tic. Lissoni designed 5 different watches for Alessi, all with the same shape case.

The watch design uses a rounded square (or maybe squared circle) face. It is actually a 4-hand dial which is rather unusual. It has the usual 3 hands but with a second hand that spans almost the whole diameter of the dial. The 4th hand is a 24-hr hand (the thin hand) which corresponds to the numbers around the face. There is also a small window at around 1:30 for the date.

The watch has a model number of AL5011, and was released in 2002. It is a solid stainless steel watch and is 30m water resistant.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Seiko Wired Solar V14J

It's the second of my smart watches for family parties today, but not quite so formal for today's choice.

The watch today is one of the watches in the Seiko Wired range of watches. The Wired range started in 2000 and seems to be designed to be classy while being high tech and functional.

This watch is a solar powered watch with a V14J module. It has a large solar panel which makes up the back of the watch face. It is a 3-hand dial with three small dials on the face. The small dials are set at the 3, 6, and 9 o'clock positions, and cover date, 24-hr, and day. The solar battery has a reasonably large capacity, and the watch can run for 6 months from a full charge.

It seems to be called the Wired Hybrid Solar Model II and was the second in the series that has the fusion of fashion and solar technology.

It's catalogue number is AGAD021, and it had an original rrp of 22,050 yen. The full model number is V14J-0BD0, and I think it came out in 2010.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Gallucci Skeleton Automatic with Date

It'll be smart watches for me for the next couple of days. It's time for the family parties to start for celebrating Christmas.

Today I decided on a large automatic watch by Gallucci. The Gallucci name is a watch and jewellery brand owned by R AND S INTERNATIONAL LIMITED and started in 2002. The name was chosen due to it's association with the celestial atlas (Theatrum Mundi el Temporis) by Giovanni Paulo Gallucci. The website then says "The buyer could admire the delightful Gallucci's products and could discover our new celestial objects and development".
R & S International Ltd is a Hong Kong manufacturer of LCD and analogue watches. It was started in 1987 and has the objective to make elegant modern watches with good quality and competitive prices.

This particular model is an automatic watch with a skeleton movement. It has a 3-hand dial with two small dials on the face. The small dial at 3 o'clock shows the date, while the one at 6 o'clock is a 24-hour dial. Date setting isn't done with the crown, but there is a small button below which advances the date by one with each press. The face design has large roman numerals around the edge, and the middle is cut out so you can see the movement.

The back of the watch has a glass panel so you can see the weight that spins to wind the automatic movement, along with the heavily cut-away and engraved mechanism. The movement is open enough that you can see all the way through is several places.

I've not found the exact model, suggesting that this model is not sold anymore. The closest looking watch currently on sale has a RS-M0159 movement which looks pretty much identical. I also don't know the model number, but it will be of the format WT2xxxxSK.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Revue Cam Watch M1

Apart from watch collecting, my other big hobby is photography. Occasionally, I've found watches that have built-in cameras, and almost universally they have been digital.

This watch is actually a wrist mounted film camera with a small watch on the same strap.

The watch is by the German company Foto-Quelle, and released under their Revue brand. The Foto Quelle released many film cameras under the Revue and Revueflex brands (but made by others, for example Zenit and Konica) from the late 50s, and by 1970 was the world's largest photographic retailer. This mixture of camera and watch came out sometime in the 1990s. It is described as "Die Kamera for aktive Schnappschüsse" which translates to "The Camera for active Snapshots".

The camera part is called a subminiature camera due to its tiny size. It takes the cartridge style Minox film, and is a basic camera with a single shutter speed setting.

The watch part is a basic digital LCD module in it's own housing. It has two buttons to operate the 4 digit display with time, date, and seconds options. Unfortunately, the camera collector I bought this off had left the battery in the watch so long it had leaked, destroying the module.

The instruction manual has 3 sets of numbers which could be model or catalogue numbers. These are BA-Z1-KB, 200.102 2 (the Bestell-Nr), and 330.014 5 (called Set).

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Bandai SD Dechonpa Moomins in Love

Another of the types of watch I've ended up collecting (after getting a 'critical mass' that made me want to get more...) are the Dechonpa watch range by Bandai.
The Dechonpa range had two types of watch that I've found, the SD range, and the Anime watch range (which I'm yet to blog). The SD range features many different TV and film characters in a Super Deformed version. The range was started in the 80s, and finished in 1994.

This particular model came out in 1990 and features characters from the Moomins.

The Moomins were the central characters created by Tove Jansson in a series of books and a comic strip which started in 1945. The stories follow the lives of the trolls and their community in Moominvalley. In 1990, an animated version was released by TV Tokyo (the second series after a 1970s British stop-motion series), and this watch corresponds to that series.

The watch features two of the Moomins, Moomin (on the right), and his girlfriend Snork Maiden (on the left). When the bottom button is pressed, the Moomins part, and another character, Little My, is revealed (looking angry at the two Moomins). The characters also have eyes that change from open to closed (and smiling) when the display is revealed.

The watch part is basic with time, date, and seconds displays on the 4 digit LCD display. The buttons controlling the display and setting the time and date are on the back of the watch.

It's back has some text in Japanese,  'Copyright 1990 M B T T' , and 'Bandai 1990 Japan'.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Bradley 1977 Star Wars Darth Vader watch

Back to the mechanical watches today. And as the Earth wasn't destroyed today as some view the Mayans predicted, it means that the latest attempt by the Empire to use the Death Star has been thwarted, and the subject of today's watch will be disappointed.

The watch is one of my Star Wars watch collection, but this time it is one of the originals. It was made by Bradley, and released in 1977.

1977 was the release date of the first of George Lucas's movies: Episode IV A New Hope. This was the movie that started the whole Star Wars juggernaut and brought the exploits of Luke, Leia, Han, R2-D2, and C-3P0 to the world's consciousness.

Bradley watch company was a division of Elgin National Industries. It was created in the mid 1970s and produced many collectable watches including Star Wars and Disney. The Bradley company was based in the USA (same as Elgin), but used Swiss mechanical movements and quartz modules in the 1980s.

The watch is a 3-hand dial with a Swiss mechanical movement. It has a number -023- on the back. It seems that two different sizes were made in some of the Bradley Star Wars watches, and if that is true of this model, this will be the junior size version (as it's quite small).

The face has a large picture of Darth Vader painted on with his light saber drawn, along with the Star Wars and Darth Vader names. At the very top of the dial, in extremely small writing, is the Bradley name. At the bottom is the copyright (1977 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp), and "Swiss made".

Thursday, 20 December 2012

TOMY Yes! Gear Yak Time- What time is recess?

My watch today was definitely a mystery when it arrived. One button seemed only to beep, and the other made strange crackling noises. But after finding one site in Japanese, I've finally cracked it :-).

The watch is by TOMY (now Takara Tomy since 2006) who is a Japanese toy, merchandise, and entertainment company founded in 1924 (as Tomiyama but changed to Tomy in 1963).

The secret is that this is a voice recording watch. The top left (largest) button is the one that beeps, and if held, it records for up to 6 seconds. The next button down (which was crackling) is the playback button. It turns out that I had been recording a fraction of a seconds when pressing the record button, so the playback was a short crackle.

The small button at the bottom is the mode button. The modes available are time, alarm, date, and seconds.

The design is also unusual with the LCD display at 30 degrees from horizontal. The watch head can also be removed, and hooked over a button with the orange rubber attachment. The orange hook normally fastens to a green knob on the strap, and as there is one on each strap piece, you can have the strap with the buckle at top or bottom (whichever is your preference). The strap has a jungle-like print including a tiger, butterfly, and frog, and has the word (YaK) in raised letters (- I guess it's yak as in the slang for talking a lot).

It is called the Yak Time watch and is part of the Yes! gear product line, and has the quote "What time is recess?" on the back. It has a copyright from 1996 by Yes! The watch seems to be part of the Yak Bak range from a company called Yes! Entertainment Corporation who are based in California. They started the Yak Bak in 1994 as a simple device with two buttons and a speaker to record and playback messages. Products for Tomy made up 11% of Yes!'s sales in 1996 which seems to be how this model came about. Yes! also released the watch under their own name with Yak time written where the Tomy name is (and Say and Play on the buttons).

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Swatch Light Tree - GZ152

It's my last day at work before Christmas today, so I thought I'd treat my colleagues to my most extravagant Christmas watch today.

Watch year, Swiss watch maner Swatch releases a special Christmas edition, and today's watch is their 1996 release.

It is part of their originals range of POP Swatches with a standard 3 hand dial. The face of the dial is see-through showing the movement. Around the dial is a large clear plastic watch head with two additional batteries visible through. These batteries power the unusual feature of the watch (and the part that gives it it's name) - the LED stalks.

Poking out of the front of the watch around the dial are 5 bendy rubber stalks with twisted coloured wires through. At the end of each stalk is an LED, 2 green, 2 red, and 1 yellow. When the red button on the side of the watch is pressed, the LEDs begin to flash in an apparently random manner for around 20 seconds.

With the flashing, and the fact that the stalks poke out up to around 7cm, this watch is definitely noticeable (-I have had many strange looks from passers by when they've noticed the watch). The size of the stalks does make it a little difficult to get your coat over as well!

It was released as a limited edition run of 20,000 when it came out in 1996. It also came in an interesting case which when closed is a giant (maybe 15cm across) red Christmas tree bauble!

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Casio Casiotron R-15

As I work my way through blogging my collection, I've learnt more about the type of watches I seem to gravitate towards (as I've never grouped them together in one place before).

One sub-collection that is high on my list is the retro LCD watch collection. And today is another example.

Today's watch is a Casio from the Casiotron range with a model number of R-15. It came out around 1976, so is early in the lifetime of LCD watches.

It uses a 15 module powered by an AG5 battery, and only has time and date display. It uses a 3 1/2 digit display, with the first digit only showing a 1. Along the top of the display are 7 boxes which contain the numbers 0-5 and a star. The 0-5 represent the seconds in groups of 10, and fill up as the minute progresses. The number box appears and is static for the first 5 seconds, and then flashes (once per second) for the second 5 seconds before the next box appears. The box with the star indicates pm.

There is a mode button on the lower right which shows the date when held-in. The date is shown in month:date format, and the boxes along the top show corresponding to the day of the week (which is painted on the face above each of the boxes). The setting button is inset and directly opposite the mode button.

At the bottom of the face is a small code 10A817. I'm not sure what it means, but I saw another R-15 online but in blue with the same number except for the first digit (which looked to be a 2), and a white one with 01 as the first 2 digits.