Thursday, 21 June 2012

Ernest Borel 1950s Cocktail watch

Another watch from our archive - this watch dates from the late 50s, early 60s and features an mesmerising psychedelic display driven by the seconds hand. A disc on the seconds hand rotates above a static pattern to make a dizzying optical effect.

One of the things that I like about this watch is that it's extremely of its time - somehow it captures the playfulness and invention of the 50s. As a watch it's also a fantastic and quite unusual design with transparent case back and a dial that sort of merges into the case.

I brought this watch several years ago (quite shortly after we released our first series of watches). I was interested to see how the disc-type hands had been used by other watchmakers in the past and how you can make optical effects by printing on the discs. Our watches use a quartz (battery) mechanism and feature a momentary seconds action, rather than the smooth sweep that is characteristic of a mechanical watch. This means that the optical effects we can trigger (for example on The Decider) are more on-off, rather than the smooth change you see on this watch. The design of Love knows not was certainly influenced by this watch - the idea of an image (or text) gradually coming into phase and then fading out is the same.

One final thing that I like about this watch is the way that the timekeeping is a secondary function - the red markers for hours / minutes are definitely subservient to the overall design / optical effect.

You can find a variety of Borel watches for sale here

More info about Borel watches

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