Thread: NAWCC - Gallet Guest Curator-wristwatches. 'blog'

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Thread: NAWCC - Gallet Guest Curator-wristwatches. 'blog'

#1 Post by GLADIATOR » Wed Sep 04, 2013 12:01 pm

Dear all. I thought I would start my blog on the task set of me to set - up a permanent wristwatch display. I will try to update regularly with progress. Feedback, question or indeed comments greatly appreciated.

Well after a 25 hour journey starting Alicante Spain via Boston to New York, I arrived Friday at the National Watch & Clock Museum. On Saturday I decided to do some research in the Museum’s magnificent library. For anyone interested in horology, this is the place to look. You don't necessarily have to visit the Museum and Library to use its magnificent archives, much is online with more being added all the time. You can call in and ask the Library staff (Sarah and Nancy) to look for any info you require. NAWCC members receive this service free and for non-members there is just a small charge which is used to buy books, etc.

This time, I wanted to look/study adverts on wristwatches for the exhibition/display I am tasked in setting up. I did check these out last year but recently Nancy Dyer, Library Archivist, has been purchasing and donating many more. I was both amazed and very happy to find two amazing adverts, one from 1908 on a watch worn by Peary on his expedition to the Pole on July 17th 1908. You will be blown away by this two page advert that I will blog separately. The second 'amazing' find was an Elgin advert from 1913 with Louis Disbrow (1876–1939). Disbrow was an American racecar driver, born on September 23, 1876 in Chicago. Disbrow raced in the first four Indianapolis 500, with a best finish of 8th in 1913. The advert (attached) shows him in his racing car wearing his Elgin wristwatch on his RIGHT ARM! The advert states "The Watch for Live Active Men!" Remember that Elgin were at the forefront of trying to convince men to wear wristwatches. 1913 is the earliest American wristwatch advert I have ever seen!

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Monday being the Labor Day Holiday, I officially started my position and task on Tuesday 3rd September. First order of the day was signing the Volunteer Agreement - then I could officially start. I logged into the museum's cataloging database (Past Perfect), searched and listed all wristwatches (a total of 1372 objects) that I had photographed and described last year. Here it is printed on 175 double sided pages. I have already started to mark it up with the most possible candidates for the display! This will take up my first few days, studying and selecting possible candidate wristwatches. Not all will make it into the display - fine tuning will take more time and input from Museum Director Noel Poirier and Head Curator Carter Harris. In addition to the pieces I remembered as candidates, I was mighty pleased to have already found some other great pieces that had escaped my memory.

We have an excellent large area for the display with three good walls for graphics (see attached)

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So the 'task' is started!

Adam R Harris
Gallet Guest Curator - wristwatches
Acknowledgements
Wikipedia - Disbrow facts
NAWCC - All pictures are the property of NAWCC and cannot be used without permission
"We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done."
NAWCC seeks to encourage and stimulate interest in the art and science of timekeeping. http://www.nawcc.org
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Re: Thread: NAWCC - Gallet Guest Curator-wristwatches. 'blog

#2 Post by GLADIATOR » Tue Sep 10, 2013 4:22 am

Thought you may like an update to History of the Wristwatch - At arms Length. Update #2
As far as is known, humans first began to measure time between the 10th and 8th century before the birth of Christ. The now 24 hours split themselves into three natural divisions; from dawn till noon (the highest point of the sun), from noon till dusk and the hours of darkness. So our clock of those days, some 2020 years ago, used the sun as its time measurement; in fact a sundial. This dial, the earliest of which we have evidence is Egyptian, now in the Berlin museum, dates to approximately the 9th century B.C. If we accept that the pocket watch reached the ‘mass market’ in 1840, we see that it took mechanical timepieces as we accept today some 1,800 years to develop.

My goal is to clearly present ‘The History of the Wristwatch’ from its inception in 1900 to present time 2013. I want to depict that although it took some 1,800 years to develop from a sundial to the mass produced and accepted pocket watch, it only took some (albeit difficult periods) 90 years for the wristwatch to overtake the pocket watch and become the accepted timepiece by 1930.

My idea is to show a small sundial, then 1800 years to a pocket watch, then 90 years to the acceptance of the wristwatch (a Rolex Oyster).

Periods Covered by the exhibit will include:

1900 – Beginning of the Wristwatch
Starting with the 1899-1902 Boer War we see officers wearing “wristlets”, leather bands that held pocket watches. We also have earlier evidence that the future President Theodore Roosevelt, who in 1898 fought in Cuba against Spain, also wore these wristlets. Yet after that military campaign, while Roosevelt was campaigning to be the 25th President, he is quoted as saying “a wristwatch is for a cowboy, hunter or soldier. But NOT for a politician or President.”

1910-1920 – “Trench Watches” or WWI
Here I will show examples of early wristwatches with wire lugs, enamel dial, shrapnel guards, center sweep seconds, etc. I will support this graphically with ephemera of USA WWI soldiers (so called “Doughboys”) – I have a number of great photographs and newspaper articles to include in the exhibit.

Also from 1910-20 we have the “Hermetic” watches period.
Starting with Borgel Cases (1910), through the Gruen/Jean Finger cases 1918/21 to the famous and ‘final’ Rolex “Oyster.” The Museum has an outstanding Elgin 1916 Depollier cases WWI trench watch, in addition to a lovely Rolex with sealed case and shrapnel guard.
I need other hermetics based on Jean Finger Design or 2nd generation Borgel. I will support this graphically with ephemera like the 1919 Gruen advertisement showing the Jean Finger 'style' hermetic case - but unless I donate a piece the Museum does not have one.

1930 – Beginning of the Automatic.
Automatics, of course we start with a Harwood (I will probably use two to show both face and movement); the Museum also has a 1932 Frey Perpetual. More modern, I know we have a Jaeger-Le Coultre and Breitling. Main aim here will be to show early automatic, “bumper” movement, “rotary” movement, “micro” rotor – “bidynator.”

Also 1930s – Art Deco Period Roaring 20s and 30s
I want to show the fantastic 'formed' watches of the 1920s/1930s - Those fantastic Art Deco pieces (I remember a lovely Gallet ladies piece). There is also a fantastic Art Deco 'exploding numbers dial' I must use. The Museum has a number of great examples from Gruen as well.

1940s/50 - 'Multi-Complication' timepieces.
We have a number of pieces including Gallet, Benrus, Mido and Movado. The best piece I will use of the Museum’s is a Comor Index Mobile - Rattrapante! It’s fantastic! These will cover 40s/50s/60s and 70s

1980s – The Demise of the Swiss and the Americans and the Development of the Quartz.
Museum has examples from Hamilton, Elgin, Gruen and others, not sure (from memory) what Swiss manufacturers’ quartz they have – hopefully a Rolex Cellina. I will depict that the Swiss and the Americans competed in the analogue quartz arena. Actually quartz survived, where the Americans and Swiss got it wrong is they believed in ‘digital’ wristwatches – that failed! Quartz survived. In 2012 a total of 995 million wristwatches were produced; 78% quartz analog, 19% digital, and a fraction 3% mechanical.
And out of that 995 million pieces – Japan produced 590 million of them. So we must show Japanese timepieces like Seiko, Casio and Citizen – will Hamilton help? In 2012 the Swiss produced just under 7 million units or 0.70%, but in value was number one at $23 billion! As Mr. Hayek, Senior once said “It is easier to sell one watch at $1million, than sell 1 million pieces at a dollar.”

1990 to 2012 - Size Matters
Showing here modern (mainly quartz) pieces and the explosion in size compared to watches from 1910s and 1920s. We have some cool modern pieces from Hamilton, Citizen, Yes and others.

2013 – Being Donated by Swatch Group
SWATCH – System 51. First mechanical Automatic from SWATCH – 51 pcs. Price $150
Some Pictures:

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Please pass us your thoughts

Pictures are property of of NAWCC and may not be used without permission
"We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done."
NAWCC seeks to encourage and stimulate interest in the art and science of timekeeping. http://www.nawcc.org
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Re: Thread: NAWCC - Gallet Guest Curator-wristwatches. 'blog

#3 Post by Dave » Tue Sep 10, 2013 11:50 am

I was going to suggest the Hamilton Electric as the first battery powered watch...until I noticed the Pacer in your photos.
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Re: Thread: NAWCC - Gallet Guest Curator-wristwatches. 'blog

#4 Post by GLADIATOR » Tue Sep 10, 2013 12:06 pm

Dave wrote:I was going to suggest the Hamilton Electric as the first battery powered watch...until I noticed the Pacer in your photos.
I will be more Hamilton electrics.
They were already in a display, so will take them to-morrow
I complete first layout 1900 -- 1930

To-morrow is 40S
Thanks the input
regards
"We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done."
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Re: Thread: NAWCC - Gallet Guest Curator-wristwatches. 'blog

#5 Post by indyago » Tue Sep 10, 2013 12:53 pm

This is awesome Adam, I really envy your experience here!
Rob

"Tomorrow hopes we have learned something from yesterday." (John Wayne)

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Re: Thread: NAWCC - Gallet Guest Curator-wristwatches. 'blog

#6 Post by GLADIATOR » Wed Sep 11, 2013 4:17 am

indyago wrote:This is awesome Adam, I really envy your experience here!
Thanks Rob
Yes it is "awesome" and I envy myself too.
Thanks
adam
"We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done."
NAWCC seeks to encourage and stimulate interest in the art and science of timekeeping. http://www.nawcc.org
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Re: Thread: NAWCC - Gallet Guest Curator-wristwatches. 'blog

#7 Post by GLADIATOR » Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:29 am

sorry, lack of time in the forum, been busy preparing her - latest update
Step-by-step we move the exhibition forward. That said, not every step is forward. For me it’s a learning process and sometimes my pre-thought ideas just are not working out as I had anticipated, so again and again I revisit the display.

Tuesday, previous to last, I started to move timepieces to the gallery location. I carefully laid each timepiece out, many with original adverts or related ephemera. That took some two days just to position the pieces.

Although in my opinion it looked “good”, I felt something was not correct. Too cramped possibly? I could not see a good solution, so I kept re-visiting the layout, fine tuning it, but could still not see a solution. Museum Director Noel Poirier and I had a meeting at the display to review how it looked. After some fifteen to twenty minutes, I could understand where I was going wrong. That day, based on Noel’s (and others’ input) I reworked the display cases. Although these may not be the final pieces or even the final layout, I am much happier and feel “It may not be the beginning of the end, but it is the end of the beginning.”


The first display case starts at c. 1900 (wristlet/first ladies wristwatches) to WWI.
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Next we have a small case for hermetic or so called “purse” watches.
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We come to “The Roaring 20s” and 1930s ‘Formed Watches/Transitional Period’– My first ideas on graphical illustration can be seen her. These are VERY draft, and will be high definition “collage” style graphic ABOVE the date line.
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Next Cabinet – very important – “Birth of Automatic” – you can see here my graphic ideas in the raw, VERY raw!
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Here I am ‘trying to show difference between “bumper” and “rotor” automatic movements.
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Next case is 1940s & 1950s – Complications Arrive and “The Quartz Revolution”
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Displaying the “electric” watch that evolved prior to quartz (late 1950s versus quartz 1980s). Will use graphics to explain difference between quartz and electric.
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This may prove the hardest. I want to show the evolution of the wristwatch movement from mechanical to bumper, to rotor, to electric, to quartz, to kinetic. Difficult this one.
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Final display case is for modern pieces – size is everything – Hoping to emphasize Moon watch as well.
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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS:
NAWCC – all images are property of NAWCC and can not be used without permission.

Adam R Harris
Gallet- Guest Curator-Wristwatches
"We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done."
NAWCC seeks to encourage and stimulate interest in the art and science of timekeeping. http://www.nawcc.org
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Re: Thread: NAWCC - Gallet Guest Curator-wristwatches. 'blog

#8 Post by Nookster » Sat Sep 21, 2013 2:25 pm

I thought the first wrist watch was Patek in the late 1800's?

How about the first water proof watch for your display?
mark@vintagehamilton.com
VWF owner, moderator and Hamilton Enthusiast

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HELP - Hamilton Info/Adverts

#9 Post by GLADIATOR » Sat Sep 21, 2013 4:30 pm

Nookster wrote:I thought the first wrist watch was Patek in the late 1800's?

How about the first water proof watch for your display?
Hi Mark - thanks for reading and posting - appreciated.
No Breguet was first at 1810 with a wrist watch for Queen of Naples, next was Patek Philippe 1869 for countess Koscowicz of Hungary.

What did I say, please point me to it in case I made some error (very possible)
The watches above were 'one offs' made for 'Queens' my dates are for 'general mass use'

Hope that makes sense.

Can YOU help me.?
I urgently need another (different) to mine Hamilton Cross Country advert? (you can see mine in the pictures).
I need a high definition scan/copy to use in a collage, anyone help?
Also DESPERATELY want good pictures of or pictorial diagrams of
1) Quartz
2) Electric (Hamilton)
3) Tuning Fork (Bullova)

also any other 'great' Hamilton Electric adverts or Piping Rock

I have some (nothing on Piping Rock) but want to see if I can improve
would be REALLY helpful

Please all look
thanks
"We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done."
NAWCC seeks to encourage and stimulate interest in the art and science of timekeeping. http://www.nawcc.org
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Re: Thread: NAWCC - Gallet Guest Curator-wristwatches. 'blog

#10 Post by Nookster » Sun Sep 22, 2013 9:58 am

I missed that part of the first wrist watch.....

I will look for some of my ads. I was going to make a link to Hamilton Ads and other ads for other brands for people to post, the only problem is non members come in here and look and take stuff.

I just did some cool identification stuff that will be done by Christmas.
mark@vintagehamilton.com
VWF owner, moderator and Hamilton Enthusiast

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