- Modern Doomsday
- Citizen Satellite Wave-Air
- Retro Seiko Automatics
- A (very) Brief History of Cuckoo Clocks
- The Giving Time
- Antique Wood Clock Case Care
- 30 Tons of Bells in this Grandfather Clock
- Hamilton Watch
- Pocket Watches
- Daylight Saving or Daylight Robbery
- Time Zones
- Hooke vs. Huygens
- Grandfather Clocks
- Rocks and Clocks
- What's in a Name
- Seiko's Story
- Casio EQB-500 Bluetooth Watch Review
- Hermle 23047-080762 Review
Hermle 23047-080762 Review
We’re pleased to announce that Hermle Clock Company has released a new catalogue, and it’s full of brand new designs. Today, we’ll be showing you one of their newly introduced table clocks; one that is created for the person who appreciates fine workmanship and mechanical design.
It’s conservatively sized, standing only seven inches high and five and-a-half inches wide at its base. The base is solid walnut with a smooth natural finish. The clock is encased in a superbly made 5 part beveled glass box. The glass case is a small part of what makes this clock beautiful, but its quality of construction is worth spending a moment on. Each of the four corners perfectly matches. It is very neatly assembled with a U.V. glue – there’s no kind of smearing or globbing, just a precise amount for the task. The mechanism is really where this clock shines, though.
Two heavy brass plates encase the movement front and back. As much excess as possible is cut away, leaving the gear train visible. Both plates have a clean brushed finish. Top and center of the front plate is the escapement. It’s a Swiss 11 jewel deadbeat escapement – not only efficient but also excellent for timekeeping. The rest of the mechanism features four ruby jewels for increased durability and reduced friction. All of this is visible because the dial is simply two stainless steel rings that strategically cut away to present the best view possible. The winding arbor extends beyond the dial, easing the job of winding once per week.
Hermle consistently makes excellent clocks, and the ones released in this year’s catalogue are no exception. This mantle clock, however, is likely one of the most attractive additions. Come by the shop and we would be happy to show it to you.
Reviewed by George Black September 21, 2016
Casio EQB-500 Bluetooth Watch Review
Today, we'll be reviewing the solar powered Casio EQB-500DB-2A. We're pretty excited about this watch because it has some unique functions we haven't seen anywhere else yet. We'll look at the build quality, functionality, and usability of the watch.
The case and band are both solid stainless steel. The band features polished center links and brushed outer links and uses a standard fold-over push button clasp. It has micro-adjusters in the buckle – a feature we always appreciate. The end links for the band are, again, solid stainless steel instead of stamped sheet metal, which is great for the longevity of the band. The attachment of the bracelet to the case is excellent, and it has no play in the end links. The case itself is designed to offer protection for the screw-down crown, and its shape offers some protection for the four pushers as well. The bezel has been I.P. plated an attractive cobalt blue that matches the dial. Standard hours, minutes, and seconds are shown on the dial, and three asymmetrical sub-dials display 24-hour time, day, and a second time zone. Each of these sub-dials performs a secondary function that is cleanly integrated. It looks surprisingly clean and simple.
The functions and ease of use are where this watch particularly shines. These kinds of watches tend to be difficult to use, often requiring memorization of esoteric button sequences for changing its multitude of settings. Instead of making you memorize the manual – though this option is still available – you can control all the functions on the watch using an application your phone! The app is freely available for Casio, and works with both Android and Apple devices. I'm using it with an iPad. The manual and explanation of the usage of each of the watch's functions is clearly displayed with accompanying graphics. Some of the options you can edit from this menu are the timekeeping, stopwatch, lap times/distance (used for the average speed per hour sub-dial), alarm, and world time. Since the watch pairs with your phone using Bluetooth, it will keep incredible time. As long as your phone is in range, the watch will update to local time every day. One of the coolest features is that the watch can be set up to cause the phone to ring with the press of a button, allowing you to find a lost phone!
Nowadays, there's no shortage of watches filled with features. What sets this one apart is how easy it is to control using Casio's app. The watch becomes significantly more useful. You spend more time actually using the watch and less time getting frustrated trying to set the time.
Reviewed by George Black August 9, 2016
Seiko has been a pillar of the international timekeeping business since they were first established in Japan in 1881. They lay claim to a host of innovative landmarks; Seiko designed Japan’s first wristwatch in 1913, created Japan’s first television ad in 1953, and sold the world’s first quartz wrist-watch (the Seiko Quartz-Astron) in 1969. The multifunction digital watch that we all take for granted today was first offered by Seiko in 1975, and the first watch with computer functions was Seiko’s UC-2000, released in 1984. Seiko has been on the very front lines of new watch technology for nearly two centuries.
Any one of these feats would make Seiko a brand name to reckon with. Their consistently cutting-edge developments with quartz are particularly impressive. Seiko’s quartz time pieces (which initially took up entire rooms, but eventually became smaller and sleeker) have been used as the official timers of global sporting events since the Olympics in 1964 because of their reliable accuracy. Up until the Seiko Quartz-Astron in 1953, quartz clocks were extremely accurate, but much too bulky to carry around. Seiko found the perfect design to protect the fragile quartz crystal in clocks from jostling or buckling under changing temperature and pressure, even in a small and compact mechanism. They also designed a new battery that would run a quartz mechanism for up to a year without changing, which was record-breaking at the time.
The first Quartz-Astron was incredibly expensive (the Seiko website compares it to the price of a small car in 1953), but its impacts were indisputable. By creating a quartz wrist-watch that anyone could buy, Seiko revolutionized the way that individuals marked and tracked their minutes, hours, and days. In many ways, this marks the start of our modern obsession with exact timekeeping. Seiko’s quartz technology designs are now used in televisions, computers, and even digital cameras.
Swiss clock makers were hot on the heels of Seiko’s quartz developments, and many companies offer similarly intricate digital and computer devices that compare to Seiko’s offerings today. Despite this, Seiko has a proven history of quality, innovation, and reliability that make them a stand-out choice in the global clock and watch market no matter what country you come from. The company still holds the world’s highest-ever score from the Geneva competition for the “best mechanical chronometer” (and that prestige may have resulted in the Geneva competition being open only to European companies every year after that.) The award was well-deserved, and the same impressive legacy of Seiko is available to you today, right here at the Tick Tock Shop.
What's in a Name
Elizabeth Tower. Hopsy. The Time Eater. Big Ben. Rosalind. Around the world, in practically every culture, there is a clock with a crazy name attached. In the English language we give a clock a face and hands, and even though it has no legs, we accuse it of running faster than we can keep up with. And it doesn’t just stop with the clocks—multiple societies have anthropomorphized time itself, even if all of them (Old Man Time, Chronos, Zurvan) end up looking like old men with wrinkled faces and long white beards.
Whether we’re talking about Big Ben or Old Man Time, somewhere along the way, human beings have made time into something more than a simple force of the universe. It has become a kind of personality to us, a force that plays with us and interacts in our daily lives. This is hardly a surprise, considering; if time is humanized, it can perhaps be reasoned with. It becomes remotely credible, if we believe the words we use, to attempt to convince time to slow down or speed up, or perhaps cease all together. Many of us (at least I hope other people do this) take to talking to it, as if by staring at the clock and exclaiming, “That can’t be the time!” we will somehow convince the face to wince an apology, and the hands to rewind to give us an extra minute or two. Much of the human lifespan can be tracked in the uneasy, uncertain way that we deal with time. We like it, and we hate it; we rely on it, and we would also like to ignore it. We want to control it more than we do, and we want it to have less weight than it does.
This makes good timekeeping something of a tricky business. On the one hand, most of us want to know what time it is. Accuracy, dependability, and durability are the key words for any good clock, whether it be grandfather or cuckoo, on our wrists or on our walls, or in the dashboards of our cars. We constantly compare one source of time to another: the clock in the kitchen is three minutes fast (to get the kids out the door) and the alarm on the night stand is two minutes slow (to give the eyes a chance to open). In this age of technology, we long for precision and accuracy not just in the clocks on our cellphones and laptops, but also in the more familiar timepieces that we use from day to day.
Yet accuracy alone is not enough. For all our concerns with minutes and seconds, precision and accuracy, we still long for some kind of familiar face as we confront the reality of time. We search for familiarity in the timepieces that we keep. They become old friends to us, bits of history that we can relate to and even befriend as we come to see what time it is. Grandfather clocks, pocket watches, cuckoo clocks, sundials; we come to clocks and watches not just for information, but also for beauty, for memory, and perhaps even for a bit of comfort.
A good time piece, watch or clock, on your wrist or on your wall, fulfills both of these functions: It gives you accurate time and precise measurement, but it also gives you a beautiful thing, a funny thought. Perhaps even a familiar sense of being, if just for one second, in just the right place at the just right time.
Rocks and Clocks
Let’s face it: Time-keeping is nothing new. By 4,000 BC, Ancient Egyptians used stone obelisks to tell the time. Huge pieces of rock, carefully cut and carved, were deposited in common areas and near temples so that people walking by could observe the movements of the shadows and estimate the passage of the sun. Right around the same time, people in the British Isles were constructing Stonehenge, a huge stone circle that measured the passage of the stars above in a calendar of years, months, weeks, and even hours.
Before long, humans across the world found their own ways to mark the passage of time, and the majority of them turned to rocks. As sundials became popular in the east, early travelers in the Americas marked out time on the walls of stone dwellings. Even when clock-making began to grow into the sleeker, more modern science that we know it to be today, rocks played an unintentionally large part in the process. When Galileo designed the first pendulum in 1583, he realized that it required weights; as Dutch and German engineers sat down to craft the first spring-form watches in the 1650s, watches and clocks required glass faces and beautiful adornment.
Then, just as watch-making seemed to have surpassed the days of sundials, obelisks, and water weights, Warren Marrison and J.W. Horton invented a new kind of accurate time-keeping while they were working for Bell Telephone Laboratories in 1927. What was their secret? No surprise here: It was rocks.
To be more precise, the key to the modern watch is actually quartz, also known as silicon dioxide. By using quartz to carefully control an electronic oscillator, Marrison and Horton created a watch that had better precision and longevity than any other mechanical clock up until then. Quartz carries electrical signals and can be bent into very specific shapes, which makes it ideal for long-lasting and accurate time measurement.
Today, despite the popularity of atomic time and satellite updates, quartz is the most common clock component on the planet. It is used not just in watches and clocks, but also in a large number of electronic devices that need careful frequency regulation. In other words, in our attempts to become more precise, more modern, and more progressive, we have returned right back to where our ancestors started. We use rocks to tell the time.
Now, the quartz watch on your wrist or the musical clock on the wall of your daughter’s bedroom are certainly no Stonehenge. They take up less space, for one thing, and they don’t require a platoon of strong men to move them. They are not quite obelisks or sundials either, though a good grandfather clock shows some similarities to those community time-keeping devices of old. The history of watch-making is a testament to the human ability to make complicated things smaller and shinier, but it also speaks to the way that a good idea—and a good rock—can withstand the fads of time.