Thirty years later, I created Watchismo as a reliquary for unusual specimens of modern watch design. As a collector and horological curator, I was smitten by the stylish space-age bravado of the 60s and 70s. The world’s fascination with technology blended with design to create a wide array of timepieces looking into the future while functionally focusing on the present. My lifelong obsession with punctuality and vintage style finally found a home with the wristwatches of that time.
The crossover from hobbyist to collector and dealer truly began ten years ago after I uncovered a sizeable stash of unused 1970s Spaceman and other unusual watches in Basel, Switzerland. These were vintage models in brand new condition freed from decades of storage. The Watchismo website followed soon after when an editor from Vogue magazine persuaded me to launch the watchismo.com store.
My blog, The Watchismo Times, launched in 2006 has been enjoying a growing readership ever since. The blog allows me to share new ideas from the contemporary ‘new wave’ of independent watchmakers as well as delving into many other bygone eras of timekeeping.
Included here are selections from my private collection which feature some of the rarest side-viewing displays, light-emitting diodes, chronographs, electro-mechan-icals, asymmetrics, jump-hours, retrogrades and designer models.
Of particular interest to me are the Swiss jumping-hour mechanical-digital watches (such as the Sultana Retrograde Flyback). These watches were competing with the growing Asian electronic digital market at the dawn of the quartz revolution. Many obscure and long-gone Swiss brands imitated the digital displays mechanically by replacing traditional hands with spinning numbered discs. By far the most innovative was the side-viewing Amida Digitrend (opposite, also called the driver’s watch as the wearer was able to read time while gripping a steering wheel). The Amida Digitrend simply created a hand-winding jump-hour with bright orange numbers (emulating LED digits) printed in reverse and reflected them sideways through a prism correcting the numbers in the display. My collection has also inspired my own original watch designs.
Watchismo (Mitch Greenblatt) began his career at the age of 19 in the art departments of low budget horror films and many seasons of Pee-wee’s Playhouse. Switching to dimensional illustration in his mid-20s, he created artwork for Warner Bros, Sony Music, Absolut Vodka, and Rolling Stone Magazine. Now he runs watchismo.com and publishes his blog, The Watchismo Times.
He lives in Brooklyn with his wife Kaiva and pit bull Grace where he is developing his own watch designs.