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CLICK ABOVE FOR JULY 7 2011 ARTICLE IN THE NEW YORK TIMES



The New York Times
Published: May 6, 2009
By David Colman

OUR grasp of time is tenuous at best, from trying to really “get” relativity to fretting over those lost years when we never managed to write that novel. Is it any wonder we want time to comfort instead of alarm?

Perhaps this explains the happy solace so many men find in the AMC drama “Mad Men,” that window into the crazily optimistic postwar world, when cigarettes, steak and three-martini lunches were the fuel an adman needed to dream up such sterling slogans as “It takes a licking and keeps on ticking” (coined for Timex in 1956).

That spirit is there in the period’s watches, too. In the late ’50s, the playfulness at work in car and furniture design hit the gentlemanly watch world. In 1957, Hamilton introduced asymmetrical electric watches, and the line — especially the triangular Ventura — was an instant hit.

Now, luckily for those of us who don’t smoke or get lit at lunch but who think of the “Mad Men” lifestyle with fondness, the look is a hit again. Crazily inventive ’60s timepieces are among the best sellers at watchismo.com, a vintage-watch site. And Hamilton’s president, Matthias Breschan, reports that the company’s new take on the Ventura is selling better than its most high-tech models.

The look can also be found at the top of the Swiss-watch heap. Glashütte’s Senator Sixties model recalls President Kennedy’s stylish merger of stateliness and modernity. Vacheron Constantin’s latest release, the amazing Quai de I’lle, works a host of features, like a calendar dial, into a face worthy of Sean Connery’s James Bond.

Even better, these clever watches betray their value to only the most discerning eye — no diamond bezels here. But say: maybe in 2059, those will make a comeback, too.

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