Black & Blue Jewelry
Black & Blue Jewelry

What we talk about when we talk about jewelry

Email sent: Oct 18, 2019 9:31 am

Is this your brand on Milled? You can claim it.


Is time the most important thing?  You only have so much of it.  And, what you do with it will define your entire life. 


I'm very excited to type the following: TIME BALLS.  The image above is of a time ball in Boston circa 1881.  The ball drop in Times Square?  That is a time ball.  


Time balls were used to establish, and re-establish the time on a daily basis when time keeping devices were very rudimentary. And, then later on time balls were also used to to help establish Time Zones.


However knowing its 1pm is only half the battle.  Having to establish how long a second is and making sure a device would keep an accurate second was something more.


What came next was the invention of a "certified chronometer".  A mechanical engine in a watch that passed a rigorous set of tests to prove its accuracy.   


Mechanical watches were produced in Italy, France, Germany and the United States, however it was the Swiss who really made a name for themselves making accurate watches.  These devices with additional functions (like a stop watch, or chronograph) were what we could consider the smart watch of their day, and a high technical achievement.


Ok, pausing the history the lesson.  Back to time.  And, most importantly the all powerful second.


In a mechanical watch a second is measured mostly by releasing energy that is stored up in a wound spring.  As the spring unwinds a balance wheel goes back and forth.  The timing of this is then transmitted through gears to hands that move to tell the time.  


However, in 1946 an american watch company harnessed electricity and passed it through a tuning fork.  The vibrations of that tuning fork, which hummed in the key of E, was what a second was based on.  


My personal favorite from this period is the collection of Spaceview watches Bulova produced until 1977.  There is a tremendous article about electric watches HERE that is also about a relaunch of the Spaceviews (and they are fairly awesome).


Just a reminder, the theme of this newsletter is the all powerful, but ultimately fleeting; second of time.


How a second was measured and ultimately how much would it cost for extreme accuracy was the challenge of the day...  The electric watches were accurate, but not very reliable.  The Swiss still had a strangle hold on precision.  Through the 50's and 60's brands like Rolex made their name because of their accuracy and reliability in extreme conditions.  


By 1969 Seiko, a Japanese company, had really perfected the quartz movement for wristwatches.  By the late late 70's the cost of having a reliable and hyper accurate watch was a fraction of what it had been.  By passing an electric current through a sliver of synthetic quartz the second was ultra precise and dirt cheap.   


Swiss watching making was in crisis mode.  All of the Swiss chocolate in the world couldn't make them feel better....  Decades of owning the second were coming to an end.  


Then came Nicholas Hayak.


Hayak was born in Lebanon, studied math, chemistry and physics in France, and....  essentially created Swatch.  Oh, he also invented the Smart Car (Mercedes Benz makes Smart Car: mind blown?) and saved Swiss watchmaking.  No big deal.


As we all most likely know, Swatch watches were all quartz movements when they became popular in the 80's.  Hayak's firm worked with the Swiss watch industry to engineer a more efficient watch.  Instead of 100 components, the swatch would have 51.  Less parts equals less cost.  Now Switzerland had a low cost high quality product to go to battle with.  


Hayak and his Swatch saved Swiss watch making.  Swatch group bought up many important Swiss watching making entities to insulate them and make them better.  This time around improving a second not by making it more accurate, or cheaper, but by also protecting the story of how important a single second can be.


We made a watch.  Its 100% original design.  A lot of companies that want to have a watch take existing cases, and parts, mash them up and claim to have designed a watch. 


We built a solid stainless watch from scratch using a Japanese movement.  Some of the most difficult and enjoyable engineering we have ever done.  My favorite detail is the steel strap extension that makes this watch half bracelet half strap.  Who else has done that?  I'll answer that: no one.  This piece looks incredible on and its a solid well made piece that always gets looks.


If you have read the newsletter, and bought pieces from us let me say thank you from the bottom of my heart.  We are a designer run and owned business.  Your support means we can continue to fight the good fight for designers everywhere.  -Ash



ALTO cross


EDDER cross


We would obviously be remiss if we didn't shamelessly plug our own pieces... 


Plus, if you don't already, gives us a follow on IG

Facebook Instagram

Other emails from Black & Blue Jewelry

Black & Blue Jewelry
Jan 13, 2020
Get a FREE Custom Skull Ring!✌
Black & Blue Jewelry
Jan 6, 2020
The Art Of The Samurai✌
Black & Blue Jewelry
Jan 2, 2020
Break Down: Keith Richard's look
Black & Blue Jewelry
Dec 26, 2019
FREE JEWELRY? Hey Ho, Lets Go! ✌✌
Black & Blue Jewelry
Dec 9, 2019
Black & Blue Jewelry
Dec 6, 2019