Landscape at Dawn and Dusk

Landscape at Dawn and Dusk
Flanerie Barcelona: Pathways at Dawn and Dusk © Maryhelen Jones-Raciti

Saturday, April 30, 2016

April 2016 Bench #4 -- Barry J. Marcus and Julie Campisi

Sit back on April's Bench. Rest. Check the time.

Watches are not just objects, they are companions in many of life's varied activities. Watches carry a silently shared narrative with the people who wear or carry them. It's their owners who can give them special voices when we are in a position to listen.

That's the poignant, personal message Barry J. Marcus gives us in Watches I Have Known (Create Space Independent Publishing Platform, 2014). This is Mr. Marcus' posterity-driven memoir of his sixty-eight-year career as a master watchmaker. Written lovingly in conjunction with his daughter, Julie Campisi, this book allows us the privilege of sitting next to Mr. Marcus at his watchmaker's bench, listening to the stories told by an incredible cast of characters who he has met through his working on time.

Jardur Watches President, C. C. Shermer sums it up beautifully on the book's back cover, "From Belleau to Omaha Beach, watchmaker Marcus sends readers back in time to experience tales of heroism, intrigue and love. A great read." And indeed it is.      

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Walk No. 23 It's About Time: Two Strolls Taken Together (April 17, 2016)

Fashion complements function. Function complements fashion.  You have the duality of choice -- as well as the unity of choice -- in Isochron Media LLC's, glossy publication, AboutTime; Function and Fashion for the Wrist. 

I discovered this publication when it was advertised in Abbeville Press' Wristwatch Annual 2016: The Catalog of Producers, Prices, Models, and Specifications.  AboutTime covers an often overlooked niche of watch enthusiasts, some of whom are luxury-minded aspirational and others that just love affordable watches as functional pieces and/or fashionable accessories.

For me, one of the best things about the publication is that it makes the world of watches understandable and accessible. I now read other horological publications such as Watch Time and Watch Journal with greater confidence and  comprehension. AboutTime's articles and product highlights are helping me to learn the descriptive vocabulary I need to enrich my own writing. 

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Walk No. 22 Taking Indépendants' Paths (April 14, 2016)

What a sunny April surprise to discover an international organization dedicated to supporting a rigorously selected, amazingly talented group of wholly independent watchmakers! 

This is the Académie Horlogére des Créateurs Indépendants (AHCI). Based in Zurich Switzerland, the AHCI is composed of 34 Members who have been chosen for their extraordinary horological artistry and engineering craftsmanship. 

Among AHCI Members are Vianney Halter,often called the Picasso of Watchmaking and Kari Voutilainen, winner of the 2014 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genéve's (GPHG) Artistic Crafts Watch Prize for his Hisui.

The AHCI has a Circle of Friends open to watch enthusiasts and collectors worldwide who want to support and follow this important community of Indépendants.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Walk No. 21 Benjamin Franklin's One-Handed Clock Concept (April 1, 2016)

No foolin' on this one. Benjamin Franklin developed a one-handed, clock-concept with his friend James Ferguson, a Scottish astronomer and instrument maker in the 18th Century. The design of his work appears in Ferguson's Selected Mechanical Exercises, circa 1733.

In August 2015, Franklin's design has been RE-CONCEPTUALIZED as a stunning wristwatch by MeisterSinger, a bespoke watch maker in Münster, Germany.  It's called The MeisterSinger USA Benjamin Franklin Limited Edition. As Evald Muraj wrote in his Hodinkee post, "The brand successfully executes this concept" (meaning the use of one hand to indicate dial time) "by designing dials with an arithmetical, almost gauge-like rendition of hours and minutes."
I was attracted to this watch and its heritage tribute to Ben Franklin's inventive mind when I was exploring the website for Martin Pulli Fine Jewelry and Watches located in Franklin's hometown, Philadelphia Pennsylvania.

Lately, my own home has been filled with  my husband James Raciti's research and writing on the notable residents of Philadelphia and the Eastern seaboard during America's colonial/post-colonial period. (See his blogs: America's Revolutionary Voices and Get to Know Stephen Girard; as well as the book, Stephen Girard: America's Colonial Olympian, 1750-1851).

What circulates with one hand in the 18th Century comes around to us in the 21st Century with new European vigor and style. Ben does indeed have cross-continental staying power.