Baselworld is the watch industry's annual tick-fest that takes place in Switzerland, where all the haute horologists come together to show off their latest gear, all of which has the wow factor. And this time-telling machine from Swiss watchmaker Jacquet Droz, is no different. Ten years in the making, and more steamduke than steampunk, La Machine a Ecrire le Temps, or the Machine that Writes the Time, really is something else.
There are more than 1,200 components, including 84 ball bearings, 50 cams and 9 belts inside the machine. Wind it up, press the button, and the time is written on a small pad using a stylus. Manuel Emsch, creative head of Montres Jacquet Droz, came up with the idea and passed it on to the engineers and artisans of the company. The mechanism is kept inside a case made of liquid crystal, so that you can conceal or reveal it whenever you want.
Interestingly enough, back in the 18th century, Jacquet Droz's founder used to build automaton dolls to help sell his watches. Manuel Emsch's idea was to build a similar machine that would be useful for the new millennium. You can see a video of Le Machine a Ecrire le Temps — yours for a shade under $350,000 — below. It's breathtaking.
Via Born Rich