Watch Porn: A Peek At Erotic Watches

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For as long as man has been born with an itch, he has had a royal time scratching it at every chance afforded by fortune and cunning.

Nudity and sexuality just happen to be something so hard wired into our species that it cannot help but find expression in art, craft, and technology – indeed, near everything we do.

Why then would watchmakers be any different? Moved by the same instincts as pilots who painted buxom women on the nose of their death-dealing planes, watchmakers have decorated their creations with vivid enamel paintings of erotic scenes, sometimes embellished with animation – drawing off energy from the movement within, to bring life to articulated automata on the dial, simulating the somewhat mechanical repetitions of copulation

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Nose art on warplanes has its limitations: It’s out in the open, so there are considerations of decency, even in times of war. But in a watch, the only war, if at all, is a moral one fought unseen, deep in one’s mind. And the way some of today’s watch brands preach discretion by pushing the tourbillon to the back of the watch case is how some horologists have executed the most carnal scenes away from the public eye, for the wearer’s private pleasure only.

Erotic watches run the gamut in price and complexity. At the very bottom of the barrel, they are simply crude paintings on the watch face or the back case. There are yet others with hands shaped as a nude couple. Used, these could be had for $50.

Like their straitlaced cousins, the big money in erotic watches are where there is high artisan and mechanical content: Vivid scenes expertly painted on enamel dials, moving apertures to reveal different scenes, and automata frolicking to the hour, the latter, miniaturised descendants of the jacquemart, or mechanically-driven figures.

A WAY TO TELL AND PASS TIME
From as early as the 14th century, jacquemarts have been used in town clocks to add some interest while telling time. Three centuries on, clever watchmakers managed to miniaturise the jacquemart and use them in the striking mechanisms of repeater watches intended for the Chinese market.

In Europe, they were banned for a season, but that just drove the erotic bits beneath the dial – the wearer’s privacy was protected and threat of confiscation averted by multi-part hinged cases.


Today, the general attitude to erotic watches is more enlightened. Much worse can be called up with a few pushes of the smartphone, so erotic watches are very much more “naughty” than “dirty”; a playful jibe at conformity and convention, and perhaps not so different from wearing Mickey Mouse ties to a board meeting. As recent auctions have shown, erotic watches are also prized as mechanical art, with highly complicated ones from big names fetching hundreds of thousands of dollars. How much is it worth sticking a finger to convention? At least there’s one for every budget.

Published in In Depth
Contributor

Contributing Writer

Our secret contributor is an industry insider who has worked with well-known luxury watch marques, as well as written for numerous horological publications. He asks to remains anonymous, however, so as not to ruffle feathers with his sometimes opinionated posts.



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