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An Atomic Pocket Watch: Hoptroff No. 10

Hoptroff No. 10 Atomic Pocket Watch - RF CafeIf you have ever dreamed of having your own atomic-driven pocket watch, too bad, you'll have to wait a little longer. It's not that none exist, it's that only 12 will be made at this time (pun intended), and I'm guessing they're all spoken for* - you probably couldn't afford one, anyway. How much for this masterpiece of horological precision? Maker Hoptroff Ltd. isn't saying. "Big deal," you might say, "I have clocks synched to the WWVB (see also RF Cafe Factoid #226) signal from NIST's laboratory in Boulder, Colorado." This watch does NOT use that signal; the No. 10 watch has its own onboard ovenized cesium atomic standard (it has a crystal, too, as an option). The watch face is so covered with dials and pointers (28) that you have to look for the actual clock part (it's dead center in case you missed it) - akin to modern cellphone that has so many functions that you wonder if you can actually place a call with it. 20 more indicators will be added to the backside by for planned production in 2014. Ironically, the clock display is the only one amongst the profusion of indicators that has no numerical markings. I added labels to Hoptroff's image (see below). IEEE's Stephen Cass asked of Richard Hoptroff, "What was the motivation for creating the watch?" Mr Hoptroff's answer was, "Quite honestly, it was a compulsion: As soon as I worked out I might be able to make the most accurate watch in the world, I knew I had to do it. It made no economic sense at all." "The No. 10 is one of the most remarkable timepieces in the history of horology: the first watch to be regulated by its own atomic clock, rather than a balance spring, a pendulum or quartz. It is accurate to one and a half seconds per thousand years. Not just marginally better than other watchmaking movements, but thousands of times so." "The No. 10 was first conceived as a navigational aid. With only this extraordinary timepiece and a sextant, it is possible to determine one’s latitude and longitude to within a nautical mile – a traditional system, and keystone of horological accuracy, updated for the 21st century with the atomic precision of the Hoptroff No. 10. It is a shame, then, that only twelve pieces will ever be made."

Hoptroff No. 10 Atomic Pocket Watch

* ...by super wealth "anti-capitalists"

Posted  December 22, 2013

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