Collecting Times


(John F. Kennedy's Omega 'Ultra Thin,' worn throughout his presidency.)

Old watches: These all started out as simple objects with one purpose, tracking the passage of Earth’s rotation. Turning 1440 cycles around their dial from one sunrise to the next. Working diligently to place some order into our otherwise chaotic lives. Reminding us we are late for that important meeting, or when the next full moon will brighten our midnight.

Some were gifts to celebrate special moments in one’s life, while others, through the randomness of atoms, have an encounter with history. They journey through the depth of space to the height of human achievement or plunge within the darkness of twisted political ideology. However, no matter who the wearers were, they all have their unique stories to tell.

After all these decades, when other technologically advanced objects serve no purpose, these trusty tools of the past still tick on to tell us the time and, more importantly, their times.

Ticking with history


Invasion of Prague by Josef Koudelka, 1968

The Soviets, fearing that Czechoslovakia’s human-rights reforms would lead to a democratic uprising within the Soviet Bloc, invaded the country on August 20, 1968, ending the 'Prague Spring.'

Josef Koudelka, a young Moravian-born engineer who had been taking wistful and gritty photos of Czech life, was in the capital when the soldiers arrived. The most seminal piece includes a man’s arm in the foreground, showing on his wristwatch a moment of the Soviet invasion with a deserted street in the distance. It beautifully encapsulates time, loss, and emptiness—and the strangling of a society.


View of Astronaut Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin Jr. in Apollo 11’s Lunar Module, 1969

On July 20, 1969, this interior view of the Apollo 11 Lunar Module (LM) shows astronaut Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., the lunar module pilot, during the lunar landing mission with his NASA-issued Omega Speedmaster (Ref. 105.012). The Speedmaster played a significant role in NASA’s moon program, most notably in the 'successful failure' of Apollo 13.