Horological adventure in USA  0 Comments


Work related pressures in recent months have taken me away from my passion and opportunities for photographing exquisite used pieces. However, now being on academic sabbatical, travelling for some time in the North American cContinent visiting academic institutions, I enjoyed not only photographing amazing collections of private collectors but the generous hospitality of those who hosted gatherings in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Understandably, all the renowned collectors had asked to remain anonymous and accordingly I can only share glimpses of the horological time I had in the East Coast in Sept this year.

First, was a gathering of collectors in Palo Alto at a very quaint and grand restaurant. Realising that such an establishment will not look too kindly at my using of a DSLR with a full array of lighting strobes, I resisted the temptation to bring my photographic equipment to dinner. Nevertheless, I did bring along my old and trusty Canon Powershot G9.

While the collectors shared their musing about their watches and their views of current developments over very tasty courses, all of them brought along their precious timepieces to play with. Interestingly and probably in honour of Peter Chong - the Timezone Forum moderator - there was a rather comprehensive collection of Lange & Sohne watches. To view this extensive collection from all those there, have a look at this thread.

Unfortunately as those who will see in that link - the restaurant was exceeding dark and as such we started using all kinds of contraption to light up the watches so we could study them with a loupe or magnifier. There it dawned upon me that I could possibly try to photograph the watches with the use of iPhones as continuous light sources. Fortunately I had one with me and there was also another iPhone that I could use to create a V shaped light source.

Here are the images of my new found technique. (Click on the images to view them in high resolution). The watch here is the very desirable Dufour Simplicity. It's a very understated watch. Only the discerning can appreciate the level of detail that goes into the watch. A simple (hence the name) watch yet executed at a level of detail that I dare say no other watch can match its refined its extremely detailed finish. Unfortunately this watch is no longer available for sale or order. Philippe Dufour is no longer taking orders for it and currently finishing his current pieces to deliver to his very lucky customers.

The movement capture -

Note that the camera was stabilised on the table, taken on aperture priority but due to the dark surroundings the exposure was longer than most hand held shots could manage. However shooting on a self timer and keeping the camera as still as possible on the table, this quality is possible. Hopefully such a technique could be made widespread so that others may be able to photograph watches in their best possible light - even in dark rooms. All it takes is a pair of iPhones with a Torchlight app.

This should be chalked up as making do out of necessity - or is it necessity the mother of invention?

- HT



Welcome to
Watching Horology


  • This is a personal blog of Harry SK Tan on all things pertaining to Horology - from watch collecting, horolography, news and developments from all over the world particularly Singapore.
  • ©HarrySKTan2005

Horolography - noun, the art of photographing timepieces

Horolographer - Harry SK Tan

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