Jeff Bezos’ 10,000-Year, $42 Million Clock Gets Underway

Built inside a mountain in Texas.

First conceived of by American inventor Danny Hillis in 1986, the 10,000 Year Clock is now being built as a full-scale prototype inside a mountain in Texas. The three decades it took since the original idea might seem like a preposterously long time, but it is actually a mere blink of an eye compared to the ten millennia the clock is designed for. Also known as the Clock of the Long Now, the timekeeper will eventually be built inside a mountain in Nevada, drawing on lessons learnt during the building and running of the full-scale prototype.

While the first prototype of 1999 was slightly taller than a man, and is now on display in London’s Science Museum, the prototype now underway will be as large as the actual clock, as well as similar in design. The prototype’s installation just got underway on February 20, according to a tweet by Jeff Bezos, who is funding its construction. Estimated to cost some US$42m, the clock is nevertheless eminently affordable for the Amazon co-founder, who is now the richest man in the world according to Bloomberg, which estimates his net worth to be US$123 billion.

Mr Bezos’ money buys a lot of timekeeping. Drilling into the mountain to accommodate the clock started in 2009. The finished clock clock will be over 150m in length and gets its power from two sources: a weight that is wound by a human, as well as the ambient temperature difference between day and night in the desert. Time is kept via a regulator that takes the form of a torsional pendulum. Every day at noon, light from the Sun is focused through a lens onto a tensioned piece of metal that buckles with the heat, resetting the clock to noon.

More on the clock can be found on the website of The Long Now Foundation, which is backing the clock project.


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Baselworld 2018: Blancpain’s Complete Calendar Gets a Second Time Zone

Introducing the Villeret Quantième Complet GMT.

A signature of the brand since Blancpain was revived in the 1980s, the triple calendar has been offered in various guises over three decades, but not with a second time zone, until now. The Villeret Quantième Complet GMT is the classic Blancpain complete calendar, with the addition of an additional hour hand in the centre.

Featuring a face on the moon phase disc, the calendar takes its usual position with two windows, as well as an elegant serpentine hand for the date, while the GMT hand runs along a 24-hour track for the home time zone (local time is shown via the primary, leaf-shaped hour hand). And because the second time zone adds another hand to the dial, it is now free of the seconds hand, which usually has a kitschy Blancpain logo counterweight on its end, resulting in an overall cleaner look.

Blancpain Villeret Complete Calendar GMT 2

Setting the time zones is straightforward: the crown moves the local time hour hand in one hour steps, backwards and forwards. The calendar, on the other hand, is adjusted via pushers on the back of the lugs, as opposed to the traditional recessed pushers on the band of the case. This is a Blancpain patent, and found across the width of its collection of calendar watches.

Blancpain Villeret Complete Calendar GMT 4

Inside is the cal. 67A5, a movement based on the Frederic Piguet cal. 1151. It’s automatic with a 72-hour power reserve, as well as a silicon hairspring.

Blancpain Villeret Complete Calendar GMT 1

Moderately sized at 40mm in diameter and 11.8mm high, the watch is offered in either 18k red gold or stainless steel. Both share the same opaline dial with applied Roman numerals in 18k gold matching the case alloy. They are available either with a matching metal bracelet or alligator strap.

Blancpain Villeret Complete Calendar GMT 3

Price and availability 

The Villeret Quantième Complet GMT is available in steel (ref. 6676-1127-55B) and in red gold (ref. 6676-3642-55B). Prices have yet to be announced, but using the prices for the triple calendar without GMT as a comparison, expect this to cost over US$15,000 in steel and US$26,000 in gold.


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Baselworld 2018: MB&F Introduces the Legacy Machine Perpetual Titanium

In iridescent blue-green.

Launched two years ago and a bigger hit than its complexity or price would have predicted, the Legacy Machine Perpetual is MB&F‘s most complicated watch to date, boasting a cleverly constructed perpetual calendar mechanism devised by Irish watchmaker Stephen McDonnell. Having made its debut in white and red gold as well as platinum, it’s now the turn of the LM Perpetual Titanium.

The case is the same size and style, measuring 44mm wide, but now in titanium. That’s matched with a striking metallic green dial, of a similar shade as that found in the LM2 Titanium and LM1 Dubai edition.

MB&F LM Perpetual Titanium 4

The 581-part movement remains the same, with the most interesting bits visible on the front, under the oversized balance wheel that’s a signature of the Legacy Machine series. Almost all of the perpetual calendar mechanism is visible on the dial, and unlike conventional perpetual calendars, it was designed to be robust and easy to set.

MB&F LM Perpetual Titanium 2

MB&F LM Perpetual Titanium 1

MB&F LM Perpetual Titanium 5

Price and availability 

The LM Perpetual Titanium is a limited edition of 50 pieces, priced at US$148,000. It’s available at MB&F retailers and M.A.D Galleries.


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