Omega calibre 59.8D 1940s clock

N.B. – this is another save from the blog entries. The clock itself is rare and interesting and beautifully made.

Last updated Jul 13, 2013 by Paul Hubbard

A very unusual find on ebay UK:

Here’s what I’ve been able to find so far:

  • Made in the 1940s for a UK store
    From TZ-UK:Model created in 1936 and specifically designed for the British Navy. Calibre 59 8-D with double barrel, back with bayonet closing, enamel dial marked Omega Swiss Made – Story Barrow, arabic numaral hour hands, minute track, blued steel Empire hands, triangular-profiled polished brass case designed to be screwed-in on a boat dash. Ref. British Admiralty. Item production date 3rd February 1940.
  • Omega calibre 59.8D, aka 59 8-day. About 3,000 of the movement were made between 1935 and 1940. I think this is the remontoir version.
  • 15 jewels
  • Handwinding
  • Non-hacking
  • 8 day power reserve – wind it once a week!
  • Enamel dial
  • Blued steel hands, Breguet style
  • Subseconds dial at twelve
  • Wedge-shaped brass case with key
  • Dial has ‘STORY, BARROW’ on it – seems to be an old UK retailer. That thread also speculated this was from a submarine, which might account for the oddly shaped case.
  • Weighs 1,660g (1.6kg) – very heavy.
  • About 10cm wide by 12cm tall by 7cm thick at the base of the wedge.
  • Bi-metallic split poised balance
  • Blued hairspring with Breguet overcoil.

More info

More pictures:

Pretty, eh? Mine keeps time a bit erratically, gaining or losing about 5 minutes per week. I need to do some research to see who can service these, RGM for sure.

It makes a fantastic desk clock, the well-worn case and subtly cracked enamel dial wearing their age proudly. The tick is loud and slow (18,000 vph) and winding it on Monday mornings is a nice start to the week. For just under $400, I got a cool Omega with a mysterious history – can’t do much better than that!

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Three good things

I had a good Christmas and wanted to share! First off, a Kickstarter that delivered on time, a really good Raspberry Pi case, the Argon ONE:

Assembled case

Here’s the back, showing the magnetic GPIO cover and rearranged port layout. Simple, clean and elegant.

You can get one via their Kickstarter page. It adds a shutdown/reboot circuit, temp-controlled fan, IR LED option, HDMI/audio redirect and a really nice aluminum enclosure with (as seen above) translucent window over the indicator lights. I put a Pi 3B+ into it and plan to collapse three single-purpose Pis onto it. (PiHole, Raven and AWS Greengrass). The cooling fan should help immensely, and the quad-core model 3 with 1GB of memory performs really well, leaving room for more code and projects.

I think I paid either $15 or $20 for it; even at $20 this is a great deal on a well-designed and well-made metal case. The additional cooling should also increase the reliability, lifetime and ability to handle compute loads. Highly recommended.

Echo wall clock

This is my favorite piece of Amazon hardware. It’s a $30 clock, driven by and synchronized with an Echo device using (probably) low-power Bluetooth. It comes with standard AA batteries, sets itself, carries no visible branding and has a spectacular peripheral array of LEDs to show timers:

That’s a 45 second timer counting down. Here’s what you see when I add a second timer – another LED at max brightness:

I’m a plodding cook; I have a few things I’ve learned and I rely heavily on timers for most of them. Having voice-set timers be visible is nice, because a) I can name them (‘oats’) and b) Chris won’t accidentally erase them when using the microwave. Yeah, that happened more than a few times since I used the microwaver timer as a second device.

The downsides of Alexa and Echo are well-known and I’ll not repeat them here, that said music and timers are very useful to me. Here’s the Amazon page for it.

HP multifunction from Costco

We’ve long had an incredible monochrome laser printer, the Brother HL2270DW, bought in 2011 and and running with zero problems for an incredible seven years. Duplex, compact in size, has WiFi/Ethernet/USB, well-priced toner cartridges and, with 24lb paper, jammed four times in seven years!

However, we wanted the ability to print color and, having long used and been burnt by inkjets, it had to be laser. Chris found this HP M281cdw at Costco and it’s worth sharing:


  • Built in support for AirPrint (iOS) and Chrome print (print from anywhere). I had a, you guessed it, Raspberry Pi running Chrome print before plus a desktop MacOS software app to provide AirPrint; this is simpler and works well.
  • Copier and scanner – low usage expected, but there if necessary.
  • 2.4 and 5GHz WiFi support
  • So-so price on refills – black is comparable to the Brother, but it should last a while.

I found a friend who can use the Brother, so it’ll keep cranking for someone else. The HP is a bit larger but so far working great.

It was on sale for around $250 and is now currently $320; still a good deal but you might bide your time for another sale.


Wandering hours with unique lume

Chris found this – a really excellent video of ‘night clock’ from the 1600s.

Now that’s old school.