Jump Hour

Jump hour or Jumphour watches also reffered to as Direct Read, Wandering Minute or Digital are the first mechanical watches showing time directly with digits. The first examples were made in the XIXth century as pocket watches starting with a one-off piece by Blondeau for the French King Louis-Philippe d'Orléans in 1830. Semi-mass production began when Joseph Pallweber invented his first pocketwatch with numeric  display - jumping hours and also minutes.  He was granted several patents in the years 1882-1887 and licenced this concept to several manufacturers of which the most known were made by IWC and Cortebert. Other manufacturers such as Modernista followed including a mixed display with jump hour and retrograde/flyback minutes.

The first Jump Hour wristwatches appeared in the Art Deco period approx. the 1920's but that was just a short revival of this technology. The biggest jump hour domination took place in the 1960/1970's as a cheaper alternative to electronic digital watches. These watches contain standard mechanical movements with the only difference of having rotating discs instead of moving hands. They are widely called jump hour due to an instant switch/jump of the hour disc at the end of every hour. Jump hour watches have always been to strange to be accepted by a wide public but with the rise of the space technology and the industrial design that was influenced by spacetravel, such watches once again caught the attention of the public thanks to eye-catching futuristic designs.



The Jump Hour watch is my main field of expertease so please do not hesitate to ask for assistance. When searching for these watches you might find  the following terms useful in other languages: Scheibenuhr (Springende Stunde or Sprung Ziffer) in German, Horas Saltantes in Spanish, Heures Sautantes in French, Orologio Saltarello in Italian but the Polish term is in my opinion the most awkward :) Gazomierz which means Gas(o)meter.

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