Watches, Stories & Gear: A Watchmaker Without A Watch, Finding a Black Hole, and the Return of West Wing

“Watches, Stories, and Gear” is a roundup of our favorite content, watch or otherwise, from around the internet. Here, we support other creators, explore interesting content that inspires us, and put a spotlight on causes we believe in. Oh, and any gear we happen to be digging on this week. We love gear.

Share your story ideas or interesting finds with us by emailing our Managing Editor at [email protected]

This installment of “Watches, Stories, and Gear” is brought to you by the Windup Watch Shop, which now offers home goods.

Separating the watchmaker from the watch

Credit: Aurélien Bergot for The New York Times

This New York Times profile of watchmaker Eric Coudray is a reminder of the sheer size of the watch world, and the many interesting people who inhabit it. When we think of the world class watchmakers working today, we probably think of the guys with their names on the dial: Dufour, Smith, Gronefeld, and so on. Eric Coudray is different. Not only will you not find his name on the dial of a watch he’s worked on, but he plainly admits that he doesn’t even really like watches (and he doesn’t seem to wear one). Coudray, who had a lead role in the development of Jaeger Le-Coultre’s multi-axis tourbillon, and has worked for MB&F and other brands as well, is in love with the mechanics of watchmaking, but not necessarily the end product. Coudray is a fascinating character (he lives in France, in a decommissioned windmill) who has a decidedly different perspective on the watch industry and this article is definitely worth a read for anyone interested in high end horology and the people who make it possible. 

Your Next Podcast

Credit: Martin O’Neill/Redferns

This week, Pitchfork and other outlets reported on a new podcast focusing on the history of Joy Division and New Order, two of the most important British bands to come out of the post-punk scene in the 70s and 80s. The history of both bands is tied to the suicide of Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis, and has been dramatized on screen multiple times through the years. But this podcast promises a history and commentary on the bands unlike any we’ve seen before, with participation from surviving band members, as well their contemporaries and musicians they’ve influenced, including Damon Albarn, Liam Gallagher, Thurston Moore, Johnny Greenwood, and a slew of others. The 8 part series, officially titled Transmissions: The Definitive Story, launches on October 29. Check out the trailer here.

West Wing Special Gets A Preview

Credit: HBO MAX

If you’re a West Wing fan, this has likely been on your radar since it was announced – a reunion of the original cast of Aaron Sorkin’s iconic show is the type of thing that isn’t easily missed by the show’s rabid fanbase. But in case you’re not an OG fan, or simply weren’t aware, we’re happy to point you toward one of the most satisfying hours of television you’re likely to encounter this year. Available exclusively through HBO Max, this West Wing special to benefit “When We All Vote” is a staged reading of “Hartsfield’s Landing,” from the third season of the show. The episode’s title comes from the fictional New Hampshire town (based, of course, on a real New Hampshire town) that, in the series, is the home of the first votes cast in a presidential primary, at the stroke of midnight. The importance of voting is crucial in the episode, making it a natural choice for this mini-reunion, which is tied to a nationwide voting initiative. This special episode of the West Wing is streaming now on HBO Max, and is highly recommended to fans of Aaron Sorkin, the original run of the show, and, most of all, voting. Check out the trailer here.

How LIDAR Went from $75k to Appearing In Your New iPhone, and Where It’s Heading Next

Credit: Apple

Apple officially introduced the iPhone 12 this week with a new slab sided case reminiscent of the iPhone 4, along with a slew of internal improvements as is customary with each new generation of the device. One of those features is a LiDAR sensor, which is being used to boost low light performance of the rear facing camera. The technology powering it has implications far grander than the phone in your pocket however, and it’s been a fascinating journey to make this far. This article from Ars Technica gives a glimpse into the next phase we can expect to see this technology take hold in: our cars. Read the full story to see just what kind of an impact we can expect these sensors to have on an industry that’s increasingly looking to augment our driving experience with safety features.

How Andrea Ghez Landed A Nobel Prize in Physics

Credit: Elena Zhukova University of California

Earlier this month, the Nobel Prize Committee awarded 12 laureates their highest honor for achievements that have conferred the greatest benefit to humankind. Among them was American Astronomer Andrea Ghez for her tireless work in confirming the existence of a supermassive black hole at the center of our Galaxy. Her journey to get there was fraught with challenges, but the sheer will she brought to securing and using emerging technologies is an inspiration to any emerging scientists, or frankly, anyone facing adversity to their goals. Read about her story from Hilton Lewis, the director of the Keck Observatory where she worked at Scientific American right here

From The Archives: The Giorgio Galli S1 Automatic from Timex

Timex has been on a roll lately with fan favorite releases like the Q, M79, and even the T80 digital. Last year they dropped something a little different in the Giorgio Galli S1, a truly beautiful design done in collaboration with the Italian designer, Giorgio Galli. The level of detail put into the case and dial might not jump out at you, but it comes together with a harmony rarely seen on a sub $500 watch (or any watch, for that matter) that elevate this Timex well beyond the brand’s usual territory. Read more about this one right here and keep an eye out for them in the secondary market as they are sold out from Timex.

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Blake is a Wisconsin native who’s spent his professional life covering the people, products, and brands that make the watch world a little more interesting. Blake enjoys the practical elements that watches bring to everyday life, from modern Seiko to vintage Rolex. He is an avid writer and photographer with a penchant for cars, non-fiction literature, and home-built mechanical keyboards.