If I may digress from perfume for a moment, while passing a watch repair shop today I was struck by the fact that very few objects out there are simultaneously as sad and as fascinating as the Atmos Clock. Sad, because its neoclassical fifties look reminds one of grand municipal buildings in glamor-free places like Brussels. Sad because the very slow motion of the torsion pendulum (2 swings every minute) suggests that time has slowed to a senile pace. Fascinating because it never needs winding and is entirely mechanical. Fascinating also because its reputation is built on a fiction, namely that it is rewound by changes in atmospheric pressure, hence the name. Instead it responds to changes in temperature, via the expansion of low-boiling ethyl chloride in metallic bellows. The difference is profound: we feel temperature, but we do not feel atmospheric pressure. To be entirely poetic, the Atmos had to sense the insensible. But never mind: I know I’m going to buy one some time, and I also know it’s a lousy idea.
Categories: off topic, Uncategorized