Omnibus Clock Shop

Welcome to Omnibus Clock Shop

Omnibus Clock Shop is known for professional integrity since our modest beginnings in 1982, we have grown to become one of the largest clock shops in the area with the largest display of new, used and antique clocks under a single roof.

Thought for the day: “If it weren’t for electricity we’d all be watching television by candlelight. — George Gobel ”

We proudly represent only the finest clock manufacturers from the world over including Howard Miller, Sligh, Seth Thomas, Seiko, Bulova, Ansonia, Hermle, Linden, and Rhythm to name just a few.


What Time is it Where You Are?

Recently, most of the United States moved their clocks back one hour to signify the return to “standard time” after spending the last eight months or so on “daylight time.”  There are exceptions to this, such as the state of Arizona, parts of Indiana, parts of Nevada and a few other scattered areas.

But what makes “standard time” standard?  It all goes back to 1883, when all American railroads agreed on a set of four time zones to represent the continental United States.  Prior to this, there were as many as one hundred “local” time zones.  In effect, pretty much every town of any size could decide, on their own, what time it happened to be right there at any given time.

That’s fine for the people who live in that particular town, and as there wasn’t a lot of intertown or interstate commerce at that time, few people cared, really, what time it was.

The people who owned and operated railroads didn’t feel that way.  That’s understandable, as trains had to run between towns and trains needed to maintain schedules.  That meant that the railroad itself needed to have some sort of common frame of reference so that they could know when they needed to be in Town A and when they needed to be in Town B without reference to whatever arbitrary schedules the citizens of A or B might be keeping.

A further complication is that railroads needed to agree among themselves what the time was, as trains occasionally need to pass one another and no one, then or now, was particularly fond of collisions.

In the 1870s, the U.S. Weather Bureau also decided that having some standardized time zones would be beneficial, and eventually, the railroads, the Weather Bureau and Congress all got involved.  The U.S. was divided into four time zones, and this simplified everything for anyone who had business between multiple cities or across state lines.

Eventually, a few cities opted to tweak their time zones a bit to suit local needs.  Parts of western Indiana, which would fall in Eastern Time, have adopted Central Time as their time zone since many people who live there work in nearby Illinois.

In 1918, during World War I, Congress decided that it might be beneficial to adjust the time of the entire nation during the summer to give the impression of having an extra hour of daylight.  This created Daylight Saving Time, which is often erroneously called Daylight “Savings” Time.  It doesn’t matter; we’re not really “saving” anything, but most people would rather have an extra hour of light during the evening, when they can enjoy it, than during the morning, when it would be interrupting their sleep.

Some parts of the country, and the entire state of Arizona, don’t bother with it.

At this time of the year, people move their clocks back one hour and get an extra hour of sleep.  It’s been going on for so long that many people don’t even know why we do it, or how long it’s been going on.

It’s the trains.

The Octopus That Tells the Time

For a lot of people, clocks are fairly boring.  They might have an alarm clock on their nightstand, or perhaps an inherited grandfather clock in the living room, or the clock that comes built-in to their oven.

After that, a lot of people don’t give much thought to clocks.  After all, your phone will tell you the time.  But other people do concern themselves with clocks, such as the Swiss watch company MB&F.  They’re all about time, but not in the way that you’d think.

mbf octopod clockAll of MB&F’s timepieces are …unusual, to say the least.  Actually, unusual barely describes it.  The company recently made a super-limited edition watch that featured small aliens.  They also made a desk clock that looked like a rocket ship.

You will remember any timepiece you see from MB&F, and that’s certainly true of their latest clock, the Octopod Clock, which they made in collaboration with longtime clockmaker L’Epee 1839.  This clock, as the name suggests, was created to evoke an octopus.

Designed as a table or desk clock, the Octopod has eight legs which are adjustable, though we’re not really sure what adjusting them might do for you in a practical sense.  You can adjust them, and that will make the clock just a little bit taller (it appears to be about 12″ tall) or a little bit shorter.

mbf octopod clockThe timepiece itself is inside of a spherical unit that sits where the “head” of the octopus might be.  Inside is a movement developed by L’Epee 1839 which has some 159 parts.  These parts are attached to an anti-reflective piece of glass that gives the impression that all of the parts are just floating inside.

The movement is mechanical, and will need to be wound, though we haven’t seen any information about power reserve or how often you will need to wind it.

As with most of MB&F’s products, the Octopod Clock is limited in production.  This particular clock comes in three versions – the stainless steel with black PVD coating, the stainless steel with blue PVD coating, and the palladium model.  Each version is limited to 50 pieces, so don’t expect them to last.

Then again, they might not sell out as quickly as you’d think, given that the price for these clocks is $36,000 each.  Of course, in the case of MB&F, you’re not buying a timepiece, as you can buy a clock for a lot less money than that just about anywhere.

What your’e buying here is art, and the company does make some pretty amazing pieces of art that also happen to tell the time.

They’ve also made quite a name for themselves, given that the company has only been in business for a dozen years or so.  That’s not the case with L’Epee 1839, however.  Their name isn’t just a clever one; it includes the year of the company’s founding.

That’s a lot of time to be making clocks, and rest assured, they’ve gotten quite good at it.  Thanks to their partnership with MB&F and this Octopod Clock, they’ve also gotten pretty weird with it.

But sometimes, weird can be good, and we like this timepiece.



The Clock That Wakens You With Smell

People hate alarm clocks.  The best of them will have a sound that isn’t too harsh but one that is loud enough to awaken you from a deep sleep.  Even then, it’s usually an unpleasant experience to wake up to the sound of an alarm, rather than to awaken naturally.

The Sensorwake, a new alarm clock, hopes to change that.   Citing studies that show that our brains respond strongly to smells as well as sounds, the Sensorwake uses a gentle sound along with various scents to waken you from your sleep.

sensorwakeOriginally offered via Kickstarter, the Sensorwake is a digital clock that uses small cartridges that contain…something that puts off a scent.  The company said that in tests, 100% of the test subjects were awakened within 2 minutes using their clock.

The clock measures about 4 inches on a side, and comes with a single cartridge.  You can choose from a variety of scents, and the current list includes:

  • Seaside
  • Espresso
  • Croissant
  • Chocolate
  • Grass
  • Toast
  • Peppermint

The company’s FAQ page did not mention whether any particular scent was more effective at waking people up than any other, so it can be assumed that they’re all about equally good at doing the job.

It takes 2-3 minutes for the average sleeper to wake up using the Sensorwake, which also makes a sound at alarm time.  Each cartridge lasts approximately 30 days, at which point you can discard it or recycle it.  You can buy the clock with a single cartridge or you can buy it along with a package of 6 at a somewhat discounted price.

The basic price for the clock is $79 and the bundle with 6 scents is currently a bit over $100.

bescent despicable me clockBased on the success of the Sensorwake, the company is now striving for bigger and better things.  The company is now targeting children and licensing products that are tied to major motion pictures, including Frozen, and Despicable Me.

The latter includes a banana scent, which is presumably going to remind waking children of that film’s Minions.  Also in the work is a Barbie-related clock, though I’m not sure exactly what Barbie is supposed to smell like.  Plastic, I suppose.

The nice thing about such licensing is that there are new movies coming along all the time, so there will always be new marketing opportunities.  Plus, unlike regular alarm clocks, which you buy once, with these clocks you get to continue buying new aroma cartridges.

While they’re relatively inexpensive at $5-$6 each, that adds up after a while, and works out to about $75 per year…per child.

Keep in mind that if you have more than one child, they’re each likely going to want their own alarm clock.  If one wants a Despicable Me clock, the other will likely want a Frozen clock.

Looks like a good moneymaking opportunity.

If you’re interested in learning more about how the Sensorwake and Bescent (the children’s line) of clocks works and what sort of availability there will be, this PDF can likely help.

If you’re having trouble waking up in the morning, a clock with a pleasant scent is probably a good way to go.



The Odd Appeal of Stainless Steel

In the world of high end watches, precious metals rule.  That makes sense; if you’re buying a watch that costs $250,000, you want something that you can show off.

In recent years, that means that the watch is going to have a case made of gold, or platinum, or possibly machined sapphire crystal.

Patek Philippe reference 1518

Patek Philippe reference 1518

Gold and platinum are relatively rare precious metals.  Sapphire is a naturally occurring gemstone, but man-made sapphire can be machined into a watch case, making for a pretty amazing (and expensive) watch.

Stainless steel, on the other hand, isn’t a very sexy material.  Sure, it’s strong.  The “stainless” in the name suggests, correctly, that it isn’t going to rust if you get it wet.  Of course, gold and platinum won’t rust, either.

The combination of strength, rust-resistance and affordable pricing is what makes stainless steel a commodity in the watchmaking world, and the vast majority of watches in the $50-$5000 range have stainless steel cases.

Often, a watch will be made with a choice of case materials, and buyers may have the option of gold, platinum, or steel.  The steel model, of course, will make the watch the most affordable option, and buyers who are budget conscious will have the ability to get the same watch for a substantially lower price.

It’s interesting to note that the most expensive wristwatch ever sold, the Patek Philippe reference 1518, which was made in 1944 and which recently sold for more than $10 million, had a stainless steel case.

Why?  And why would someone pay that much money for a watch made from such a common material?

rolex 8171 steel

Rolex 8171 in steel – a $1 million watch.

The reference 1518 is an unusual watch in its own right, having been the first mass-produced (for Patek) watch to include a perpetual calendar.  That alone makes it collectible, but here’s where it gets interesting.

The “mass produced” 1518 was made in a production run of just 285 watches.  That’s not a lot by Swatch standards, but for Patek, especially during World War II, that was a big run.

Here’s the kicker – of the 285 watches made, 281 had cases that were made from either yellow gold or rose gold.  Exactly four watches were made with stainless steel cases, and they were probably special-order items that had been built to accommodate a customer request for a steel case.

As it happens, a number of older watches that have recently set records for high prices have steel cases, and the reason is simple – they’re a lot more rare than their gold or platinum counterparts.  Steel wasn’t used as a first choice by these companies; they were used only when materials were in short supply (as they were in World War II) or when someone specifically asked for a steel case.

That, paradoxically, is why such a common material is actually rare in some circumstances, and why collectors are today paying exorbitant sums of money for watches made from “common” material.

Keep in mind that most steel watches are indeed commodities.  Still, when a company such as Rolex offers a watch with steel or gold, the steel models sell briskly, usually because the buyers know it’s the same watch as the gold one but available at a much lower price.

At the end of the day, it’s still a Rolex.


How Complicated Do You Want?

When it comes to buying watches, there are all kinds of designs, and all manner of movements.  Most watches sold today have quartz movements, which are highly reliable and accurate, but which are frowned upon by purists who think that only mechanical watches matter.

That’s a debate for another day, but for many buyers, a more simple question pops up regarding what kind of watch to buy – how complicated do you want it to be?

“Complicated” can have different meanings when it comes to watches.  In watch terms, a “complication” isn’t a problem, but rather refers to an additional feature besides the basic telling of time that a watch might offer.

chronograph watch

A “complicated” watch face

Many watches only tell the time.  If your watch has a date feature, that is known as a date “complication.”  Other complications might include the day of the week, the phases of the moon, or dials for a chronograph, which allows your watch to act as a stopwatch or to record elapsed time.

Some people have a need for such features and others do not.  If you’re a pilot, race car driver,  or a diver, for instance, you may very well have a use for a chronograph.  If you’re just a businessman who wears the watch to the office where you sit behind a desk all day, you might find that you don’t need those features, and you’d rather just have a watch that tells the time, or perhaps, tells the time and offers the date.

While these complications offer additional functionality to your watch, they also take up space.  In the case of a mechanical watch, they’re going to make the movement more internally complex and necessarily larger.  While it’s less of a burden to add such features to a quartz-powered watch, there is one place where all watches become more cluttered with the addition of more complications – the watch face.

movado watch

A simple watch face

The face is where you do business with the watch.  It’s where you’re going to obtain all of the information that a watch can provide you.  The more complications a watch has installed, the more of your watch face real estate that they’re going to take up.  Chronograph dials take up space.   A moon phase display takes up space.  The day of the week takes up space.  The date takes up space.

All of these things can likely be found on a single wristwatch if you really want to have them all at once, but that is going to leave you with a cluttered watch face.  That is where buyers differ.  Some people like all of these features and don’t mind a watch that has a busy appearance.  Others prefer a more simple approach, and prefer a clean,

Which you prefer is up to you.  You just need to be aware that complications, while interesting and useful, are also going to get in the way of the basic features that make a watch a watch – the ability to look at it quickly and see what time it happens to be.

If you’re a gadget freak who likes new toys and functions, there are plenty of timepieces that can accommodate you. If you prefer a simpler look, there are other makers of luxury watches that can provide a cleaner, simpler interface.

In the end, it’s all about personal preference.