Museum of Texas Tech University, History Division
To collect, preserve, document, and interpret the material culture of Lubbock and the South Plains, and its adjacent West Texas regions.

To collect, preserve, document, and interpret the material culture of Lubbock and the South Plains, and its adjacent West Texas regions.

 
 
 
 
Title of Image Watch Master: Front plaque, paper drum, & watch holder within view.
Title of ImageEntering the time machine
 
Title of Image User interface : These controls allow for audio inspection or graphing.
Title of ImageFront, right, overhead view: A close look reveals the paper drum to the left and the watch holder to the right underneath the spring.
 
Title of ImageUncovered rear view of assembly
Title of ImageOverhead, uncovered, and rear view
 
Title of ImageAn inside view of the time machine motor
Title of ImageMotor shown to left, front of image
 
Title of ImageA parting view...
 

Spotlight on Collections:
A Real-Life Time Machine

This Watch Master G-11, Watch-rate Recorder, is truly a time machine. Designed as a large box, full of capacitors and vacuum tubes, it was once considered a tireless master of measuring each and every tick-tock of a mechanical watch.

Fully automatic, this device captures time and pressure in order to record the ticks of a watch. Once the user places a watch in the watch holder (identified in images to left), escapement vibration is sent through a plate in the holder and recorded by a stylus onto the paper drum. For each tick, one corresponding dot is made on the paper drum which rotates five times in a single second. If the line runs parallel to the drum axis, the watch is in-sync with the drum and working correctly. If, however, the line slopes up to the right, the watch will be deemed fast and down to the right it will be deemed a slow. For each line on the paper a drawing passes through a corresponding five seconds per day is lost or gained.

Despite modern inventions that have proven more accurate, no other device measures and records the main spring timing of watches through electrical impulses with more charm. Built upon the simple principles of a tuning fork and designed with a straightforward user interface, this device still proves to be quite popular.

Although a sign of time gone by, this machine still finds its way into many antique watch enthusiasts lives all over the world, securing its status as a true time machine. This particular unit was made by American Time Products, Inc. out of New York City in the mid-twentieth century and shortly thereafter found a home in Lubbock. This device was in fact used by J.F. Smith, who was a watchmaker here in Lubbock for over forty years.