back to article Brit horologist hammers out ‘first’ ATOMIC-POWERED watch

Could this be the chronometrist’s ultimate timepiece, the peak of horological haute couture? British bespoke movement maker Hoptroff today claimed to have produced the world’s first personal chronometer with an on board atomic clock. The result, says Hoptroff, is a accuracy of 1.5 seconds every 3.15 x 1010 seconds - that’s …

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  1. Thomas 4
    Thumb Up

    Screw the iWatch

    I want one of these babies. Oo

    1. Rob
      Go

      Re: Screw the iWatch

      If Breitling made one, I'd mortgage the house, wife and my son and get a few loans to buy one.

      1. Alan Edwards
        Happy

        Re: Screw the iWatch

        The Quantum SA45s, the timekeeping gubbins of the watch, costs $1,500, so the display mechanicals are costing $48,500

    2. FartingHippo

      Re: Screw the iWatch

      Too right. If you can't use it to attract a metallic boat and thus escape Dr Kananga's alligators, I'm not interested.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Screw the iWatch

      But really - we already have clocks that can set from the radio rime signals and GPS watches - both are already extremely accurate to the point of further accuracy is pretty pointless. I suspect any iWatch would run NTP so it's already going to have sub second accuracy so unless you are using your watch for piloting a cruise missile or high frequency trading etc. I can think of better ways of spending the dosh.

      1. Thomas 4

        Re: Screw the iWatch

        @AC - I fear you are missing the point. The point is that when someone comes up to you and says "Hello peasant, I have an iWatch" you are in a position to retort "Well, that's pretty cool but inside my watch, right now, a high power laser is firing at a radioactive isotope, keeping time accurate to a nanosecond. But yeah, I guess an iWatch is pretty cool as well."

  2. Peter Fairbrother 1
    Holmes

    Cesium is not radioactive

    Cesium-133, as used in atomic clocks, is not radioactive (and afaik it's not "nuclear material", whatever that is).

    1. Dabooka Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Cesium is not radioactive

      I'm sure your technically accurate description will go a long way with the chumps at Terminal 5. [pass the gloves] :-)

      1. andy k O'Croydon
        Coat

        Re: Cesium is not radioactive

        Or the chair-moisteners in Sector 7G.

        The one with the glowing green rod on the back.

      2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: the chumps at Terminal 5

        ...will only see a watch. Unless you stick an entirely unnecessary "Nuclear" symbol on the front face, they won't treat it any differently from a Casio.

        1. Havin_it
          Joke

          Re: the chumps at Terminal 5

          Unless you stick an entirely unnecessary "Nuclear" symbol on the front face

          Definitely not flying El Al with that one then.

          "Welcome to Tel Aviv, sir. Anything to declare?"

          "Only my chutzpah guv."

          "Sir, I notice your watch has an atomic symbol on it...?"

          "Ah, yes that... Oh no! It's not nuclear, you see what it is is, it's got this gas chamber that..."

          "Sir, please step out of the line."

    2. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Cesium is not radioactive

      Correct. Cesium atomic clocks don't involve radioactivity. Mr. Smith should stop doing drugs while writing for The Register.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: Cesium is not radioactive

        > Mr. Smith should stop doing drugs while writing for The Register.

        Well, Agents need to keep themselves occupied while on watch duty in the Matrix, so a little whimsicality is expected.

  3. Valerion

    About "time"

    I so need this. I often worry about turning up to work 0.00001 seconds late.

    I bet the battery doesn't last 1000 years though.

    1. Natalie Gritpants
      Facepalm

      Re: About "time"

      Presumably that's why there is a "lithium-polymer battery fed through a micro USB port".

    2. Phuzi
      WTF?

      Re: About "time"

      I thought title suggested it would though lol

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: About "time"

      I wonder how small it's possible to build a 1000-year capable RTG?

      C

    4. Number6

      Re: About "time"

      Yes, my first thought was battery life. 40mA from a lithium battery, 25 hours with a 1AH coin cell, 200 hours from an 8AH C cell. Definitely not a small watch.

    5. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: About "time"

      > I bet the battery doesn't last 1000 years though.

      The electronics won't last even 30.

  4. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

    Not radioactive

    As caesium atomic clocks use the stable isotope caesium-133, it is not radioactive, and there is no danger of being accused of moving nuclear material while travelling.

    1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      Re: Not radioactive

      Damn. Beaten to the punch!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not radioactive

      So long as it doesn't have glow-in-the-dark numbers on the dial!

      1. Cameron Colley

        I happen to have experience transporting radioactive material across international borders.

        My Tritium keyring from El Reg never so much as raised an eyebrow.

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: I happen to have experience transporting radioactive material across international borders.

          ...except if the tritium caused a brain tumor?

        2. tabman
          Thumb Up

          Re: I happen to have experience transporting radioactive material across international borders.

          How can I get myself one of those Cameron?

        3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: I happen to have experience transporting radioactive material across international borders.

          >My Tritium keyring from El Reg never so much as raised an eyebrow.

          Was it under 2oz and did you put it in the magic terrorist-proof clear plastic bag?

          1. Cameron Colley

            Re: I happen to have experience transporting radioactive material across international borders.

            @tabman: Sadly El Reg don't sell them any more as the store has closed. I think searching fr "tritium keyring" might show something up on google though.

            @Yet Another Anonymous coward: It was attached to my keys -- even went through US security with it.

            1. M. Poolman

              Re: I happen to have experience transporting radioactive material across international borders.

              I had a couple of those key-rings, both now sadly defunct. Could El Reg do them again ?

    3. Alan Edwards
      Happy

      Re: Not radioactive

      > As caesium atomic clocks use the stable isotope caesium-133, it is not radioactive, and there is no danger

      > of being accused of moving nuclear material while travelling.

      Doesn't stop the idiots seeing the word 'atomic' and thinking it could wipe out the city if you dropped it.

      The makers might want to learn from NMR, nuclear magnetic resonance imaging. People saw 'nuclear' and got scared, so it was rebranded magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Same thing, less scary name.

      How about 'laser-excited chromometer'?

  5. Simon Harris Silver badge
    Facepalm

    It may be the most accurate watch in the world...

    ... but it takes half an hour to work out which of the dials is actually telling the time!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It may be the most accurate watch in the world...

      And seeing as there are no actual dials there, just the hands, the time you read may well be wildly out anyway!

      Yes, yes, I know that the pictures are of the squirkit board and not of a finished product. Get over it.

      1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

        Re: It may be the most accurate watch in the world...

        And it will need to be reset twice each year to accommodate summertime/dst.

        1. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge

          Re: It may be the most accurate watch in the world...

          nah, you just use different dial for it!

        2. Boothy

          Re: It may be the most accurate watch in the world...

          Quote "And it will need to be reset twice each year to accommodate summertime/dst."

          I would hope at that price it would do that itself!

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. StephenTompsett
    Happy

    Too many moving parts...

    Hands are so steam-punk. An 'Atomic Clock" needs a digital display.

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Too many moving parts...

      Only if they are Nixie tubes...

      1. John Sager

        Re: Too many moving parts...

        Dekatrons!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Too many moving parts...

        The Woz and his Nixie tube watch ...

        www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4R3hODnTGo‎

    2. Number6

      Re: Too many moving parts...

      Hands are so steam-punk. An 'Atomic Clock" needs a digital display.

      So fingers rather than hands then?

    3. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      Re: Too many moving parts...

      If you look at the 'front', there appear to be a ring of what look like LEDs, possibly multi-colour, which may work like those in a Solsuno watch, replacing the main hands of the watch. That would be pretty cool.

    4. Steven Roper
      Joke

      Re: Too many moving parts...

      Are you admitting to being so amazingly primitive that you think digital watches are a pretty neat idea?

  7. Red Bren
    Facepalm

    Most accurate watch in the world?

    If I bought this for my wife, she would set it a few minutes fast so she wouldn't be late...

    1. Ragarath
      Coat

      Re: Most accurate watch in the world?

      But then, as I do, she would know the watch was 2 minutes late and realise she can be 2 minutes late.

      Then one day, the watch connects to an ntp server, realises it is 2 minutes fast, sets the proper time and then she turns up 2 minutes late for the next 1000 years :)

    2. Ted Treen
      FAIL

      Re: Most accurate watch in the world?

      Mine would, too. However, she'd still be late...

  8. TeeCee Gold badge

    Willy-waving.

    Could this be the chronometrist’s ultimate timepiece, the peak of horological haute couture?

    Er, no. That would be something having that sort of of accuracy, but done with clockwork. In the world of watches your el cheapo quartz job will easily qualify for chronometric accuracy, yet a clockwork one that does will set you back a tidy sum.

    When it comes to watch willy-waving it's all about the craftsmanship, not the accuracy. Thus we still have multi-tourbillon watches at the high end of things, purely because they're bloody complicated to make.

    1. Steve Todd
      Thumb Up

      Re: Willy-waving.

      You should see the gyroscopic tourbillons, beautiful to behold with the balance wheels rotating on all 3 axis while they regulate the watch, but stupidly expensive (think 7 figures for a watch). Quartz and radio controlled time signals beat mechanical long ago, in the same way that cars beat horses, but people still spend big money on race horses.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Willy-waving.

        people still spend big money on race horses

        That's because you can still turn that one into lasagna filling if things don't work out

    2. J__M__M

      Re: Willy-waving.

      Like so: http://www.calibre11.com/tag-heuer-mikrotimer-flying-1000/

    3. Gadgety

      Re: Willy-waving.

      You are of course absolutely correct in your assertion. People (males) love their mechanical complication watches. Still you are implying that this atomic watch is not complicated to make, which I guess it is, at least in a miniaturized form.

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