Who never dreamed of owning and playing with James Bond’s watch (and incidentally, who didn’t also dream of having the Bond girls… but that’s another story)? While searching for
interesting things trifles to buy on Ebay, we’ve stumbled upon THE object to tickle our spy-kid minds: a true revival of the Cold War, a fascinating object that would have to be used with a trench coat, a hat and sunglasses: a real spy-watch with an integrated microphone and recorder – Khrouchtchev-approved.
OK, let’s be clear, we are not going to tease you with some fascinating Haute Horlogery here. Sometimes, we have
open-minded and constructive silly conversations at the Monochrome-Watches HQ. And it can result in this: the discovery of a piece of history that reminds us how technology has changed in the past decades. When you think about spy-watches, the first one that come in your mind is a Rolex Submariner or an Omega Seamaster, either one full of lasers, grapnels, detonators and complicated computers – thank you Ian Fleming! Unfortunately (and you’re going to hate me now), all of these are movie accessories. But nonetheless, the inventiveness of intelligence agencies was huge in the 50’s, on both sides of the Iron Curtain. The result is an amazing (by 1950’s standards) piece of miniaturization, a watch featuring a microphone and a mini-recorder, made to be stashed in your spy-coat.
The Minifon P55 Watch Microphone, a German piece of engineering, was a state-of-the-art piece of equipment for spy organizations, police departments and private investigators. The watch, a classical 17-jewel Profona chronograph, was just a cover for a hidden microphone, linked with an “unobtrusive” cable to a “miniaturized” audio recorder. The “pocket-size” (I can’t believe that I actually wrote this) recorder had to be worn on your person and, using a cable smartly and secretly attached to your arm, you could connect it to your spy-watch. The difficulty was to keep your watch uncovered enough under one of your shirt’s cuffs to let the microphone work (but not too much, as you would then risk revealing the cable and being unmasked), while secretly proceeding to interrogate an enemy of the State. But all of that was a piece of cake for the consummate spy that you were.
The kit was composed of a microphone-watch, a cable, a recorder-only device (in fact, you could not play back with it), a lapel-microphone, Stethoscope-type earphones and a very elegant leather cover – the spy is always chic.
Just for the fun of it, don’t forget to take a look at the original brochure down there. (click to enlarge)
All pictures from www.pimall.com