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Time to get naughty – the erotic watch

Vintage 19th century erotic watch

Boys will be boys. And back in the days LONG before the internet, it seems they got their naughty little kicks by constantly checking the time.

The erotic watch is something I knew absolutely nothing about (and only discovered when researching a completely unrelated topic); but apparently, these titillating timepieces first became popular in the late 18th century amongst fun-loving aristocrats, and by the turn of the 19th century were very much in vogue.

Code-named ‘conversation pieces’ due to the fruity discussions they no doubt provoked, the porno pocket-watches utilised clockwork movements to create tiny, animated scenes of intimate bliss.

Collection of vintage erotic watches They were also – according to the surprisingly scant information I’ve been unable to uncover online – an extremely sought-after export item, with many of the more elaborate timepieces shipped off to places like China and India.

Things got a little tricky for the erotic watch-makers as the 19th century became progressively more pious, and in Switzerland, for example, production was banned altogether in 1817.

Not that anybody seems to have taken much notice. Instead, the offending mechanisms were simply concealed in hidden compartments that could be flipped open to reveal the, erm, private parts within.

But here’s an odd thing. While I can understand the appeal of the clockwork sex scene in eras devoid of alternative motion-based media, it seems that the clandestine tradition of the erotic watch is still very much alive today. And it’s not as if the modern male is lacking in get-your-rocks off possibilities.

In fact, some of the world’s most prestigious watch manufacturers continue to produce limited edition boys’ toys (like the Blancpain example shown below) which – although they’re generally not featured in the catalogues – are greatly in demand and command unbelievable prices. Like well over $100,000 prices.

So much money simply to watch a tiny metal couple doing it? Whatever makes you tick, I guess.

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