Chronos and Eros


The erotic watch appears in the late XVII century. I guess by the shere monotony of its world view the Mechanical Revolution suggested sex; and I further guess that the incessant movement of all those portable time pieces could have implied an automaton mimicking intercourse. For sure, nothing is closer and at the same time further away from our passions than automaton; and this is probably why the XVIII century replaced that mechanical caricature with a rococo miniature. The erotic watch became an international bestseller: it sold all across Europe and was imported as far as India and China; its popularity peaked on the eve of the French Revolution; its suppression followed the Restoration of monarchy. Two years after the Congress of Vienna, Geneva mandated the suppression of all portable erotica, which drove the watch underground and its price up; we may associate this point in history with the appearance of that legendary overcoat figure offering his merchandise with a flashing gesture, “Would you like to buy a watch?!”

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