Classic watches, watchmaking, antique tools, history, vintage ephemera and more!

Learn about mechanical timepieces and how they work, the history of the American watch industry and especially all about the Elgin National Watch Company! Check back for new content daily.

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Human Clocks

From American Horologist magazine, March, 1945

Human Clocks

Selling WATCHES or ALARM CLOCKS to the Quichua Indians down Ecuador way comes in the same class as selling palm leaf fans to Eskimos.

These South American natives do not need TIMEPIECES. That's because the Quichuas can tell the exact MOMENT, day or night, with their minds. Just how they do it has horologists stumped. 'It is not a matter of checking- with the sun, because the CLOCK-minded Indians can tell the TIME at Midnight, with equal accuracy.

In Ecuador and Peru, all of the highland labor is done by the Quichuas. Not one of these descendants of the Incas owns a CLOCK, yet they all report for work promptly at seven in the morning, quit at twelve sharp, return to their jobs in the fields at two, and stop on the stroke of four in the afternoon.

How do they do it? Scientists have often tried to figure it out.

From the Indians themselves, they can learn nothing. The Indian knows how to keep a secret, and this is one of the most baffling secrets the scientist has run up against. 

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