This Watch Was Inspired by the TLR Camera

If you’re a fan of both photography and watches, the new TACS ATL was designed just for you. It’s a watch that features a design inspired by the iconic twin-lens reflex (TLR) camera.

Unveiled back TACS in March, the ATL (which stands for Automatic Twin Lens) joins TACS’ Lens Series of watches inspired by various lens and camera designs.

In case you’re not familiar with vintage cameras, a TLR camera is a vintage camera design in which the camera body uses two objective lenses that have the same focal length. One of the lenses is used for the viewfinder system — typically with the photographer framing a scene from above the camera using the ground glass — and the other lens is the one that exposes the film when a photo is exposed.

“First released in the late 1920s, twin-lens cameras were widely used by photojournalists and correspondents to document World War II in Europe thanks to its robust and periscopic design,” TACS states. “It was said that the inventor came up with the idea for the camera during World War I on a trench while peeping through a periscope.”

The TACS ATL pays homage to the TLR camera with a twin-lens camera design on the watch face. The lenses within the leather “camera face” allow the wearer to peek into the skeleton movement of the watch, which winds itself as you wear it — no batteries or manual winding required.

The rotating bezel ring of the 46.5mm watch features etching similar to what’s found on a lens’ focusing ring. The hour index of the watch is inspired by a lens’ depth of field scale, with 8, 9, and 10 hour indexes and minute indexes for 41-44 and 46-49.

On the side of the stainless steel watch, the crown reflects the look of vintage camera focusing knobs and the crown protector looks like a camera strap‘s eyelet slot.

The entire dial is made of 19 different parts stacked in 11 layers.

Inside the TACS ATL is a CITIZEN MIYOTA 8N24 movement with 21 jewels, which you can watch in action through the window on the back of the watch.

Here’s another special touch for photographers: when opening the ATL’s box for the first time, you’re greeted with a faux roll of Kodacolor 200 35mm film — pull out the “film” to expose a series of fun snapshots. Alongside the film is a special “lens cleaning” pen for cleaning the watch’s glass.

The watch itself is presented within a wooden case with a plexiglass lid.

Other specs and features of the watch include sapphire crystal glass with anti-reflective coating, 10ATM water resistance down to 100m/333ft, a thickness of 14.8mm, and a strap width of 24mm.

The TACS ATL watch is available from the TACS website in silver for $579 with free engraving. There’s also a $649 retro gold version that comes with both a leather strap and steel chain.

Full disclosure: A sample watch was provided for the purpose of this article.