First there was the $300,000 watch that only tells you whether it is day or night.

According to several news reports flagged by my friends at Luxist, Swiss watchmaker Romain Jerome just launched the “Day&Night” watch. The watch won’t tell you what time it is. That’s so yesterday. But it does tell you whether it’s day or night — helpful, I guess, for billionaire types who can’t afford windows.

As the company’s Web site boasts: “With no display for the hours, minutes or seconds, the Day&Night offers a new way of measuring time, splitting the universe of time into two fundamentally opposing sections: day versus night.”

What’s most impressive about the Day&Night is its complexity, given its absolute uselessness. The watch features two tourbillons — devices that overcome the ill effects of earth’s gravity on a watch’s accuracy — connected by a differential mechanism. Instead of hands, the watch has a “contemplative tourbillon operation whereby the ‘Day’ tourbillon operates for 12 hours to symbolize working life, while the ‘Night’ tourbillon takes over afterward to represent an individual’s private time.”

Now there are watches that don't tell time at all!

Real luxury is now the ability to stop time. This week Luc Perramond, chief executive of Hermes's watch division, presented the "temps suspendu" (suspended time) model, starting at 18,000 Swiss francs, which stops time at the press of a button and brings it back again.

For 240,000 Swiss francs you can pick up an Hublot watch whose time can be slowed or sped up and another which is all black, making it difficult to tell the time at all.

That luxury can set you back upwards of 15,000 Swiss francs.

"The value of a watch is not to give you time," Hublot Chief Executive Jean-Claude Biver told Reuters.

"Any five dollar watch can do that. What we are offering is the ability for example to stop time or make it disappear... Time is a prison and people want to get out of it sometimes."

These products are great examples of why engineers often don't make good artists.

(HT: Tyler Cowen and Cheap Talk.)

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