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Steineck ABC Wristwatch Camera

Circa 1949, West Germany

This cleverly disguised subminiature camera allowed an agent to take photographs while pretending to check his or her watch. At first glance it’s a stylish wristwatch. But look again—it’s really a miniature camera. An agent would carefully aim the camera while pretending to check the time—no easy feat since there was no viewfinder. Pressing a button on the watch snapped the photo. The Steineck, a product of post-war Germany, was especially good for photographing secret meetings, private conversations, and other close encounters. Its film disk, about an inch across, could produce eight exposures.

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