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Thread: Early Quartz 'The children of the revolution'

  1. #1
    Master
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    Early Quartz 'The children of the revolution'

    Well, i'm laid up at home after slipping down the stairs last night, knackering the ligaments in my knee and being unable to walk! so I thought I would share my thoughts on a watch topic close to my heart, the early HEQ (high end quartz) revolution of the 1970's, enjoy:

    Since it’s introduction back in the late 1960’s quartz technology in wristwatches has revolutionised the watch industry, some would argue being the most significant development in watch making since the invention of the escapement and balance.

    When it was introduced in the late 1960’s it really was hailed as the future of Swiss watch making. The first ‘production’ watches appeared from Swiss makers in 1969 sharing what has now become the grandfather of quartz movements, the beta 21, a movement so advanced and expensive to develop and produce it took 16 independent Swiss watch companies working together including Rolex, Patek, IWC and Omega to develop the movement to a production model.

    Below is an image of one of my ex watches, a 1971 Omega Electroquartz running the above mentioned beta21, Omega was probably the manufacturer who made the most of the Beta21 movements, running them in a range of Electroquartz models:



    The beta 21 was a work of art, effectively a tuning fork watch, in a mechanical movement controlled by a quartz circuit with a frequency of 8192Khz or to us layman 8192 vibrations per second, at the time giving an unrivalled accuracy of circa 5SPM, far beyond that of even the best Rolex or Omega mechanical movement of today, even with all the coaxial technology etc this really still cant be rivaled.

    Below is a beta21 in 1/75 18K gold IWC Da-vinci's:



    From there on it the quartz movement really took hold, technology developing and changing on an almost monthly basis. Throughout the 1970’s the technology spiraled out of control, new models, new movements and in many cases an almost unbelievable product line up.

    However, in the period of huge change and development many companies lost their way, an influx of competitor watches from Asia at costs Swiss companies couldn’t compete with forced some of the Swiss brands to compromise the quality of their watches whilst at the same time keeping their prices very high. A point came in the early 1980’s when the Swiss industry was on it’s knees and the future of Swiss watch making became very unsure. Many companies had diluted their product line so much that customers stopped buying, this added to the movements in many watches being cheaply mass produced quartz pushed many established brands to the brink of extinction. Had it not been for the popularity of Swatch (for example) we would have almost certainly lost brands like Omega, Rado etc etc

    All of that said, the 1970’s was a time of huge development, of pushing the boundaries of watch making both mechanically and aesthetically, introducing wonders of technology we now accept as common place like LED and LCD movements, mechanical and electronic hybrid chronographs, the list goes on,

    Below is my personal overview of three of the most beautiful and significant Quartz watches ever developed and produced by a Swiss watch brands. They are in my humble opinion three of the most technologically significant watches ever made, all sharing an accuracy that no mechanical watch, irrelevant of the cost can rival even today, a staggering 40 years (in the case of two of the watches) later.

    My choice of watches are not to everyone’s taste and they are just a sample of literally dozens of significant quartz watches from manufacturers from across the globe (like the Citizen Cryston 4mega) but I hope they will go some way to de-villanising the quartz watch and make even the most die hard mechanical watch enthusiast realise that there are quartz watches out there with ‘soul’ that really are something to behold and should be put on a pedestal by all of us watch enthusiasts, if only for their advancement of technology.

    Born in a time when the world really was in watch makings version of the industrial revolution, where convention and boundaries where thrown out of the window and when technology was developed that we would never see again, producing accuracy in watches that would remain unrivalled decades on. In all three cases produced not as less expensive versions of their mechanical equivalents but as the total opposite, as range topper costing in some cases ten times that of the very best of their equivalent mechanical counterparts.

    In date order I give you:

    1) The Omega Constellation Megaquartz F2.4Mhz ‘Stardust’

    Introduced in it’s prototype form at the 1970 Basel fair and boasting an accuracy of 1 second per month, the watch was effectively the most important watch Omega had introduced in terms of technological development and accuracy ever.



    The prototype appeared as a production model in late 1971 in the form of the Omega Constellation Stardust, singularly the companies most expensive non solid gold watch, at the time a staggering circa £700 or equivalent nigh on £12000 of todays hard earned readies the price of a good quality family car (in 1971).

    The movement was branded as 1510, controlled by an enormous quartz circuit beating/oscillating at a mind warping 2.4 millions times per second, the average modern quartz oscillates at around 32000 times per second.

    (library pic)



    Because of the production costs only (although debated by some, including me) 1000 examples of the 1510 where produced in a mixture of ‘waffle dial’ and the well known ‘stardust’, denoting the hand made aventurine crystal dial filled with hundred of tiny chips of crystal mined from a single Peruvian source and painstakingly applied by hand, giving the appearance of a star filled night sky. The watch was housed in either stainless steel or 18K gold cases manufactured on an independent line at the Fontana factory in Italy and fitted with either a solid steel/18K bracelet or leather strap designed specifically for the watch with deployment buckle.

    The example shown is my own watch, the second quartz watch I ever bought (after my quartz Omega Bond I received for my 21st) and one of my most prized possessions. It’s a NOS example, i.e prior to me never worn by a soul and came with all the boxes and papers. In the three years I have owned the watch is loses somewhere between 1/3 of a second and 1 second per month, depending on temperature as they are not thermo compensated (i.e temperature impacts on their performance)



    Although beauty is in the eye of the beholder I think most would struggle to find criticism of a watch so well made, in such small number and being IMHO representative of a decade, which bore most of the technological revolutions we all enjoy today

    2) The Omega Megaquartz F2.4Mhz ‘Marine Chronometer’

    Appearing on the market about nine months after the introduction of the Megaquartz F2.4Hmz Stardust this was Omegas most accurate wristwatch ever produced. Effectively mechanically identical to the Stardust variant but under the movement type of 1511 these watches where (unlike the stardust) tested and certified at the Besacon institute and awarded the status of Marine Chronometers and with an accuracy of 1 second per month (although my own pictured example runs at about ½ a second per month currently) they have never been bettered by Omega or to my knowledge any other Swiss watch maker in terms of accuracy.



    Cased in individually numbered (to match the movement) stainless steel cases with 14K bezels and bespoke dials and crystals, produced in limited and (Omega verified) numbers of 1000 1511 units. They really are a marmite watch if ever I saw one, you either love the design or hate it, I personally love it, and IMHO if it was good enough to grace the wrist of the famous Jacques Cousteau then it’s good enough for me.



    3) The Rolex ‘Oysterquartz’

    Despite Rolex’s reputation for mechanical excellence in watch making, they did indeed produce one of the best quartz watches ever made. Originally introduced in 1971 the ‘Oysterquartz’ shared the same beta21 movement used in IWC’s Da-Vinci, Omega Electroquartz and Pateks 3587 The watch was produced in tiny numbers and if you can find one today you will have to shell out a great deal more than you imagine, the last one I saw for sale went north of £25K

    In 1977 after five years of development Rolex released their first in house Quartz movement, the 5035 and 5055 (day date), these really are gorgeous to behold, an 11 jewel 32Khz quartz movement, far less than the oscillation of the Megaquartz F2.4 Mhz but with mechanical thermo compensation, resulting in an accuracy to rival that of the Megaquartz.



    The finish on these movements (as seen in this library image I borrowed from oysterquartz.net) really shows off the lengths Rolex went to, finished to an equal if not higher standard than their automatic equivalents.



    The case design on the Oysterquartz is what really does it for me, a nice and very wearable oystercase with a very angular design and a very retro ‘of its’ time’ integrated bracelet (in the 17000 model).



    The modern day Achilles heel of these watches is their maintenance cost, only one place in the world that I know of now service the Megaquartz F2.4Mhz officially; the UK’s Omega restoration centre Swiss Time Services, but the service costs start at £500 and can run far higher if there is a need for new circuits or motors (which are available in a very limited supply). That said, a good mechanical watch can cost that to service nowadays! All of mine have been officially serviced, my Stardust is as accurate now as it was when it was done three years back! Anyone who has one in need of a spa treatment you can find STS here:

    http://www.swisstimeservices.com

    Likewise the Oysterquartz’s are extremely expensive to maintain and the parts are becoming rarer by the day, my own Oysterquartz pictured above came from a mate on the forum, althought stunning it wasn’t running right, loosing a second or two a day, a test on the original equipment revealed the quartz was 'out of tolerance' So, its just had a full service, including a replacement quartz module, which cost what a lot of good modern watches cost (as it was out of tolerance and although 0.54 SPD seems great it should be about 0.01-0.08 SPD), it also had to have the motor completely stripped and the drive hair spring repaired by hand as it was cracked and finally a full service. It’s been running for a week and hasn’t skipped a beat against the other two!

    So, in summary, I feel quartz gets a bad rap nowadays and I guess in some cases rightly so, but I think the three watches above (and many more from other manufacturers both Swiss and Japanese) really represent what quartz watches are really about, not cheap mass manufactured timepieces lacking the ‘soul’ of their automatic brothers, but marvels of the electronic age, fast becoming relics of a bygone era when money for development was of little or no consequence, quality was of the utmost importance and accuracy was the holy grail of watch making.

    Food for though

    Cheers Tom

  2. #2
    Grand Master Daddelvirks's Avatar
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    Re: You wont fool the children of the ‘quartz’ revolution

    Thanks for posting!
    I enjoyed reading that, and the pics are helpfull as well.
    That Omega movement looks huge and indestructable!!!
    I've always wondered how long a battery lasts in those..............

    Cheers,

    Daddel.
    Got a new watch, divers watch it is, had to drown the bastard to get it!

  3. #3
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    Re: You wont fool the children of the ‘quartz’ revolution

    Great post, thanks for the effort

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    Re: You wont fool the children of the ‘quartz’ revolution

    Lovely watches and works of art indeed, is so easy to dismiss quartz in the sea of cheap and nasty movements that are in every supermarket and forget the history behind them.

    A good quartz movement can hold its had high in any collection and the examples you show here are second to none.

    Great post!

  5. #5
    Master
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    Re: You wont fool the children of the ‘quartz’ revolution

    Quote Originally Posted by Daddelvirks
    Thanks for posting!
    I enjoyed reading that, and the pics are helpfull as well.
    That Omega movement looks huge and indestructable!!!
    I've always wondered how long a battery lasts in those..............

    Cheers,

    Daddel.
    Thanks

    It really depends, the battery in my Marine Chronometer has been on the go for about 16 months now but the one in the stardust was replaced after less than a year! They do suck the juice but nothing like these puppies:


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    Grand Master Neil.C's Avatar
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    Re: You wont fool the children of the ‘quartz’ revolution

    Very interesting post, I can tell you are at a loose end. :lol: :wink:

    I must admit I am always suspicious of quartz watches spareswise and is one reason I'd never buy a spring drive but you have definitely given your enthusiasm free rein with that article and it is all the better for it. :)
    Cheers,
    Neil.

    My Speedmaster website:

    http://www.freewebs.com/neil271052

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    Grand Master Daddelvirks's Avatar
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    Re: You wont fool the children of the ‘quartz’ revolution

    Quote Originally Posted by dickstar1977
    Quote Originally Posted by Daddelvirks
    Thanks for posting!
    I enjoyed reading that, and the pics are helpfull as well.
    That Omega movement looks huge and indestructable!!!
    I've always wondered how long a battery lasts in those..............

    Cheers,

    Daddel.
    Thanks

    It really depends, the battery in my Marine Chronometer has been on the go for about 16 months now but the one in the stardust was replaced after less than a year! They do suck the juice but nothing like these puppies:

    Thanks :)

    Seems reasonabl, and with those big screws at the back it's probably a do it yourself job..........

    Cheers,

    Daddel.
    Got a new watch, divers watch it is, had to drown the bastard to get it!

  8. #8
    Master
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    Re: You wont fool the children of the ‘quartz’ revolution

    Quote Originally Posted by Neil.C
    Very interesting post, I can tell you are at a loose end. :lol: :wink:

    I must admit I am always suspicious of quartz watches spareswise and is one reason I'd never buy a spring drive but you have definitely given your enthusiasm free rein with that article and it is all the better for it. :)
    Thanks Neil

    Parts aren't always easy to get and servicing isn't the cheapest either but I guess you could say the same of a great many vintage watches! I do love quartz but at the same time have a lot more mechanical watches than I have quartz ones! For me the above are something special and sadly I think that quartz does get a bad rap nowadays, that said no one is making movements or watches like the above anymore, I took the back off my SMP quartz bond a few weeks back, it's certainly no Oysterquartz, thats for sure!

    Cheers Tom

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    Master
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    Re: You wont fool the children of the ‘quartz’ revolution

    Daddel

    I have changed them on beta21's but I leave the MQ's to STS, I wouldn't forgive myself if I slipped with the screwdriver

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    Re: You wont fool the children of the ‘quartz’ revolution

    Thanks for sharing Tom, I really enjoyed it. I found this http://www.mancini99.freeserve.co.uk...uartz__te.html while looking for more info about the 2.4MHz movement.

  11. #11

    Re: Early Quartz 'The children of the revolution'

    Brilliant Tom, really enjoyed that

  12. #12
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    Re: You wont fool the children of the ‘quartz’ revolution

    Quote Originally Posted by ketiljo
    Thanks for sharing Tom, I really enjoyed it. I found this http://www.mancini99.freeserve.co.uk...uartz__te.html while looking for more info about the 2.4MHz movement.
    This is the last piece I wrote on the MQ2.4:

    http://www.thewatchforum.co.uk/index.ph ... eview&st=0

    Cheers Tom

  13. #13
    Master JCJM's Avatar
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    Re: Early Quartz 'The children of the revolution'

    Beta21?

    Nah.... What you really want is a G-P cal 352 :wink:

    Pic by StuartD



    See http://www.crazywatches.pl/girard-perre ... uartz-1972

    PS. thanks for this article. It was like a haven on a dry desert. It´s about time these under-looked pieces start getting the credit and admiration they rightly deserve.

  14. #14
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    Re: Early Quartz 'The children of the revolution'

    interesting article, thanks for posting. i remember reading somwhere that quartz movements were invented much earlier than people think, about the mids '20's, but were discarded. i think it was Pierce, but i could be (and probably am!) wrong!
    ktmog6uk
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    Re: Early Quartz 'The children of the revolution'

    Good post Tom, it's high time someone tried to educate the masses so thanks for that :thumbright:

    Unfortunately quartz has a poor reputation because of the Swiss watch industries own greed imho. They started off really well and took the moral high ground with research, design and quality control. This was inevitably expensive but they were willing to invest as it was seen as the future of time keeping in its day. Faced with the onslaught of Japanese manufacturers however they couldn't hope to compete on price but they tried and in doing so dumbed quartz movements down. So most modern ETA quartz movements are found in a vast range of watches covering a huge price range. Not so dissimilar to the ubiquitous ETA mechanical movements really.

    As a side note my own Stardust lost a mere 2 seconds over a year and some of that might well be down to user error when I was setting it. Personally I find it amazing that a watch that's nearly 40 years old can keep such fantastic time. They well not be to everyones taste but there's no denying their superb accuracy, imho this is Omega at its best.



    Cheers,
    Gary

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    Re: Early Quartz 'The children of the revolution'

    Excellent post...very interesting reading so thsnks for posting that :)

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    Re: Early Quartz 'The children of the revolution'

    That's a great post. Didn't know very much about quartz at all, so enjoyed reading that.

    regards,
    Nick

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    Re: Early Quartz 'The children of the revolution'

    Thanks for all the great comments everyone!

    Gary, I agree, sadly it was the Swiss Watch Industries own greed and short sightedness that nearly did them in! I also agree about the use of the ETA movements, there are some Omegas for example from the 1980's I really like, the recief SM120 diver for example, but I would never buy one because a) the build quality is appalling and b) the 1430 Omega used right through the 1980's and 1990's is nothing more than an ETA with a dress plate!

    Thankfully there are still enough of these early HEQ watches around to remind us of those early days when as you say development and quality were outstanding!

    Cheers Tom

  19. #19

    Re: Early Quartz 'The children of the revolution'

    Nice post, Tom, and some lovely watches. I'm another that has a soft spot for these quartz watches - and with the 1970's style cases, they are undoubtedly very cool 8)


    Quote Originally Posted by dickstar1977

    Because of the production costs only (although debated by some, including me) 1000 examples of the 1510 where produced in a mixture of ‘waffle dial’ and the well known ‘stardust’
    Don't forget the third dial variant - the plain blue "pupitre" dial. I have no idea how common they are, but they must certainly be rarer than the very vulgar "stardust" dial (judging from the number of stardust owners on this forum) :lol:


  20. #20

    Re: Early Quartz 'The children of the revolution'

    Quote Originally Posted by dickstar1977
    Well, i'm laid up at home after slipping down the stairs last night, knackering the ligaments in my knee and being unable to walk! so I thought I would share my thoughts on a watch topic close to my heart, the early HEQ (high end quartz) revolution of the 1970's, enjoy:
    ...
    So, in summary, I feel quartz gets a bad rap nowadays and I guess in some cases rightly so, but I think the three watches above (and many more from other manufacturers both Swiss and Japanese) really represent what quartz watches are really about, not cheap mass manufactured timepieces lacking the ‘soul’ of their automatic brothers, but marvels of the electronic age, fast becoming relics of a bygone era when money for development was of little or no consequence, quality was of the utmost importance and accuracy was the holy grail of watch making.

    Food for though

    Cheers Tom
    Good writing (even if I disagree with the Oysterquartz being anywhere near the accuracy of the 2.4 MHz Marine Chrono).

    Oh, and if you are really bored you can also look at articles about some less expensive HEQ - for instance http://caranfil.org/harrison/harrison_legacy.html :wink:

  21. #21
    Master
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    Re: Early Quartz 'The children of the revolution'

    Quote Originally Posted by Toshi
    Nice post, Tom, and some lovely watches. I'm another that has a soft spot for these quartz watches - and with the 1970's style cases, they are undoubtedly very cool 8)


    Quote Originally Posted by dickstar1977

    Because of the production costs only (although debated by some, including me) 1000 examples of the 1510 where produced in a mixture of ‘waffle dial’ and the well known ‘stardust’
    Don't forget the third dial variant - the plain blue "pupitre" dial. I have no idea how common they are, but they must certainly be rarer than the very vulgar "stardust" dial (judging from the number of stardust owners on this forum) :lol:

    Thanks Rich

    I think I am on too main pain meds today, I of all people should know there are at least three dial variants as I own one puprite dial now and I have sold another!!

  22. #22

    Re: Early Quartz 'The children of the revolution'

    Very interesting, thanks for posting.

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    Re: Early Quartz 'The children of the revolution'

    Forgot to say I hope you knee isn't too painful, here's to a speedy recovery mate.

    Cheers,
    Gary

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    Re: Early Quartz 'The children of the revolution'

    Quote Originally Posted by Omegary
    Forgot to say I hope you knee isn't too painful, here's to a speedy recovery mate.

    Cheers,
    Gary
    Hi mate

    It's getting there, I just hate the smell of emugel in the mornings! :D

  25. #25
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    Re: Early Quartz 'The children of the revolution'

    A very informative read, Tom, thanks for going to the trouble to put that together.

    Hope the knee comes good soon!

    Cheers

    Dave

  26. #26

    Re: Early Quartz 'The children of the revolution'


    Excellent !! - Superb! - So many memories.


    Anyone with pictures of Patek (Jumbo Beta, perhaps) and Vacheron!? :lol:

  27. #27
    Master
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    Re: Early Quartz 'The children of the revolution'

    Quote Originally Posted by DB7W1

    Excellent !! - Superb! - So many memories.


    Anyone with pictures of Patek (Jumbo Beta, perhaps) and Vacheron!? :lol:


    As requested the Beta21 Patek Jumo:



    And the daddy of them all, the predecessor to the wrist watch version of the beta21, a full blown clock version:



    Although I think the movement needed some development to get it to wristwatch status, the quartz is the size of a chocolate finger:


  28. #28

    Re: Early Quartz 'The children of the revolution'

    Excellent post. Thanks for sharing your knowledge. I enjoyed reading it and learnt a few things along the way.

    Its a shame that quartz watches aren't made to the same standards today, maybe they would be respected more if they were.

    Cheers
    Luke

    P.S I really want one of those clocks! :D

  29. #29
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    Re: Early Quartz 'The children of the revolution'

    Quote Originally Posted by dickstar1977
    When it was introduced in the late 1960’s it really was hailed as the future of Swiss watch making. The first ‘production’ watches appeared from Swiss makers in 1969 sharing what has now become the grandfather of quartz movements, the beta 21, a movement so advanced and expensive to develop and produce it took 16 independent Swiss watch companies working together including Rolex, Patek, IWC and Omega to develop the movement to a production model.
    Oooooffff. That is rewriting history with pink tinted glasses.

    Seiko sold the first quartz world permiere, the Astron, on december 25th 1969 and they, Seiko, with their quartzes took the whole of the Swiss watch industry to the brink of extinction.

    It was not untill Biver and Hayek brilliantly turned the tables with the cheap plastic Swatch quartzes financing the marketing of luxury mechanicals.
    The 1st of march 1983 should be conmemorated as thé crucial date in Swiss watchmaking. Not rewriting fake history. That does not do anybody right.
    When the going gets tough, the DAF gets going.

  30. #30
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    Re: Early Quartz 'The children of the revolution'

    Quote Originally Posted by Huertecilla
    Quote Originally Posted by dickstar1977
    When it was introduced in the late 1960’s it really was hailed as the future of Swiss watch making. The first ‘production’ watches appeared from Swiss makers in 1969 sharing what has now become the grandfather of quartz movements, the beta 21, a movement so advanced and expensive to develop and produce it took 16 independent Swiss watch companies working together including Rolex, Patek, IWC and Omega to develop the movement to a production model.
    Oooooffff. That is rewriting history with pink tinted glasses.

    Seiko sold the first quartz world permiere, the Astron, on december 25th 1969 and they, Seiko, with their quartzes took the whole of the Swiss watch industry to the brink of extinction.

    It was not untill Biver and Hayek brilliantly turned the tables with the cheap plastic Swatch quartzes financing the marketing of luxury mechanicals.
    The 1st of march 1983 should be conmemorated as thé crucial date in Swiss watchmaking. Not rewriting fake history. That does not do anybody right.
    Huertecilla

    Some great info but not sure what you mean? please re read what I wrote, I didn't say that the Swiss where the first to produce quartz, I said:

    The first ‘production’ watches appeared from Swiss makers in 1969 sharing what has now become the grandfather of quartz movements, the beta 21, a movement so advanced and expensive to develop and produce it took 16 independent Swiss watch companies working together including Rolex, Patek, IWC and Omega to develop the movement to a production model.

    I didn't say once that these where the first quartz watches??? Think it's a bit harsh saying rewriting fake history

    It is my understanding that the first Seiko Astron was not what we would class as a production watch and that they were more a small run of prototype style watches? but of course I could be wrong, and probably am?

    Cheers Tom

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    Re: Early Quartz 'The children of the revolution'

    Quote Originally Posted by RaulGonzalez
    Its a shame that quartz watches aren't made to the same standards today, maybe they would be respected more if they were.
    They still are!!

    Rolex continues to make VERY well designed and made quarz (non tc) movements for their Celllini range.
    ETA still makes the éxcellent thermoline and those feature in p.e. the Breitling aeros.
    Citizen offer the 5 sec./year 10 year warranty A660 in the Chronomaster and two pocket watches.
    Seiko has the time proven and honoured rock solid 9Fxx with their 50 year service interval in various Grand Seiko models; http://www.gmtplusnine.com/2008/06/14/n ... -accuracy/


    High end quartz is very much alive and kicking. It still is the pinnacle of time keeping in wristwatches.
    Them being largely unknown to general WISdom is a result and proof of the successful marketing campaign intiated and nurtured by Biver and Hayek to grow into the pink marketing of today making heq all but invisible.
    When the going gets tough, the DAF gets going.

  32. #32
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    Re: Early Quartz 'The children of the revolution'

    Quote Originally Posted by Huertecilla
    Quote Originally Posted by RaulGonzalez
    Its a shame that quartz watches aren't made to the same standards today, maybe they would be respected more if they were.
    They still are!!

    Rolex continues to make VERY well designed and made quarz (non tc) movements for their Celllini range.
    ETA still makes the éxcellent thermoline and those feature in p.e. the Breitling aeros.
    Citizen offer the 5 sec./year 10 year warranty A660 in the Chronomaster and two pocket watches.
    Seiko has the time proven and honoured rock solid 9Fxx with their 50 year service interval in various Grand Seiko models; http://www.gmtplusnine.com/2008/06/14/n ... -accuracy/


    High end quartz is very much alive and kicking. It still is the pinnacle of time keeping in wristwatches.
    Them being largely unknown to general WISdom is a result and proof of the successful marketing campaign intiated and nurtured by Biver and Hayek to grow into the pink marketing of today making heq all but invisible.
    Very good point, there are still a lot of really good HEQ's out there, but it is a real shame that in many cases they don't get the credit they deserve

    Cheers Tom

  33. #33
    Master
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    Re: Early Quartz 'The children of the revolution'

    Great post with fantastic info for a "watch newbie" like me. Bazzing pictures of some gorgeous watches I'd never even seen before!

    Kudos. Hope you feel better soon by the way.

  34. #34
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    Re: Early Quartz 'The children of the revolution'

    Quote Originally Posted by dickstar1977
    but it is a real shame that in many cases they don't get the credit they deserve.
    The bright side is that an open mind will let you acquire 5 to 10 secs./year accuracy in thé top notch cases with less maintenance for less money :bounce:

    I bought three )F GSs, including one in 18k, for less than the price of óne main stream swiss luxury mechanical :mrgreen:

    That happens to be japanese but the same applies to swiss.
    A pre-loved Breitling Aerospace must surely be one of thé Swiss mainstream bargains.

    Easily found well under 1k Euros:



    There is no discussing taste nor appreciation, but value for money wise you get FAR better performance, more functionality, less maintenance, for fár less money in the same quality hardware.
    When the going gets tough, the DAF gets going.

  35. #35
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    Re: Early Quartz 'The children of the revolution'

    When the going gets tough, the DAF gets going.

  36. #36

    Re: Early Quartz 'The children of the revolution'

    One of the most interesting posts I have read in a long time! It is a real shame that Omega have lost that sense of adventure that seemed to be so alive in the 70's. And to think of the incredible advances in technology that were made, only to revert back to mechanical movements! The other thing that makes these watches special to me is their design, which was not borrowed from the past, it was designed with an eye to the future. Modern Omega product design is almost entirely borrowed from the past, there is no attempt to produce something new or break from tradition in the way that these watches did. I know that they make what sells and take as few risks as possible, but the result IMO leaves little to get excited about!

  37. #37
    Grand Master Neil.C's Avatar
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    Re: Early Quartz 'The children of the revolution'

    Quote Originally Posted by Huertecilla
    There is no discussing taste nor appreciation, but value for money wise you get FAR better performance, more functionality, less maintenance, for fár less money in the same quality hardware.
    Very true but then you lose the wonderful idiosyncrasy of the mechanical watch which WIS'es the world over recognise, prefer and love as opposed to a battery driven computer. :P
    Cheers,
    Neil.

    My Speedmaster website:

    http://www.freewebs.com/neil271052

  38. #38
    Grand Master Neil.C's Avatar
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    Re: Early Quartz 'The children of the revolution'

    Quote Originally Posted by Huertecilla
    Quote Originally Posted by dickstar1977
    When it was introduced in the late 1960’s it really was hailed as the future of Swiss watch making. The first ‘production’ watches appeared from Swiss makers in 1969 sharing what has now become the grandfather of quartz movements, the beta 21, a movement so advanced and expensive to develop and produce it took 16 independent Swiss watch companies working together including Rolex, Patek, IWC and Omega to develop the movement to a production model.
    Oooooffff. That is rewriting history with pink tinted glasses.

    Seiko sold the first quartz world permiere, the Astron, on december 25th 1969 and they, Seiko, with their quartzes took the whole of the Swiss watch industry to the brink of extinction.
    As quoted many times before the Astron was the price of a new Toyota Corolla so not exactly market friendly and was never going to be a big seller was it? :lol:

    It was the appearance of cheap Jap quartz watches that wrecked the Swiss mechanical industry not the high quality ones.

    Seiko obviously thought in their cold logical way the future of watchmaking was quartz (in itself a cold logical machine). It must have amazed them when some people still bought mechanical watches especially when they saw the market for all mechanical Rolexes.

    It even made them open up mechanical Grand Seiko again after shutting it down. :wink:
    Cheers,
    Neil.

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    http://www.freewebs.com/neil271052

  39. #39
    Master Optimum's Avatar
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    Re: Early Quartz 'The children of the revolution'

    Quote Originally Posted by MR T
    One of the most interesting posts I have read in a long time! It is a real shame that Omega have lost that sense of adventure that seemed to be so alive in the 70's. And to think of the incredible advances in technology that were made, only to revert back to mechanical movements! The other thing that makes these watches special to me is their design, which was not borrowed from the past, it was designed with an eye to the future. Modern Omega product design is almost entirely borrowed from the past, there is no attempt to produce something new or break from tradition in the way that these watches did. I know that they make what sells and take as few risks as possible, but the result IMO leaves little to get excited about!
    Couldn't have put it better myself. Omega was a brand I had zero interest in until I realised how exciting their 70s range really was. 8)

  40. #40
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    Re: Early Quartz 'The children of the revolution'

    Quote Originally Posted by Neil.C

    It even made them open up mechanical Grand Seiko again after shutting it down. :wink:
    Seiko they took 10 years to revive the mechanical after reopening the Grand Seiko line using tc quartz engines to move the hands of the watches.
    The 9Fxx is now 17 years going strong.

    Seiko as a company does not care wether it makes mechanicals or tc quartz. It is simply responding to market demand.
    The Japanese Chronometer certifying body closed down in ´83 because there were not enough chronometers put up for certifying.
    This was not a cas of chicken-or-egg; the japanese marked simply did not want to pay a premium for a les accurate watch in sufficient numbers.
    Since Seiko did not depend on mechanicals or quartz either way, unlike the swiss industry they had no need to create demand for their mechanicals.
    Todays market is asking for mechanicals again because the swiss have created a ´need´, so Seikos are making mechanicals again.
    With a passion for perfection in the Grand Seikos. Either quartz, mechanical of the cyborg sd :mrgreen:

    Anyway, the most accurate tc quartz ever was the 1975 +/- 3 secs./year Citizen 4 mega quartz.
    When the going gets tough, the DAF gets going.

  41. #41
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    Re: Early Quartz 'The children of the revolution'

    Quote Originally Posted by Neil.C

    As quoted many times before the Astron was the price of a new Toyota Corolla so not exactly market friendly and was never going to be a big seller was it? :lol:
    No, it was most definitely high end.
    It was made in solid 18k even.
    Seiko sure rationalised quartz yet never abandoned their high end quartz line. They continued with the twin quartz and upgrades/evolutions/redesigns all the way to the 9Fxx of today.
    The Grand Seiko line offered heq for 22 years before GS went world wide this year.
    The even kept the 18k heq tradition up for 41 years!!

    Citizen is pretty much the same. From the early seventies till today they have kept the heq flag flying high. Availeble too in 18k in line with them being high end both as a movement and as a watch.
    When the going gets tough, the DAF gets going.

  42. #42
    Craftsman
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    Re: Early Quartz 'The children of the revolution'

    I don't want to start a new thread for this and it fits the topic rather well:
    I think that Junghans is often overlooked when talking about early quartz watches.
    They started with the Astro-Chron table clocks in 1967 (pictures) and in 1970 the first german quartz wristwatch, the Astro Quartz with the cal. J666.00 went on sale.
    Here are some pics of my battered Astro-Quartz, cal J666.02 probably from around 73' (AFAIK only minor changes compared to the J666.00).
    the Stepper design is -I think- similar to the Beta 21, the J666.02 still has a shock protection for the anchor while the .03 hasn't. The quartz oscilates at a frequency of 32768 Hz, so basically the same frequency as nowadays.
    Not as pretty as the early swiss stuff though :)



  43. #43

    Re: Early Quartz 'The children of the revolution'

    :D Brilliant post, learnt quite a bit about early quartz, a stardust is a must have for me if I ever have that much spare cash lying around, I have at least been lucky enough to try one albeit briefly 8)

  44. #44
    Master
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    Re: Early Quartz 'The children of the revolution'

    Thoroughly enjoyed that - thank you. Hope the injuries are improving though!

    I've always liked HEQ and I'm still kicking myself for selling my two Aerospaces (hunting another). Fabulous watches. Always fancied one of the Megaquartzes. And the Time Computer was the very first watch that sparked my interested in things WISsy when I was about 11.

    Great post - and thanks again.

  45. #45
    Grand Master
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    Re: Early Quartz 'The children of the revolution'

    Quote Originally Posted by neuman356
    I think that Junghans is often overlooked when talking about early quartz watches.
    They are pretty much overlooked today too.

    Thank sfor sharing the pictures!

    What is that screw down with double locking mechanism doing?
    It cannot be to locate the lid because it has a tab and slot for that.
    Looks highly intriguing and I lóve the construction of it.

    p.s. I enjoyed the photo of the movement especially because this has the reduction gears showing so clearly, illustrating the mechanical part of a quartz timed watch movement.
    When the going gets tough, the DAF gets going.

  46. #46
    Craftsman
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    Re: Early Quartz 'The children of the revolution'

    Quote Originally Posted by Huertecilla
    Quote Originally Posted by neuman356
    I think that Junghans is often overlooked when talking about early quartz watches.
    They are pretty much overlooked today too.

    Thank sfor sharing the pictures!

    What is that screw down with double locking mechanism doing?
    It cannot be to locate the lid because it has a tab and slot for that.
    Looks highly intriguing and I lóve the construction of it.

    p.s. I enjoyed the photo of the movement especially because this has the reduction gears showing so clearly, illustrating the mechanical part of a quartz timed watch movement.
    Hi!
    Not sure if I got your question right, but the thing next to the battery hatch is actaully the crown!
    The design is a bit whacky, when that small hinged adjustment lever is in vertical position you can set the date and when its in vertical position and pulled out you can set the time :)

  47. #47
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    Re: Early Quartz 'The children of the revolution'

    Quote Originally Posted by neuman356
    Hi!
    Not sure if I got your question right, but the thing next to the battery hatch is actaully the crown!
    The design is a bit whacky, when that small hinged adjustment lever is in vertical position you can set the date and when its in vertical position and pulled out you can set the time :)
    Yes you got it right and now I get ther design completely.
    Nothing wacky about it at all.
    Sound thinking actually since with battery and an accurate movement why leave the design spoiling crown where it molests??
    A suunken position in the back asks for an bit elaborate design but wacky it is not in the least. To leave it in the conventional position is far stranger!
    Fat bonus points for Junghans there.
    When the going gets tough, the DAF gets going.

  48. #48
    Craftsman Slartibartfast's Avatar
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    Re: Early Quartz 'The children of the revolution'

    Superb post on some very interesting models. Thanks for bringing this to the forum.

  49. #49
    Craftsman
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    Re: Early Quartz 'The children of the revolution'

    great post, i really enjoyed reading that.
    thanks. :)
    jim.

  50. #50
    Master
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    Re: Early Quartz 'The children of the revolution'

    Thanks for all the positive comments chaps, these watches are amongst the favourite ones I own, I am loving the OQ at the moment, great watch and according to the 52mil serial number a birth year watch for me (1977) and probably one of the very early ones made, I am just in the process of sourcing a nice early non Superlative Chronometer dial for it

    Cheers Tom

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