Watchismo Times | category: electric


Watchismo Times

THE WATCHISMO TIMES WATCH BLOG A reliquary of obscure timepieces from bygone eras as well as the cutting-edge watch designs of today.

More Accurate Than God! Two vintage 60s Bulova Accutron Commercials

1960s Clocktower Video-->Link

Fantastic vintage 1960s television commercials for the Bulova Accutron. The humming transistorized electromagnetic coil tuning fork watches invented by Max Hetzel in the fifties.

Original 60s Accutron Commercial-->Link

Thanks to devout Accutron enthusiasts Horst Knebel and Hummin Georgie Stalzer for digging these out of the dusty vaults.

Max Hetzel - ACCUracy through ElecTRONics

"When the Accutron was introduced in 1960 it was described as the first electronic watch but it also had another revolutionary feature, the time keeping was controlled by a tuning fork. The tuning fork vibrated 360 times per second and the vibrations were maintained at a constant amplitude by means of a transistor, dispensing with the mechanical contact which had been a source of trouble with earlier electric watches. The tuning fork was made of Elinvar, for temperature stability, and Bulova was able to guarantee that it would not gain or loose more than a minute a month thoughout its life. It was designed by a Swiss engineer, Max Hetzel, and manufactured in the USA. It remained in production until 1976, by which time five million watches had been sold." --via Science Museum

"Bulova Accutrons were also subjects of the other famous space era rivalry with Omega Watches for being the first watch on the moon. Ultimately, the Omega Speedmaster Professional chronograph wristwatch (known as the "Moon watch") was designated by NASA for use by the astronauts in all manned space missions, becoming the first watch on the moon on the wrist of Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin.

However, all instrument panel clocks and time-keeping mechanisms in the spacecraft on those missions were Bulova Accutrons with tuning fork movements, because at the time, NASA did not know how well a mechanical movement would work in zero gravity conditions. The Bulova company currently manufactures a limited edition "Astronaut" model under its Accutron line of watches." -via Wikipedia

Other vintage watch commercials-->Link

Accutron enthusiast websites;
Accutron Spaceview
Accutron 214
MS Accutron
Rob's Accutron
Timezone Accutron

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Vintage Watching - Hamilton Odyssee 2001 & Altair Electric

Just noticed a couple of my favorite vintage Hamilton watches are up for auction this week. The 1969 Odyssee 2001, introduced in conjunction with Stanley Kubrick's "2001 - A Space Odyssey". Hamilton was hired by the film to create a watch worn by astronauts of the future. Unfortunately, they didn't release the prop version to the public but they did try to cash in on the success of the movie by producing this one. To avoid lawsuits, they altered the spelling from Odyssey to Odyssee. And just last year, Hamilton released an interpretation of the film version in a signed limited edition of...2001.

Vintage Watching - Hamilton Odyssee 2001 & Altair ElectricClick for the 1969 Hamilton Odyssee 2001

And below, the ultra rare Altair Electric. Released in 1961 in very low numbers leading it to be one of the more collectible of the Electric series. Dramatically asymmetric design by the master of Lancaster, Richard Arbib. Their other auction features the original mesh bracelet!

Related Posts;
All Hamilton Stories

Enter The Watchismo Times 1st anniversary vintage chronograph giveway!-->LINK

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1950s Hamilton Pacer for Rockford Screw Company

1950s Hamilton Pacer for Rockford Screw CompanyRene Rondeau has this very unique 1957 Hamilton Electric "Pacer" available. Many presentation models with corporate logos were custom made by Hamilton but rarely with themed hour markers like the variety of screws and bolts of the Rockford Screw Company. They actually still exist today. They might have a screw loose if they don't buy it for posterity...

Vintage Hamilton site-->Link

Related posts;
All Hamilton
All Electric

Find modern Hamilton watches

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1970s Girard Perregaux Quartzwerk

1970s Girard Perregaux Quartzwerk1969, Swiss brand Girard Perregaux designed and produced a quartz movement with a frequency of 32,768 hertz, which became the universally accepted standard for all watches with quartz movements, including those made in Asia. This standard frequency was a veritable technical breakthrough.

The early 70s model shown here has a design mimicking the components of the quartz module with bright Tron-style colors for the circuits. Japanese brands like Seiko weren't the only ones nailing the coffins of the mechanical market, the Swiss helped pull the nails from inside the box and with great precision.

1970s Girard Perregaux Quartzwerk
1970s Girard Perregaux Quartzwerk

From the Beyer Collection
Girard Perregaux History

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1970s Panasonic See-thru Clock Radio

The first of a few features about transparent mystery dial timepieces, both wristwatch and clock oriented. I recently bought this oddball vintage Panasonic (model #RC-6500C) clock-radio on Ebay and was just blown away with it's design -- Appearing to be floating in space, the hour, minutes, seconds and alarm are split into four layered clear disks spinning in a porthole for both clock and radio. Each disk is a gear in itself with the contacts of the outer teeth & notches hidden by the case. The concept has also been miniaturized for some spectacular watches, stay tuned...

See my short video below showing off the clock's transparency. Once I find someone to repair the lamp feature, the displays will again glow blue for night viewing.

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Ain't nothin like your first Time - Vintage Kids Watches

HAPPYTIME - 1970's Sears mechanical jump hour with bouncing eyes
1980's Kronoform Robot Watches
"The robot time-machine that can transform, each time, you tell time."

1983 Pac Man Video Game Watch --> Link
(rare version made with a mini joystick)

1966 G.I. Joe Military Watch by Gilbert
Swiss mechanical watch with compass

1965 James Bond 007 Spy Watch by GilbertPreviously featured --> Link

1934 Ingersoll Three Little Pigs & Big Bad Wolf Pocket Watch & Clock
Brick packaging display was genius!
Clock - Rotating Wolf arms grasp for piggies

Related story --> Homemade Pong Watch

First Swiss Electro-Mechanical Watch, the 1960 Landeron 4750

Before quartz battery powered watches nearly destroyed mechanical innovation in the seventies, there existed a brief period of transition, an electro-mechanical era. The first battery-powered watches were, of course, the famed Hamilton Electric series of the late fifties and early sixties. There were other technological hybrids including the first electronic diode watch by the French company Lip and the transistorized Bulova Accutron with their tuning fork mechanisms.

This is the 1960 Landeron 4750, the first Swiss-electric movement. As you can see by the component diagram below, these were not simple watches like the inanimate battery powered Quartz of today. I'm featuring one of the more unique versions of this watch, the 'Montre à Couilles', as detailed in Pieter Doensen's book, built as a demonstration model with two externally cased battery compartments.

Landeron 4750 movement diagram (via

1975 Bulova Accutron 'Spaceview'

1974 Lip Electric

Jaz Derby Swissonic - 1974 Digital Roller Time Display

The Jaz Derby Swissonic, Introduced in 1974 at the Basel Fair (Annual Swiss Watch Trade Show), featured a fascinating new way to display time. Cylindrical barreled rolling wheels powered by a new transistorized system with balance by Dynotron, ESA 9176. Rotating numbers on these drum rollers created a very tall timepiece sitting over 15mm off the wrist. A wheel next to the digital readout had graduating sized lines (thin t0 thick) deliniating each minute passing before 'clicking' to the next.

Many high-end watch companies today are creating roller style watches like Vianney Halter's Cabestan, Jean Dunand's Shabaka, and Jacob & Co.'s Quenttin. But the obscure French Jaz Derby started the ball, uh...wheels rolling.

Very rare watches today and even more difficult to find them functioning with precision. Piotr, a dedicated watch enthusiast in Poland has become the foremost expert of the Jaz Derby (among other watches of the era) and detailed his page of servicing the watch-->Link

Jaz Derby Movement

More Accurate Than God! Two vintage 60s Bulova Accutron CommercialsVintage Watching - Hamilton Odyssee 2001 & Altair Electric1950s Hamilton Pacer for Rockford Screw Company1970s Girard Perregaux Quartzwerk1970s Panasonic See-thru Clock RadioAin't nothin like your first Time - Vintage Kids WatchesFirst Swiss Electro-Mechanical Watch, the 1960 Landeron 4750A CLOCKWORK ORANGE Jaz Derby Swissonic - 1974 Digital Roller Time Display

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