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The Golden Age of Automatics?

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  • The Golden Age of Automatics?

    A question occurred to me just now...when was the golden age of Automatics?
    It seems to me that, with exceptions like Harwood, the initial impact of automatic wristwatches was like a quick, bright flare on the surface of the sun.
    • Bumper autos came on the scene shortly after WWII;
    • Rotor automatics followed soon and had established prominence by the early-1960s;
    • By the early 1970s, their supremacy was heavily under threat from battery-powered watches (Accutron, electro-mechanicals, quartz);
    • By the end of the 1970s, very little automatic movement R&D was ongoing.

    Today's watch aficionado, however, is inundated with options to buy automatics...ETA 2824s, 2892s; Sellita; in-house (Rolex, Glashuette, etc.) etc.
    Has the automatic seen it's finest hour?
    Was it the early days of Rolex and Eterna and other pioneers, when it was relevant to the development of timekeeping?
    Was it the end of the 1960s when autos were the best watches available and everyone was scrambling to create self-winding watches with complications (alarms, chronographs)?
    Was it the 1990s mech revival, when it became nostalgic/esoteric?
    Is it now, when new producers are expressing their individuality?
    Is it yet to come?

    CHeers,
    Brad
    Last edited by Watch Carefully; 06-13-2016, 03:35 PM.
    Time is Money, except on Dark Side of the Moon

  • #2
    I would be inclined to say the late fifties and into the sixties. There is certainly something of a renaissance going on with mechanicals right now but a lot of manufacturers are building handwinders. Jorg Schauer has even converted the Valjoux 7750 into a hand wind.
    Solve all your doubts through question mode.

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    • #3
      In 1969 Seiko were selling the 61GS VFA, which had a guaranteed accuracy of 2s/d, I'm going to vote for that

      vfa.JPG
      Always eager to hear more

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Der Amf View Post
        In 1969 Seiko were selling the 61GS VFA, which had a guaranteed accuracy of 2s/d, I'm going to vote for that

        [ATTACH=CONFIG]21039[/ATTACH]
        Holy moly. They are expensive!:
        http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from...VFA&_sacat=281
        Time is Money, except on Dark Side of the Moon

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Watch Carefully View Post
          Just think how expensive they would be if the case wasn't such a.... such an acquired taste
          Always eager to hear more

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Henry Krinkle View Post
            Jorg Schauer has even converted the Valjoux 7750 into a hand wind.
            Interesting...I seem to recall there was a 7761 or some such thing already that is essentially a 7750 without automatic winding.
            How much different is Herr Schauer's movement?

            [note: this web page mentioned 4 hand-wound 776X variants]
            Time is Money, except on Dark Side of the Moon

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Watch Carefully View Post
              Zodiac said their SST (36000 vph) models were guaranteed to no more than 1 minute gain or 1 minute loss per month for the first year of ownership. If the watch wouldn't produce that accuracy you could send it back for adjustment to that accuracy at no cost.

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              • #8
                Personally I think I am too lazy to wind a watch regularly, I absolutely need the automatic. I think the ETA 2824s, 2892s, Sellita are much cheaper to maintain and service, so I am quite happy with them.

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                • #9
                  Speaking of automatics, are you aware of any companies who made self-winding pocket watches?



                  I know that A-L Breguet produced some in Paris 200 years ago. That style had a pendulum weight inside that would wind the mainspring. I cannot imagine they were terribly efficient, but it was an inventive approach. Obviously, the idea never really caught on. I guess by the time Eterna created the item shown below, PWs were effectively out of fashion...
                  Ah, what could have been?




                  I just learned that Citizen also made some self-winding pieces for the pocket:



                  As did Tissot...how cool is it that they all used display backs?[/SIZE]

                  Last edited by Watch Carefully; 06-14-2016, 03:28 PM.
                  Time is Money, except on Dark Side of the Moon

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Watch Carefully View Post
                    Interesting...I seem to recall there was a 7761 or some such thing already that is essentially a 7750 without automatic winding.
                    How much different is Herr Schauer's movement?

                    [note: this web page mentioned 4 hand-wound 776X variants]
                    Here's an image I just yanked off the interwebs. It's the 7753. One of the added bonuses of it is that the handwind 1938 Chrono is a thinner watch than the auto.

                    ml_image.3390548.jpg
                    Solve all your doubts through question mode.

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                    • #11
                      Better pics from Stowa. The regular 7753

                      Chrono_poliert_werk_1300.jpg


                      And the hand wind

                      Flieger_Chrono_Handaufzugwerk_2600.jpg
                      Solve all your doubts through question mode.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Henry Krinkle View Post
                        [ATTACH=CONFIG]21048[/ATTACH]
                        Oh, that is very nicely done!!
                        Thanks, Henry. Jorg Schauer's watches are always a treat to see.
                        Time is Money, except on Dark Side of the Moon

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                        • #13
                          Speaking of automatics, are you aware of any companies who made self-winding pocket watches?
                          My wife's great-great-grandfather, Hermann von der Heydt, patented a self-winding watch movement and started a company called the Chicago Self-Winding Watch Co. He made around 35 watches and several of them have come up for auction of the past few years. He did some work for Gruen, as well. I've been trying to get more of the story put together, but the paperwork is slim. He was the subject of a NAWCC bulletin a while back.

                          vdh.jpg
                          Last edited by FuzzyB; 06-14-2016, 08:39 PM.
                          -Brian

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                          • #14
                            Brian it sounds like you married into the right family!
                            DavidM1

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by DavidM1 View Post
                              Brian it sounds like you married into the right family!

                              I did indeed. One of her uncles still has Hermann's personal watch that he made.
                              -Brian

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