Monday, 29 June 2009

Wristwatches: History & Evolution (part 8)

1969 was a very important year for the watch industry. Hamilton produced the first electronic solid state model, the Pulsar, with a digital display and no moving parts. The face and hands were replaced by a black screen on which, at the press of a button, the time appeared utilising light-emitting diodes.

In 1972, the first watch with liquid crystal display (LCD) was produced. There was an immediate boom in the production of this model but it did not last long. The market leadership was instead taken over by the analogue quartz model which had a face and hands. This new technology won out, together with an outward appearance that could even be termed classical.

During the subsequent 20 years, the wristwatch has been challenged by all manners of electric and electronic gimmickry but in the end, it has been able to ward off all opponents. In the nineties, all the major companies brought out new and more complex watches and introduced remakes of the classics.

The mechanical wristwatch has now triumphantly imposed itself on the market. It has celebrated the great events of the twentieth century and has withstood attacks from the electronic watch.

To continue "telling the time", the major companies must continue to "create" master watchmakers, the true artists behind this phenomenon.

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