Wittnauer Electric

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SKU AS01542
SKU AS01542

Why We Love it

In 1960, about a decade before the Quartz Crisis changed the face of horology forever, Bulova produced a watch that eschewed the traditional balance wheel in favor of a 360-hertz steel tuning fork, powered by electromagnets attached to a battery-powered transistor oscillator circuit. Designed by Max Hetzel, the Accutron made waves. It became the first wristwatch to be precise enough to be qualified for U.S. Railroad certification, guaranteed to be accurate to about one minute per month, or about two seconds per day.

The Accutron's success prompted Swiss brands to introduce their own versions of the technology. Universal Geneve released their first--and only--electric watch, the Ultrasonic, in the early 1960s. Like Universal Geneve, Wittnauer (then known mainly for their chronographs and their association with Longines) was an early adopter of this new technology. 

R&D on what would become Switzerland's first electric movement began in the 1940s, spearheaded by designers André Breyer and René Besson of Ébauches SA. ESA secured the patent (numbers 345611 and 346828) for their electric movement in 1959. The movements--L4750/51--were assembled at ESA's manufacture at Landeron and used WD-5 batteries manufactured by Leclanché. Unlike its American counterparts by Bulova and Hamilton, the L4750 contained no magnets. Instead, the L4750 relied on the electric impulses produced by the contact wires reacting with the steel balance plate. 

The first Wittnauer Electrics with the Landeron 4750 movements rolled off the production line at the close of 1960, and debuted at Basel in April 1961. Earlier executions of this watch are notable in that the dial reads "Electric," rather than Electro-Chron seen on later models. Thirty different brands utilized the Landeron 4750 movement, among them Benrus and Gruen. But it's the Wittnauer Electric--with its distinctive hands shaped like lightning bolts--that remain among the most collectible, relics of an era just a few short years before the introduction of the industry-changing Quartz technology.

A:S Guarantee

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Our Pledge

Analog:Shift stands behind the authenticity of our products in perpetuity.

Condition

Since our pieces are vintage or pre-owned, please expect wear & patina from usage and age. Please read each item description and examine all product images.

Warranty

We back each Analog:Shift vintage timepiece with a one-year mechanical warranty from the date of purchase.

International Buyers

Please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options.

Shipping & Returns

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All of our watches include complementary insured shipping within the 50 states.

Most of our products are on hand and will ship directly from our headquarters in New York City. In some cases, watches will be shipped directly from one of our authorized partners.

We generally ship our products via FedEx, fully insured, within 5 business days of purchase. An adult signature is required for receipt of all packages for insurance purposes. Expedited shipping is available at an additional cost. We are also happy to hand deliver your purchase in Manhattan or you may pick it up at our showroom.

Returns must be sent overnight or by priority international delivery, fully insured and paid for by the customer. A restocking fee may apply. Watches must be returned in the same condition as initially shipped.

We welcome international buyers, please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options.

Wittnauer Electric

Wittnauer Electric

Sold
Sold
Wittnauer Electric

Why We Love it

In 1960, about a decade before the Quartz Crisis changed the face of horology forever, Bulova produced a watch that eschewed the traditional balance wheel in favor of a 360-hertz steel tuning fork, powered by electromagnets attached to a battery-powered transistor oscillator circuit. Designed by Max Hetzel, the Accutron made waves. It became the first wristwatch to be precise enough to be qualified for U.S. Railroad certification, guaranteed to be accurate to about one minute per month, or about two seconds per day.

The Accutron's success prompted Swiss brands to introduce their own versions of the technology. Universal Geneve released their first--and only--electric watch, the Ultrasonic, in the early 1960s. Like Universal Geneve, Wittnauer (then known mainly for their chronographs and their association with Longines) was an early adopter of this new technology. 

R&D on what would become Switzerland's first electric movement began in the 1940s, spearheaded by designers André Breyer and René Besson of Ébauches SA. ESA secured the patent (numbers 345611 and 346828) for their electric movement in 1959. The movements--L4750/51--were assembled at ESA's manufacture at Landeron and used WD-5 batteries manufactured by Leclanché. Unlike its American counterparts by Bulova and Hamilton, the L4750 contained no magnets. Instead, the L4750 relied on the electric impulses produced by the contact wires reacting with the steel balance plate. 

The first Wittnauer Electrics with the Landeron 4750 movements rolled off the production line at the close of 1960, and debuted at Basel in April 1961. Earlier executions of this watch are notable in that the dial reads "Electric," rather than Electro-Chron seen on later models. Thirty different brands utilized the Landeron 4750 movement, among them Benrus and Gruen. But it's the Wittnauer Electric--with its distinctive hands shaped like lightning bolts--that remain among the most collectible, relics of an era just a few short years before the introduction of the industry-changing Quartz technology.

A:S Guarantee

+

Our Pledge

Analog:Shift stands behind the authenticity of our products in perpetuity.

Condition

Since our pieces are vintage or pre-owned, please expect wear & patina from usage and age. Please read each item description and examine all product images.

Warranty

We back each Analog:Shift vintage timepiece with a one-year mechanical warranty from the date of purchase.

International Buyers

Please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options.

Shipping & Returns

+

All of our watches include complementary insured shipping within the 50 states.

Most of our products are on hand and will ship directly from our headquarters in New York City. In some cases, watches will be shipped directly from one of our authorized partners.

We generally ship our products via FedEx, fully insured, within 5 business days of purchase. An adult signature is required for receipt of all packages for insurance purposes. Expedited shipping is available at an additional cost. We are also happy to hand deliver your purchase in Manhattan or you may pick it up at our showroom.

Returns must be sent overnight or by priority international delivery, fully insured and paid for by the customer. A restocking fee may apply. Watches must be returned in the same condition as initially shipped.

We welcome international buyers, please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options.

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