Watch of Tomorrow

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Watch of Tomorrow

Postby koimaster » June 5th 2018, 12:33pm

Elgin Unveils The Watch Of The Future To The World

Before I get into the story of Elgin's "Watch of Tomorrow"; you who are reading this article and I need to say thank you to John Runciman, who way back in 1994 (with Lawrence D. Harnden, Jr.) published an article in the NAWCC Bulletin "The story of the Elgin Electric Wristwatch". This article was just a scratch in the surface of what is essentially a large missing part of horology history.

Who would of thought that 22 years later, John is still as passionate about the Elgin electronic watch development programme ? We all owe John a debt of gratitude in keeping the passion alive all this time and also for allowing me to invade his life with questions, lots of questions (and you should understand, I knew nothing to begin with, really).

While the rest of the world doesn't care, doesn't know or clearly doesn't want to admit to the real history of the development of the electric watch, John kept digging and researching. I started questioning John on the 14th of August 2014. What follows is what two guys sitting on the opposite side of the planet were able to find about the facts of what really happened way back sometime in the 1930s leading up to that famous (some say infamous as it never happend) day in March 1952.

So next time you bump into John, please shake his hand and say thank you for preserving a critical part of horology history.


"Electronic Timepiece May Be Greatest Horological Achievement Since Invention of Mainspring 450 Years Ago"1)

This is how Elgin introduced the Watch of Tomorrow in their April 1952 Watch Word edition and I think they were correct. This little ingenious achievement kicked off a fury of research and development across horology companies. Some companies had started 'tinkering' with electric watches but there were issues that remained that couldn't be resolved at the time. Elgin were able to solve these problems before the others.

March 1952

On the 18th of March, 1952, Elgin sent this letter to all their Jewelers and Watchmakers the day before the announcement to advise them they would be announcing and revealing to the world, a laboratory model of the electronic wrist watch of tomorrow.


“Your heart was warm and happy

With the lilt of Irish laughter

Every day and in every way

Now forever and ever after."
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