Quartz crisis

quartz revolutionadventCentre Electronique Horlogerchallengeinexpensive Japanese wristwatchesSwiss watch industry crisis
The quartz crisis (also known as the quartz revolution) is a term used in the watchmaking industry, referring to the economic upheavals caused by the advent of quartz watches in the 1970s and early 1980s, which largely replaced mechanical watches around the world.wikipedia
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Seiko

K. HattoriHattori SeikoLorus
It caused a significant decline of the Swiss watchmaking industry, which chose to remain focused on traditional mechanical watches, while the majority of the world's watch production shifted to Asian companies such as Seiko, Citizen and Casio in Japan that embraced the new electronic technology. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, both Seiko and a consortium of Switzerland's top watch firms, including Patek Philippe, Piaget and Omega, fiercely competed to develop the first quartz wristwatch.
On December 25, 1969, Seiko released the world’s first quartz watch, the Seiko Quartz ASTRON, which marked the beginning of the quartz revolution.

Omega SA

OmegaOmega WatchesLouis Brandt
In the late 1950s and early 1960s, both Seiko and a consortium of Switzerland's top watch firms, including Patek Philippe, Piaget and Omega, fiercely competed to develop the first quartz wristwatch. Besides its own product line Swatch, the Swatch Group also acquired other watch brands including Blancpain, Breguet, Glashütte Original, Harry Winston, Longines, Omega, Tissot, and so on.
While Omega and Rolex had dominated in the pre-quartz era, this changed in the 1970s during the quartz crisis.

Piaget SA

PiagetGeorges Edouard Piagethis valuable watch
In the late 1950s and early 1960s, both Seiko and a consortium of Switzerland's top watch firms, including Patek Philippe, Piaget and Omega, fiercely competed to develop the first quartz wristwatch.
1976 saw the launch of the Calibre 7P, a quartz movement, during the quartz crisis.

Omega Electroquartz

Beta 21
The Beta 21 was released by numerous manufacturers including the Omega Electroquartz.
The beta 21 is noteworthy and significantly important to the history of watch making as well as the Astron as it marked the first quartz watch produced on an industrial level and began the quartz crisis

Quartz clock

quartz watchquartzquartz movement
The quartz crisis (also known as the quartz revolution) is a term used in the watchmaking industry, referring to the economic upheavals caused by the advent of quartz watches in the 1970s and early 1980s, which largely replaced mechanical watches around the world. The key technological advances include replacing mechanical movement with quartz movement as well as replacing analog displays with digital displays such as LED display and liquid-crystal display (LCD).
By the 1980s, quartz technology had taken over applications such as kitchen timers, alarm clocks, bank vault time locks, and time fuzes on munitions, from earlier mechanical balance wheel movements, an upheaval known in watchmaking as the quartz crisis.

Watch

wristwatchwatcheswristwatches
In 1954, Swiss engineer Max Hetzel developed an electronic wristwatch that used an electrically charged tuning fork powered by a 1.35 volt battery. This organization was the predecessor of the Swatch Group, which would be instrumental in reviving the Swiss watch industry giving a new bill of health to all brands concerned and, in 1998, was renamed the Swatch Group – the largest watch manufacturer in the world.
Historically, this is called the quartz revolution.

The Swatch Group

Swatch GroupSwatchSwatch Group USA
This organization was the predecessor of the Swatch Group, which would be instrumental in reviving the Swiss watch industry giving a new bill of health to all brands concerned and, in 1998, was renamed the Swatch Group – the largest watch manufacturer in the world.
The company was founded in 1983 by Nicolas Hayek from the merger of Allgemeine Gesellschaft der Schweizerischen Uhrenindustrie (ASUAG) and Société Suisse pour l'Industrie Horlogère (SSIH), in order to cope with the quartz crisis and save the Swiss watchmaking industry.

Swatch

SWATCH watchswatchesMercedes Swatch
The Swatch product was sealed in a plastic case, sold as a disposable commodity with little probability of repair, and had fewer moving parts (51) than mechanical watches (about 91). Besides its own product line Swatch, the Swatch Group also acquired other watch brands including Blancpain, Breguet, Glashütte Original, Harry Winston, Longines, Omega, Tissot, and so on.
The Swatch product line was developed as a response to the "quartz crisis" of the 1970s and 1980s, in which Asian-made digital watches were competing against traditional European-made mechanical watches.

Blancpain

Blancpain company
Besides its own product line Swatch, the Swatch Group also acquired other watch brands including Blancpain, Breguet, Glashütte Original, Harry Winston, Longines, Omega, Tissot, and so on.
During the quartz crisis of the 1970s, SSIH was forced to reduce its output by half and to sell off part of its assets.

Breguet (brand)

BreguetBreguet (watch)Breguet S. A.
Besides its own product line Swatch, the Swatch Group also acquired other watch brands including Blancpain, Breguet, Glashütte Original, Harry Winston, Longines, Omega, Tissot, and so on.
But the ownership changed hands several times during the quartz crisis in the 1970s and 1980s.

Patek Philippe SA

Patek PhilippePatek Philippe & Co.Patek Phillipe
In the late 1950s and early 1960s, both Seiko and a consortium of Switzerland's top watch firms, including Patek Philippe, Piaget and Omega, fiercely competed to develop the first quartz wristwatch. On the other hand, the quartz revolution drove many Swiss manufacturers to seek refuge in (or be winnowed out to) the higher end of the market, such as Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, Audemars Piguet and Rolex.
In fact, Patek Philippe was one of the twenty Swiss watch companies that founded the Centre Electronique Horloger and collaboratively developed the first Swiss quartz movements, such as the Beta 21 movement (1969) which was used by several manufacturers in their watches.

Vacheron Constantin

VacheronVacheron & Constantin-Le Coultre Watches, Inc.
On the other hand, the quartz revolution drove many Swiss manufacturers to seek refuge in (or be winnowed out to) the higher end of the market, such as Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, Audemars Piguet and Rolex.
Vacheron Constantin was affected by the quartz crisis during 1970s and 1980s.

Audemars Piguet

Audemars Piguet Renaud & Papi SA
On the other hand, the quartz revolution drove many Swiss manufacturers to seek refuge in (or be winnowed out to) the higher end of the market, such as Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, Audemars Piguet and Rolex.
It was first presented at the 1972 Baselworld, during the quartz crisis.

Watchmaker

watchmakingwatchmakerswatch-maker
The quartz crisis (also known as the quartz revolution) is a term used in the watchmaking industry, referring to the economic upheavals caused by the advent of quartz watches in the 1970s and early 1980s, which largely replaced mechanical watches around the world.

Mechanical watch

mechanicalmechanical watchesmanual winding
The quartz crisis (also known as the quartz revolution) is a term used in the watchmaking industry, referring to the economic upheavals caused by the advent of quartz watches in the 1970s and early 1980s, which largely replaced mechanical watches around the world.

Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry

Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry FHSwiss watch manufacturersFederation of Swiss Watches
It caused a significant decline of the Swiss watchmaking industry, which chose to remain focused on traditional mechanical watches, while the majority of the world's watch production shifted to Asian companies such as Seiko, Citizen and Casio in Japan that embraced the new electronic technology.

Citizen Watch

CitizenCitizen Watch Co.Citizen Holdings
It caused a significant decline of the Swiss watchmaking industry, which chose to remain focused on traditional mechanical watches, while the majority of the world's watch production shifted to Asian companies such as Seiko, Citizen and Casio in Japan that embraced the new electronic technology.

Casio

Casio ComputerCasio Computer Co., LtdCASIO Computer Co.
It caused a significant decline of the Swiss watchmaking industry, which chose to remain focused on traditional mechanical watches, while the majority of the world's watch production shifted to Asian companies such as Seiko, Citizen and Casio in Japan that embraced the new electronic technology.

Digital Revolution

computer revolutioncomputerizationThird Industrial Revolution
The quartz crisis took place amid the global Digital Revolution (Third Industrial Revolution) which was formed during the late 1950s.

Astron (wristwatch)

Astron35 SQ AstronElectronic Quartz Wristwatch
The crisis started with the Astron, which was the world's first quartz watch introduced by Seiko in December 1969.

Movement (clockwork)

movementmovementswatch movement
The key technological advances include replacing mechanical movement with quartz movement as well as replacing analog displays with digital displays such as LED display and liquid-crystal display (LCD).

Analog watch

Analoganalog displaysanalogue watch
The key technological advances include replacing mechanical movement with quartz movement as well as replacing analog displays with digital displays such as LED display and liquid-crystal display (LCD).

Display device

displayvideo monitorbezel
The key technological advances include replacing mechanical movement with quartz movement as well as replacing analog displays with digital displays such as LED display and liquid-crystal display (LCD).

Light-emitting diode

LEDLEDslight emitting diodes
The key technological advances include replacing mechanical movement with quartz movement as well as replacing analog displays with digital displays such as LED display and liquid-crystal display (LCD).

World War II

Second World WarwarWWII
During World War II, Swiss neutrality permitted the watch industry to continue making consumer time-keeping apparatus, while the major nations of the world shifted timing apparatus production to timing devices for military ordnance.