Underwater Diving Watches Quartz War


The Quartz Crisis, (also known as the Quartz Revolution), is a term used in the watchmaking industry to refer to the economic upheavals caused by the advent of quartz watches in the 1970s and early 1980s, which largely replaced mechanical watches. It caused a decline of the Swiss watchmaking industry, which chose to remain focused on traditional mechanical watches, while the majority of world watch production shifted to Asian companies that embraced the new technology.

On 25 December 1969, Seiko unveiled the quartz Astron, the world’s first quartz watch. The first Swiss quartz analog watch—the Ebauches SA Beta 21 containing the Beta 1 movement—arrived at the 1970 Basel Fair. The Beta 21 was released by numerous manufacturers including the Omega Electroquartz. On 6 May 1970, Hamilton introduced the Pulsar – the world’s first electronic digital watch. In 1974 Omega introduced the Omega Marine Chronometer, the first watch ever to be certified as a Marine Chronometer, accurate to 12 seconds per year using a quartz circuit that produces 2,400,000 vibrations per second.In 1976 Omega introduced the Omega Chrono-Quartz, the world first analogue/digital chronograph, which was succeeded within 12 months by the Calibre 1620, the company’s first completely LCD chronograph wristwatch.

quartz crisis Citizen divers(two prints from 1977 and 1979 of Citizen quartz and automatic diving watches side by side)

By 1978 quartz watches overtook mechanical watches in popularity, plunging the Swiss watch industry into crisis while at the same time strengthening both the Japanese and American watch industries.  As a result of the economic turmoil that ensued, many once profitable and famous Swiss watch houses became insolvent or disappeared. The period of time completely upset the Swiss watch industry both economically and psychologically. During the 1970s and early 1980s, technological upheavals i.e. the appearance of the quartz technology, and an otherwise difficult economic situation resulted in a reduction in the size of the Swiss watch industry. Between 1970 and 1988 Swiss watch employment fell from 90,000 to 28,000.(wikipedia)

At the same time Citizen was carrying it’s own war. Prior to this era the company was developing a lot of movements and interesting complications. Citizen production of quartz oscillators begun in March 1976 so the prints above are dating to the very heart of the war. Read more about Citizen history HERE.

So, who won?!

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Citizen ladies diver 150m model 54-0919


Every man needs a real diver watch, and every woman (either a girlfriend or a wife of a true watch enthusiast) is going to get one eventually. 🙂 

This is the vintage Citizen ladies diver. This is the ultimate one, the real one.

vintage ladies Citizen diverThis model has all the specifications that define a diver. My better half says it is even better than the men model of the same time frame, witch is the 52-0110 presented in the picture. I tend to agree with her (well, I have no choice but to agree with her 🙂 ). Read about my watch here: https://vintagecitizenwatches.com/2013/12/24/citizen-automatic-diver-150m-52-0110/ Mine was made in 1978 and hers in 1980.

The case is small,  made in polished stainless steel but with a brushed face that doesn’t reflect light the same way as a polished surface would. This is mandatory for a diver so the time can be easily read without light interference. Compared to the men model, this one has some other elements that gives it a nice diving touch: crown guards, lug holes (for easily changing the strap) and unidirectional rotating bezel (60 clicks). By contrast, the big brother has only a friction type bidirectional bezel, no crown guards and no lug holes.  The water resistance is similar (150m) and both of them have a large screw-in crown, an easy grip bezel with a beautiful aluminum insert and a thick flat mineral crystal. The underside of the crystal is concave, magnifying the hands and the dial.

The dial and the hands are very similar. Both the ladies watch and the men watch have a black dial with applied luminous hour markers. The hands are similar (Mercedes hours hand, spade minutes hand and a seconds hand with a luminous dot close to the tip). The small brother has a day and date window. Both of them are marked in the same way: Citizen, automatic, 21 jewels, water resistant, 150m. My girlfriend’s watch has a raised ring part of the dial with seconds markers. That gives a great depth feeling to the entire watch face.

Citizen ladies diver 150m model 54-0919The movement is small too, suited for the small case. It is an automatic, 21 jewels movement. Citizen named it calibre 6601, and can be found in a variety of ladies watches. Not much to say about it except the fact that it displays both the day and the date, can be hand wound and a particularity is the fact the date changes by pulling repeatedly the crown.

The strap is the original (pretty impressive for a 30 years old watch), mint condition rubber, with a stainless steel buckle. It is very comfortable, very easy to find the perfect adjustment hole. The width at the lugs end is 14 mm, but it integrates really well with the flowing case design. I think it would look good on nato (still looking for one so small) and i have already ordered a mesh stainless steel bracelet for it.

Citizen ladies diver 150m model 54-0919 citizen 150m

As a conclusion, all I can say that my diving watch found it’s better half and so did I. 🙂

Read more about vintage Citizen divers here:

https://vintagecitizenwatches.com/diver-vcw/