Rather than a typical balance wheel, it used a tuning fork (visible in the open-work dial), powered by a one-transistor electronic oscillator and a 1.55v battery – delivering an oscillating rate nearly 150 times faster than that of a typical mechanical watch. It was nicknamed the Spaceview for its green colour scheme and ‘circuit board’ dial.
A new ‘heritage’ version of this watch came out last year but it is still possible to buy an original for less. This working example from c.1965 sold for £340 (estimate £250-300) at Lockdales (18% buyer’s premium) in Ipswich on February 17-18.
Jump at this chance
Appealing to a similar aesthetic is the Sicura jump hour.
Sicura is best known as the firm which bought the rights to the defunct Breitling label as the quartz crisis wreaked its havoc. However, it was also a maker of more than a million everyday watches a year in the 1960s-70s.
The early 1970s jump hour with propeller seconds is probably the most known model. The movement is the durable Baumgartner BFG866 rather than the deluxe Valjoux 7734 used in some of the firm’s better quality chronos but the watch is all about chunky 1970s styling.
They were once pretty easy to find at the £60-100 estimate given to this one at Gardiner Houlgate (20% buyer’s premium) in Corsham on February 24. This one sold for £260.