There are times that I wish I could have experienced the watch industry in the 1970s. Oh what an interesting time. Quartz regulated movements debuted in the late 1960s and was still an extremely expensive novelty which everyone was interested in, but no one quite knew what to do with. Mechanical watches still reigned supreme, and the era saw the creation of the modern sports Omega replica watches as we know it. It was also a time of extreme optimism and experimentation from a design perspective. The world’s interest in space travel and futurism was at an all-time high, and product makers began to have more and more materials to play with. It was a good time marred by some ugly designs and outrageous ideas, but the overall sentiment seemed to be positive.
It was not until the 1980s when quartz-based timepieces became cheap enough to put a serious threat to the mechanical Swiss watch industry. Even during the late 1970s many Swiss watch makers saw it wise to totally abandon mechanical watches. They wanted their entire productions to be quartz. At the time it was thought by many people that mechanical Omega replica watches were a thing of the past. I learned much of this traveling to Switzerland and listening to people discuss exactly what was going on and what they felt at the time. We now know that quartz and mechanical watches can coexist, but that is actually a modern concept.
Anyhow, going back to the late 1960s and early 1970s, the largest Swiss brands were heavily invested in making their own quartz movements. These movements were anything but mass-produced and cheap. Often times requiring as much effort as a mechanical watch to assemble, these accurate electronic wonders were considered luxury items. You’ll probably never again see a Rolex watch proudly labeled “Quartz” on the dial. The same goes for Omega – who was considered by many to be a pioneer in quartz movement development.
In the late 1960s the Swiss and Japanese were aggressively trying to beat each other when it came to releasing the first quartz wrist watch. Seiko narrowly beat out the Swiss, and the Swiss followed up with a bevy of interesting high-end quartz models during the late 1960s and mostly into the 1970s. A very special one is the Omega Marine Chronometer.