Category Archives: History of the Make

History Of Seiko

Kintaro Hattori, Founder of the Company that would become Seiko

Beautiful Vintage Seiko Divers

1881 Establishment by Kintaro Hattori of K. Hattori & Co., Ltd., predecessor of today’s Seiko Corporation.
1892 Foundation of Seikosha clock supply factory. Production of wall clocks begins.
1895 Production of fob watches begins.
1899 Production of alarm clocks begins.
1902 Production of table clocks and musical clocks begins.
1913 Production of the first wrist watch made in Japan begins.
1917 K. Hattori & Co., Ltd. becomes a public company.
1924 Seiko brand first used on watches.
1937 Watch production split off as Daini Seikosha Co., Ltd., independent predecessor of today’s Seiko Instruments Inc.
1942 Establishment of watch producer, Daiwa Kogyo Ltd., predecessor of today’s Seiko Epson Corporation.
1955 Production of the first self-winding wrist watch made in Japan begins.
1958 Introduction of quartz clocks for broadcasting use.
1959 Introduction of transistorised table clocks.
1963 Development of portable quartz chronometer.
1964 Seiko serves as Official Timer of Tokyo Olympic Games in Japan.
1968 Establishment of subsidiary in Hong Kong.
1969 Introduction of Seiko Astron, world’s first quartz watch (35SQ).
1970 Establishment of subsidiary in USA.
1971 Establishment of subsidiary in UK.
1972 Establishment of subsidiary in the former Federal Republic of Germany.
1973 Introduction of world’s first LCD quartz watch with six-digit digital display (06LC).
1974 Establishment of subsidiary in Brazil.
1975 Introduction of world’s first multi-function digital watch.
1976 Introduction of world’s first quartz alarm clock.
1977 Establishment of subsidiary in Australia.
1978 Establishment of subsidiary in Switzerland.
Seiko serves as Official Timer of World Cup Soccer Championships in Argentina.
Introduction of world’s first very-fine adjusted ultra-accurate Twin Quartz watch,
with less than five seconds deviation per year.
1979 Establishment of subsidiary in Sweden.
Introduction of Pulsar brand.
Introduction of Alba brand.
1980 Establishment of subsidiary in the Netherlands.
1981 Establishment of representative office in Dubai.
Introduction of Lassale brand.
1982 Seiko serves as Official Timer of World Cup Soccer Championships in Spain.
Introduction of world’s first TV watch.
Introduction of Lorus brand.
1983 K. Hattori & Co., Ltd. renamed as Hattori Seiko Co., Ltd.
Introduction of world’s first watch with sound-recording functions.
1984 Introduction of world’s first “talking” clock, the Seiko Pyramid Talk.
1986 Seiko serves as Official Timer of World Cup Soccer Championships in Mexico.
1987 Seiko serves as Official Timer of 2nd IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Italy.
1988 Introduction of quartz watch with sweep second hand.
Introduction of world’s first automatic power generating quartz watch.
Introduction of world’s first intelligent analogue quartz watch with alarm,
chronograph and timer functions controlled by an IC “computer on a chip”.
1989 Establishment of subsidiary in Thailand.
1990 Hattori Seiko Co., Ltd. renamed as Seiko Corporation.
Seiko serves as Official Timer of World Cup Soccer Championships in Italy.
Introduction of the Seiko “The Age of Discovery” collection.
Introduction of the Seiko Scubamaster, world’s first computerised diver’s watch to incorporate a dive table.
Introduction of the Seiko Receptor Message Watch incorporating a miniaturised FM subcarrier.
1991 Establishment of subsidiary in Finland. Establishment of subsidiary in Taiwan.
Seiko serves as Official Timer of 3rd IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Tokyo,
Introduction of the Seiko Perpetual Calendar with the world’s first “millennium-plus calendar”.
1992 Seiko serves as Official Timer of Barcelona Olympic Games in Spain.
1993 Introduction of the “S-YARD” Golf Clubs.
1994 Establishment of a representative office in Beijing.
Seiko serves as Official Timer of Lillehammer Olympic Winter Games in Norway.
Introduction of Seiko Kinetic series.
1995 Introduction of Alba “Spoon” series.
1996 Establishment of Seiko Optical Products, Inc.
Establishment of Seiko Clock Inc.
Establishment of Seiko Precision Inc.
1997 Establishment of Seiko Jewelry Co., Ltd.
Changed Japanese company name to Seiko Kabushiki Kaisha.
Introduction of Seiko Kinetic Arctura.
1998 Seiko serves as Official Timer of Nagano Olympic Winter Games in Japan.
Introduction of Perpetual Calendar watch driven by world’s first ultrasonic micromotor.
Introduction of the Seiko Thermic, the world’s first watch driven by body heat.
1999 Introduction of the Seiko Kinetic Auto Relay watch, which automatically resumes correct indication of current time.
Introduction of hand wound spring-drive watch with quartz accuracy.

History Of The Bulova Corporation

Year Event
1875 Joseph Bulova, a 23-year-old immigrant from Bohemia, opens a small jewelry shop on Maiden Lane in New York City.
1911 Bulova begins manufacturing and selling boudoir and table clocks as well as fine pocket watches. These pieces are sold in unprecedented numbers.
1912 Bulova sets up its first plant dedicated to the production of watch components and their assembly into jeweled movements in Bienne, Switzerland.
1919 During World War I, the convenience of wristwatches (as opposed to pocket watches) is discovered. In 1919 Bulova introduces the first full line of men’s jeweled wristwatches.
1920 Bulova Watch Company, Inc. moves to 580 Fifth Avenue and builds the Bulova Observatory on top of the building for the taking of sidereal time. This is the first Observatory ever built atop a skyscraper. The Observatory is under the direction of a mathematician whose readings are electrically recorded, instantaneously, on a chronograph hundreds of feet below the observatory, guiding the Bulova watchmakers in the Setting and Timing unit of the Company.
1923 The name Bulova Watch Company, Inc. is adopted. Bulova perfects a new concept in the watch industry with total standardization of parts. Every part of a Bulova watch is made with such precision (standardized to the ten thousandth part of an inch) that it is interchangeable with the same part in any other Bulova watch. This revolutionizes the servicing of watches.
1924 Bulova unveils the first full line of ladies’ watches, including diamond-accented pieces. In the same year, President Calvin Coolidge presents a Bulova watch to Stanley “Bucky” Harris player-manager of the World Series-winning Washington Senators. Bulova designs a new watch in honor of the occasion and names it the “President.”
1926 Bulova produces the nation’s first radio commercial, “At the tone, it’s 8 P.M., B-U-L-O-V-A, Bulova watch time.”
1927 In honor of Charles Lindbergh’s transatlantic solo flight from New York to Paris, Bulova ships 5,000 Lone Eagle watches, packaged with pictures of Lindbergh. The supply, which is available the day after the landing, is sold out within three days. During the next few years Bulova sells nearly 50,000 of these commemorative watches. Also in 1927, Bulova Watch Company goes public on the American Stock Exchange, and Bulova Canada is established.
1931 Bulova begins manufacturing the first electric clocks. The collection includes wall and mantel clocks, and clocks for use in stores, windows, office buildings, train stations and airports. Also, Bulova becomes the first watch manufacturer to spend more than $1 million a year on advertising. Throughout the Depression years, Bulova supports retailers by offering Bulova watches to buyers on time-payment plans.
1932 Bulova runs a “Name the Watch” contest for its new $24.75 timepiece, with cash prizes totaling $10,000. The top prize of $1,000 would be equivalent to about $12,500 in the year 2000
1940 Bulova is a sponsor for all of the top 20 radio shows, including Charley McCarthy, Jack Benny, Fibber McGee and Molly and Major Bowes Amateur Hour.
1941 Continuing its tradition of advertising firsts, Bulova airs the first television commercial: a simple picture of a clock and a map of the United States, with a voice-over proclaiming, “America runs on Bulova time.” The 20-second spot costs $9. 1941 also marks the year that the Bulova Board of Directors, chaired by Joseph’s son, Ardé Bulova, adopts a resolution to sell products for national defense at actual cost. Throughout World War II, having perfected the skill of creating precision timepieces, Bulova works with the U.S. government to produce military watches, specialized timepieces, aircraft instruments, critical torpedo mechanisms and fuses.
1944 25% of all radio advertising was used to promote the sale of War Bonds and Stamps: “B-U-L-O-V-…Bulova Watch Time…Time to Buy United States War Bonds and Stamps.”
1945 The Joseph Bulova School of Watchmaking opens its doors to help disabled veterans learn watchmaking skills. Entirely supported by the Bulova Foundation, the school is equipped with state-of-the-art accessibility features, including automatic doors and extra-wide elevators. Graduates of the school are assured employment with over 1,500 positions pledged by American Jewelers.
1948 Bulova begins developing the Phototimer, a unique combination of photo-finish camera and precision electronic timing instrument.
1952 Bulova begins developing Accutron, the first breakthrough in timekeeping technology in over 300 years. Accutron, the first fully electronic watch, promises to keep time to within 2 seconds a day.
1953 Recognizing new trends in the watch industry, Bulova adds more self-winding and shock-proof watches to its line. Also added this year is the Bulova Wrist-Alarm, an entirely new kind of watch.
1954 Bulova introduces the Bulova 23, a self-winding, waterproof, 23-jewel watch with an unbreakable mainspring, made entirely in the United States. Omar Bradley, World War II general and retired chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, joins Bulova as Chairman of the Board of the Bulova Research and Development Laboratories.
1955 An independent A.C. Neilson Company survey reveals that Americans see more national advertising for Bulova products than for any other products, in any other industry, in the world.
1956 Bulova completes negotiations to cosponsor the “Jackie Gleason Show” a one-hour live television show airing Saturday nights from eight to nine o’clock. This is the first time in history that any watch or jewelry-related company has made a sponsorship commitment of such magnitude.
1958 Omar N. Bradley becomes chairman of the Bulova Watch Company, a position he remains in until 1973, when he retires at the age of 80.
1960 NASA asks Bulova to incorporate Accutron into its computers for the space program. Bulova timing mechanisms eventually become an integral part of 46 missions of the U.S. Space Program. Also in 1960, Bulova reintroduces its redeveloped Phototimer clock for track and field, improved with updated photographic and electronic technologies. It features an infrared sensing element patterned after those used on heat-seeking missiles. Mounted on the starter’s pistol, the Phototimer senses the flash of the gun and starts a timer clock at the same instant that the runners leave their marks.
1962 Accutron, the first watch to keep time through electronics, is introduced. It is the most spectacular breakthrough in timekeeping since the invention of the wristwatch. This revolutionary timekeeping concept of a watch without springs or escapement is operated by an electronically activated tuning fork. The Accutron watch goes on to become a presidential gift to world leaders and other dignitaries. President Johnson declares it the White House’s official Gift of State.
1962 The Accutron Tuning-fork watch becomes the first wristwatch certified for use by railroad personnel. 1962 is also the year that Bulova introduces its Caravelle line of jeweled watches. Designed to retail at $10.95 to $29.95, Caravelle competes with non-jeweled watches in the same price range.
1966 Bulova runs national commercials for Accutron on many popular television shows including the Dean Martin Show and The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
1968 The Bulova Satellite Clock, the world’s first public clock regulated by time signals from orbiting satellites, is inaugurated by Gustavo Diaz Ordaz, President of Mexico. The clock is installed atop the Torre Latino Americana, Mexico’s tallest skyscraper. 1968 also marks the year that Caravelle becomes the largest selling jeweled-movement watch in the United States.
1969 An Accutron watch movement is part of the equipment placed on the moon by Apollo 11 astronauts, the first men on the moon. A Bulova timer is placed in the moon’s Sea of Tranquility to control the transmissions of vital data through the years.
1970 The Bulova Accuquartz men’s calendar wristwatch becomes the first quartz-crystal watch sold at retail in the United States. Made of 18-karat gold, it retails for $1,325.
1973 Three specially designed Accutron portable alarm clocks are placed on board NASA’s Skylab, the world’s first space laboratory, launched from Cape Kennedy. Also this year, Bulova wins the world’s first design competition for solid-state digital watches at the Prix de la Ville de Genève watch-styling competition, the world’s most prestigious international watch-styling competition. Bulova also wins two of the three honorable mentions awarded at the competition.
1976 Bulova introduces its line of Accutron Quartz movement watches for men. Also this year, the Smithsonian Institution’s newly opened National Air and Space Museum features a replica of the NASA Skylab. It includes an Accutron “space alarm” clock identical to the ones mounted onboard the actual Skylab.
1979 Bulova runs a magazine ad campaign featuring Walter Cronkite, with the slogan “Good News from Bulova.” The company also places national commercials on many television shows including All in the Family, Charlie’s Angels, Starsky and Hutch, The Dukes of Hazard and Hawaii 5-0.
1982 Bulova heightens its profile by targeting young consumers with a television and magazine advertising campaign featuring Muhammad Ali, Morgan Fairchild, Cathy Lee Crosby, Bernadette Peters, Johnny Cash and Roger Daltrey.
1983 The Bulova Dimension is unveiled. It is the worlds thinnest wall clock, measuring just 5/8 of an inch.
1986 Bulova introduces its first miniature clock. Creating a new category of timepieces, Bulova goes on to produce entire collections of miniature clocks, including limited-edition pieces and themed groupings.
1987 Bulova becomes the official supplier to the U.S. Olympic team, providing watches for both the winter games in Calgary and the summer games in Seoul.
1988 Bulova changes its corporate name from Bulova Watch Company, Inc. to Bulova Corporation. This move reflects the companies growth into new and different product markets. Bulova produces an ad in record time. At the Winter Olympics in Calgary, a photograph is snapped on Saturday morning. Eight hours later an ad incorporating the photo is on the press in time to be in millions of copies of Time magazine on Monday.
1991 This year, with its new line of Swiss quartz watches, Accutron is relaunched as the premier brand of the Bulova Corporation.
1995 Bulova enters into a distribution agreement in South America and extends licenses in the Far East and Europe.
1996 A Gallup survey and the Fairchild 100 report rank Bulova fourth in consumer awareness in the combined watch and jewelry industries.
1998 Bulova introduces the Millennia Collection, a group of watches featuring innovative technology or materials. The collection includes a solar group, watches powered by light; motion quartz, watches powered by the motion of the wearer’s arm; and vibra-alarm, watches featuring two alarm mode options: sound or vibration.
2000 On October 4, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani proclaims Bulova Day in New York City, in recognition of Bulova’s 125th anniversary.
2001 Bulova acquires the Wittnauer trademark and some of the assets of Wittnauer International. Bulova also acquires the license for Harley-Davidson watches. Also, in 2001, Women’s Wear Daily’s Luxury Survey, which measures American women’s perception of the most luxurious apparel and accessory brands, ranked Bulova #14 in the watch and jewelry category.
2002 Bulova acquires certain assets of Heirloom, a custom woodworking company specializing in the manufacture of grandfather clocks. Operating as a Bulova subsidiary under the new name, Art of Time, Ltd., the Kitchener, Ontario-based facility begins producing high-quality, custom-made Bulova grandfather clocks for sale in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Bulova also launches a comprehensive international operating strategy to enhance its global positioning while protecting the integrity of the Bulova name by reasserting control over development and marketing worldwide. A key component of the program is the opening of European headquarters in Fribourg, Switzerland, marking Bulova’s return to full proprietary operations in Europe after nearly a quarter of a century. Made in Switzerland, with product development at both Bulova Swiss, S.A. and Bulova’s home office in New York, the Bulova European Collection is set to begin distribution on January 1, 2003.

The History of Wittnauer

Founded by young Swiss immigrant, Albert Wittnauer who at 16 years old already was already a highly skilled watchmaker. What were you doing at 16? Yeah, us too…

Long known for highly regarded, Wittnauer watches are among the the most sought after vintage brands. Quality material and engineering that will last a lifetime.

1872 Sixteen-year old Albert Wittnauer arrives in New York from Switzerland. Already a skilled watchmaker, young Wittnauer is to work for his brother-in-law, J. Eugene Robert, an importer of fine Swiss watches.

1874 Louis Wittnauer joins his older brother, Albert, in New York. The teenager also begins working for J. Eugene Robert.

1880 Convinced of the need for a watch designed expressly for the growing U.S. market, Albert Wittnauer creates the Wittnauer brand. Manufactured in Geneva, Switzerland, with all the functions and durability demanded by the American consumer, the Wittnauer brand, priced lower but as finely crafted as more expensive Swiss imports, is an instant success.

1885 Albert Wittnauer takes over the management of his brother-in-law’s importing company. The company continues to distribute several brands of Swiss watches as well as the growing Wittnauer brand.

1888 Emile Wittnauer, at 23 the youngest of the Wittnauer siblings, arrives in New York to work with his brothers.

1889 The company runs its very first advertisement. Appearing in the twentieth anniversary issue of the Jewelers’ Weekly, the ad notes that the company sells both “plain and complicated” watches, suggesting that it is a source for chronographs and repeating watches.

1890 The A. Wittnauer Company is formally established when J. Eugene Robert transfers title to the company to his young brother-in-law, Albert Wittnauer. Also involved in the company are Albert’s brothers, Louis and Emile, and their sister, Martha.

1899 With continuing success, the A. Wittnauer Company outgrows its small building at 19 Maiden Lane. Embracing the modern age, it moves to the tenth floor of a new fourteen-story skyscraper at 9-13 Maiden Lane.

Louis Wittnauer, dies at age 41.   Emile Assumes management of the New York office.

1904 Albert Wittnauer incorporates the A. Wittnauer Company, with himself as president and brother Emile as vice president.

1908 Albert Wittnauer dies at age 52.  Emile Wittnauer becomes the head of the A. Wittnauer Company.

1915 As the center of New York manufacturing moves farther uptown, A. Wittnauer Company moves operations to 30 West 36th Street. Also located in the new building is a subsidiary, the Brighton Watch Case Company, which manufactures gold, platinum and diamond-studded cases to house the company’s Swiss movements. 1916

Emile Wittnauer dies, leaving the company in the hands of his sister, Martha Wittnauer.

1917-1918 As the American Expeditionary Force joins the fighting in World War I, Wittnauer watches and other navigational instruments become essential equipment for many early aviation units.

During the War, servicemen in the field recognize wristwatches as a far more practical alternative to bulkier pocket watches. The Swiss watch industry moves quickly to take advantage of this new trend, giving the Swiss made Wittnauer an immediate edge in the U.S. market.

1918 The Wittnauer All-Proof, the world’s first waterproof, shock-proof, anti-magnetic watch, makes its retail debut. In the years to come, it would prove its mettle by being dropped from airplanes, thrown from the Empire State Building, taken to steaming Amazon jungles, and brought to the highest elevations of the Himalayas, Alps and Andes. Later, it would be used by countless service personnel during World War II.

1926 The National Broadcasting Company, America’s first radio network, chooses A. Wittnauer Company to provide the official timing for radio broadcasting.

1927 Wittnauer begins producing a navigational watch for use by aviators. The watch grows out of conversations between Commander P.V.H. Weems, the leading authority on aerial navigation, and Wittnauer watchmaker, J.P.V. Heinmuller. An aviation enthusiast, Heinmuller was then the official timekeeper of the U.S. National Aeronautical Association, as well as the developer of Wittnauer’s line of navigational timepieces, dashboard clocks and other aviation instruments.

1928 “Racing the moon,” Captain Charles B.D. Collyer and John Henry Mears circle the globe by air and sea in 24 days, beating the orbiting moon by a full three days. The two use A. Wittnauer Company timepieces throughout the journey.

1932 Amelia Earhart becomes the first woman – and the first person since Lindbergh – to fly solo across the Atlantic. Her Lockheed Vega-5B monoplane is equipped with A. Wittnauer Company timepieces. The 15-hour trip from Newfoundland to Ireland comes on May 21st, the fifth anniversary of Lindbergh’s flight.

1936 With the Depression continuing, A. Wittnauer Company, like most businesses offering luxury items, struggles. An era ends – and an exciting new one begins – when Martha Wittnauer sells the company founded by her brother to the Hella Deltah Company, a successful pearl manufacturer. A farsighted team consisting of Fred Cartoun, Hella Deltah’s sales manager, and investors Bernard Esh, a manufacturer of gold and platinum watch cases, and Ira Guilden, former vice president of the Bulova Watch Company, set to work revitalizing the company.

1937 Aviation and movie mogul, Howard Hughes, sets a coast-to-coast speed record by flying from Burbank to Newark in seven hours, twenty-eight minutes. His own Hughes Aircraft H-1 racer, “Winged Bullet,” is equipped with timepieces supplied by Wittnauer.

1941 As America enters World War II, Wittnauer, with its long relationship with the U.S. military, receives contracts to produce compasses, laboratory timers, aircraft clocks and military watches. The company’s topnotch workshops also offer employment to many skilled watchmakers forced to flee Europe. With domestic watch production diverted, Swiss watches flourish on the consumer market. While all assembly and repair facilities are devoted to the war effort, Wittnauer craftsmen work overtime to produce watches for the domestic market with movements imported from neutral Switzerland.

1948 CBS begins airing a series of half-hour radio programs featuring the Wittnauer Choraliers.

1949 Wittnauer introduces an accurate self-winding watch that is slimmer, yet more durable, than previous self-winding models.

1957 Wittnauer introduces its first electric watch.

1969 Westinghouse Electric Corporation purchases Wittnauer, bringing together an electrical industry giant and the company at the forefront of the newest electronic timekeeping technology. Newly installed president Robert Pliskin, a watch industry veteran, dedicates himself to improving the quality of the company’s offerings, concentrating on the Wittnauer watch brands, as well as Atmos clocks, while continuing to refine its electronic watch innovations.

1970 Wittnauer moves its offices and factory to New Rochelle, New York, a Westchester County suburb just north of New York City.

1979 John L. Davis, an active and innovative sales executive for the preceding 34 years, becomes president of Wittnauer. Davis continues to update and refine the company’s products, bringing it firmly into the electronic age with improved quartz analog watches.

1991 With the revived slogan, “the watchmaker’s watch,” the Wittnauer watch brand becomes the primary focus of the company. New company president, Reynald M. Swift, hires a new advertising agency specifically for Wittnauer watches, also instituting a new Wittnauer “Quality Pledge” and continuing the company’s “buckle-to-buckle” warranty.

1994 Wittnauer International Inc. is born, as the company gives up its dual role as manufacturer and agent to concentrate on its own Wittnauer brand.

2001 Two of world’s most prominent timekeeping names unite when Wittnauer becomes part of the Bulova Corporation.