Tag Archives: Vintage Watch

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.

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.