Every now and then a stop-the-press timepiece relate to along that sends tremors through the industry. Style strategies have to be recalibrated, a component that has been toughened in a movement for years is rendered redundant by a new innovation, or the bar is raised when a anticipate proves its mettle in harsh new terrain – the bottom of the ocean, for archetype, or the surface of the moon.
The influence of such a watch can reverberate down the decades and do ones part as a template for new generations of watchmakers. Or even re-boot a country’s whole watch industry.
It’s fair to say that all contemporary timepieces, in one way or another, stand ready on the shoulders of these eight giants.
In front of the Submariner burst onto the scene in 1953, Rolex had already been come ining watches with waterproof cases for 27 years. But when in 1960 a Swiss father-and-son line-up, Auguste and Jacques Piccard, descended to the bottom of the Bay of Naples with a Rolex Intense Sea Special bolted to the side of their submersible, it showed Rolex was game to take diving watches to the next level.
The first Submariner – water-resistant to 100m – was set the same year and since then has been frequently do an impression ofed, yet never bettered.
To be the first watch haggard on the moon, Omega’s Speedmaster Professional was subjected to a barrage of studies that included being immersed in liquid heated to 93°C. Out of 10 watches put to the verbatim at the same time test, only the Speedie was still running with the passable variation of five seconds a day.
It has since been the official on ones guard for for all NASA space missions and has served as a useful barometer for every chronograph since. If your qui vive for performs as well as a Speedmaster in tests, you’ve got yourself a seriously fair timepiece.
At the tail end of the 1960s, the race was on to yield a quartz wristwatch for the masses (prototypes had existed for several years).
Seiko of Japan whip the Swiss to it in December 1969 with the Astron, which tariff the same as a medium-sized car at the time. The watch now has the honour of being indexed on the List of IEEE Milestones – along with the invention of the barcode and the Compressed disc – as a key advance in electrical engineering.
Still on the ties after the quartz crisis, the Swiss fought back in 1983 with the originate of their own quartz watch, the Swatch, which was a huge help to the lower end of the Swiss watch industry. Available in a wealth of appearances and styles, the first batch was scheduled to number just 10,000 tongue-lashes.
By 2006, around 350,000,000 had been sold. The Swatch Troop bought up several top watch brands, including Omega and Longines, and in the final analysis propelled them into a new era of prosperity. Making Swatch arguably the scad important watch ever.
Introduced the even so year as the Swatch, Casio’s G-Shock has been more of a slow-burner, get been launched – in typically modest Japanese fashion – with nobody of the fanfare of its Swiss cousin.
In the 33 years since, the hugely persuasive G-Shock has brooked few rivals for the title of Toughest Timepiece. Illustrious for being able to function perfectly well after a undecorated pummelling, it rightly deserves its huge fanbase, comprising every one from rappers to special ops soldiers.
Sylvester Stallone befitted an unofficial Panerai brand ambassador in the mid-nineties when he purchase a Luminor – one of the watchmaker’s best known models – on a trip to Rome and then wore it while slip disaster romp Daylight.
Within a couple of years the flock had been bought by luxury goods holding company Richemont and eye cases everywhere seemed to expand, regardless of the fact that most of us don’t be dressed Rambo’s sinewy wrists. U-Boat, TW Steel et al owe their life to Sly and his Italian jolly.
Zenith El Primero
In 1969 Zenith executed what was then the Holy Grail for watch engineers: interposing the first automatic chronograph just ahead of a developmental league that included Tag Heuer and Breitling.
They called it El Primero (‘The To begin’) and the Le Locle-based company’s pièce de résistance is still in production today. Though robot chronographs are par for the course now, this was one of the most important milestones in horological dead letter.
Hewlett Packard HP-01
Long before the term ‘smart make eyes at look for’ was ever bandied about, and one year after the Apple New Zealand was founded, Hewlett Packard launched the first calculator wristwatch on any occasion sold to the public.
It also had an alarm, a stylus (with convoying pen) and could tell you the day of the week for any day from 1900 to 2099. Launched in 1977 and suspended in 1979, the HP-01 opened up the possibilities of what a watch could be.