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F.1 Lip R 27

Monsieur Dargier de Saint Vaulry started the development of the Lip-electronic R 27. In 1948 he contacted the Lip company to see whether the company was interested in further exploration of the possibilities of producing an electric watch. The technical department, headed by Jean-George Henri Laviolette showed enough enthusiasm to take over Dargier's ideas, however they needed another ten years to overcome all the problems the production of the watch required. In 1958, the 'Electronic' was introduced to the public for the first time. The 'Electronic' became the first electric wrist watch in Europe and the second one to be produced in the world. It should be noted that the name 'Electronic' is only partially correct. The watch does indeed contain an electronic component, a diode, but only to protect the contacts against sparking and unimportant to the basic watch functions. Approximately 7,000 pieces have been manufactured.

1945Most of the production facilities of the Lip company had been destroyed during the war. Due to a complete reorganisation of the development department, the Lip factory secretly starts an investigation into the possibilities of producing an electric wrist watch.
1949An arrangement with Elgin USA is made to exchange technical information. No co-operation in production takes place yet.
19-03-1952Lip in Paris and Elgin in Chicago announce their electronic watch at the same time. They were prototypes, which still had a long way to go before production would show some prospect for commercial viability.
19-03-1954Another prototype of the 'Electronic' is shown at the International Chronometric Congress in Paris.
01-09-1955At the 'Salon International d'Horlogerie' in Besanìon, France, twenty working models of the R 27 are displayed.
13-06-1957Lip files an application for the patent of a transistorized variety of the R 27. The patent is granted under no. 1.177.277, in France.
sept. 1957At the 'Salon International d'Horlogerie' in Besanìon France, Lip presents the world's first transistorized wrist watch (the adapted version of the R 27). Although a patent had already been granted, the transistorized wrist watch was never taken into production.
08-08-1958Lip files another application for a patent on the R 27 in France, which was granted under no. 1.267.141, in France.
07-12-1958The Lip Electronic with a R 27 movement is introduced for sale in France for the first time.
05-03-1959The Lip Electronic receives a chronometer qualification at the 'Observatoire de Besançon'.
23-12-1959A prototype version of the R 27 with a transistor and without mechanical contacts receives yet another qualification as a chronometer.
1960The 'Lip Electronic' is sold in Germany under the name 'Porta-Lip'.

Three models were produced:

1The 'Cosmic', 18 carat gold case and a fashioned dial.
2The 'Vanguard', 18 carat gold case with smooth dial.
3The 'Jupiter', steel chromium plated case.

Model 1 and 2 were sold in a brown leather box, green inside, created and signed by Hermes Paris. The strap was made of brown crocodile leather.

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Copyright © by Pieter Doensen

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