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R.4 Synthetic Materials

1967 The Voumard Time Company of Hauterive, Switzerland, uses cases made of the plastic, PolyPhenyleenOxyde, for their watches. The plastic was developed by the Dutch company AKU in 1966. 1968 Lip markets the 'CalLIPso'; a watch with a plastic case and a plastic strap. The plastic was an acetyl-resin composition, developed by Delrin for Dupont. 1970 The first series of the 'Tissot-Astralon' are presented to the press in June. They were the world's first watches with a self-lubricating movement and, except for the balance and the mainspring, a case made of synthetic material (Hostaform C VP 9024 M). Every part of the frame was injection precision moulded and instead of jewels, synthetic bearings had been used. The watch was manufactured from only 52 parts. The first watches were issued under the name 'Tissot Research Idea 2001'. Shortly afterwards, several watch manufacturers amongst which Lanco, Sears, and Agon used this caliber in their watches. Tissot used the same caliber in their series of watches named 'Autolub' (i.e. 'The Self Lubricator'). This revolutionary watch did not become a success. No other watch manufacturer ever tried again to create a completely plastic mechanical movement. 1971 The 'Tissot-Astralon' is presented at the Basle Fair and retailed in the shops the same year. Tissot manufactures the 'Tissot-Sideral' with a fiberglass case. 1983 The Swatch watches are launched in the USA, Great Britain and Switzerland. A new micro injection plastic molding proces is used to manufacture the watch cases. The back of the watch performs at the same time as the pillar plate. Whenever possible, plastic has been used.

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Copyright by Pieter Doensen

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