But I have gone off topic - a terrible habit of mine. I have not written this blog to frown at plastics, but rather to reminisce about its entrance into the world of horology.
Plastics were around for decades before Tissot unveiled the groundbreaking IDEA 2001 in 1971.
Articles announced with amazed astonishment,
" THROWAWAY WATCH: A timepiece with plastic works so inexpensive that they can be discarded and replaced whenever they fail to function properly has been developed by Tissot of Geneva"
So why was this new innovative timepiece filled with promise cemented in a bygone era? The answer is "Quartz".
In creating the Astrolon 2250, Tissot was trying to straddle two vastly different horological worlds of the day: The traditional world of mechanical watchmaking and modern day innovation. The introduction of Japanese Seiko's Quartz Astron on December 25th, 1969 beating Girard-Perregaux Quartz Caliber 351 by an entire year, resulted in the "Quartz Revolution" or "Quartz Scare". Seiko was aggressively marketing its new quartz watches in the US. By November 1972 it became apparent that Swiss exports of traditional watches were slipping beneath Japanese exports. This sent the then $3 Billion Swiss watchmaking industry into a tailspin. Traditional watchmaking factories closed; thousands of jobs were lost and dozens of Swiss watchmaking companies went under. The mechanical watch, plastic or not, was fast becoming obsolete.
The new millennium heralded in a new horological era - the return to mechanical masterpieces and the quest for new innovative materials. Metal mechanical components are once again being replaced by non-metallic pieces, which require little maintenance and lubrication. One only has to turn ones attention to the Cartier ID Two Concept Watch sporting a Fiberglass Mainspring. In the 1970's it seemed Tissot's vision of horological innovation was a tad askew amidst the quartz revolution, when in fact it was decades ahead of itself.