There was a lot going on in the watch world in the 1960’s. There was the race to make the first automatic chronograph, the commercial introduction of the electric watch and the high-beat cold war. An easy way to think about the beat rate of a watch is to think about how many times that watch ticks or beats in a single second. The more beats in a single second the higher the beat rate with anything over 10 beats per second (36,000 bhp) being generally considered high-beat. The basic thinking is that the more beats in a second a watch can measure the more accurate the watch, and marketing teams at big watch companies love accuracy as it is generally associated with quality.
There were three main brands involved in the high-beat battle. Girard-Perregaux kicked things off with the introduction of their Gyromatic and they were quickly followed by Seiko who introduced their Lord Marvel watch. Last to enter the game was Longines with their Ultra-Chron. Even though they had accuracy on their side, there was and still is a downside to high-beat movements, which is wear and tear. A higher beat rate means that the pieces of the watch movement are moving faster and coming in contact with one another more frequently which all means more friction. This wears lubricants faster and increases the maintenance needed to keep these watches functioning properly. Longines had a solution for this by way of a new dry lubricant called molybdenum bi-sulfide.
Longines debuted their Ultra-Chron line of watches in 1967. When they showed off the watches they were accompanied by the tag line “the world’s most accurate watch” and they backed up this claim by guaranteeing them to within +/- one minute over the course of a month (approximately two seconds per day). Longines say great success with the Ultra-Chron movement and put it into a number of different watches during its production run from 1967 to the mid 1970’s. You can find dress watches, square watches, and the cushion-shaped sports watch that you see here. Ultimately, the popularity and accuracy of the quartz watch put an end to the Ultra-Chron, but we still love them for their special place in watch history.
The 35mm cushion shaped stainless steel case is in very good condition. It retains the correct brushed and polished finishes and outside of scratches from normal wear and tear is free of any major defects. The caseback is believed to be original but the unsigned crown thought to be a later service piece.
The Dial and Hands
The silver/champagne sunburst dial is in fair condition. The highlight of the dial is the applied stylized numerals that are present at each hour with the exception of the 3 o’clock position which is replaced by the date window. It should be noted that there is some staining below the date window which is visible in the photos.
This watch is powered by the automatic caliber 431 high beat movement. The watch is running and the service history is unknown.
|Location||New York City|
|Movement||Automatic, Caliber 431 high-beat|
|Case Material||Stainless Steel|
|Band Material||Nato Strap|