In 1966, Citizen launched Japan’s first electric watch – I featured the Chronomaster version of that in Week 10 – and over the next 10 or so years they developed this electro-mechanical technology via the ‘X8’ and ‘Cosmotron’ lines. With the advent of quartz modules this hybrid technology was short-lived, although it seems to have been successful in terms of sales in Japan.
The design of the electro-mechanical movements changed rapidly as the 1960’s ended and the 1970’s began, with an associated reduction in jeweling and to some extent, prices. As the technology was developed, so the speed of the movements increased. The first ‘Electric’ models (0801 / 0802) ran at 18,000 beats per hour, followed by the 0840 and 4840 running at 21,600 beats per hour. Finally, the 78xx series ran at 36,000 beats per hour.
Well, nearly finally that is, since in 1970 Citizen produced their first electro-mechanical watch for women…..enter the 5800 movement, something of a mini-marvel:
With 17 jewels reflecting a higher grade piece, this movement was used in the ‘IC-12’ ladies model – and solid gold versions of this retailed at JPY180,000! The ‘IC’ part stood for Integrated Circuit, but the more interesting part is the ’12’, since this indicated the beat of the watch, a remarkable 12 beats per second…..or 43,200 beats per hour.
The 5800 movement was / is Citizen’s highest speed watch with a mechanical balance, and was used later, around 1974/5 in a version for men. Here’s the gold plated version, from August 1975:
The small movement is held by a plastic internal case:
This is the stainless steel version:
Produced in November 1974, this one has a different style of case back, one that actually looks later than the 1975 model:
The plain white dials and black frame hands combine well:
And just in is a women’s model from 1970 – sadly not the IC-12 Chronometer version! Only one quick shot so far, to show the size against the men’s model:
The 5800 movement is not so well-known in the Cosmotron line-up, but is an excellent example of the hybrid technology pursued by Citizen just prior to the quartz explosion.