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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Vintage technology appeals to me. A tuning fork watch movement is at once both an impressive technological feat and archaic design. The movement technology might be obsolete but it resulted in the development of fascinating calibers and advancement in timekeeping precession, a real-world product of someone’s imagination.

A while back I picked up what I thought was a good looking “C” case IWC “Electronic.” While the electronic models are generally far less collectible than more finely finished mechanical models, I still thought it would be nice to get some of the information on these watches in one place since it’s generally kind of scattered and I don’t recall seeing many (any?) similar watches posted on this site.
Here’s my Electronic, which I've posted on the site before:







The Electronics were manufactured only during the early 1970s with total production of just around 30,000 pieces. The Electronic and the Edison Electronic (sometimes referred to as the Edison-family models) utilized Max Hetzel’s ESA 9162/9164, rebranded IWC cal. 150/160 respectively. The cal. 150 (ESA 9162) displayed the date while the 160 (ESA 9164) had day and date functions. There are many varieties of Electronics using both of these movements out there, though the cal. 160 is relatively less common. They can be had in spectacular condition for only around a $1000, sometimes less.

Both movements can be found in a variety of several IWC case references, though it generally seems that the Edison Electronics typically sported the day/date function as well as less conservative IWC case designs. I don’t have a decent stock photo of the Edison Electronic but a quick Google search for “IWC Edison Electronic” will demonstrate my point about the watch functions and the unusual case designs. IWC, like most other watch manufacturers, got into some weird stuff in the ‘70s.

Electronics were offered in steel and gold like all other IWC watches during the period. Additionally, some of the more unusual models (Edison Electronics) came in polished tungsten.

The 1972 IWC catalog provided a page description of the tuning fork mechanism, which might not provide any ground breaking revelations concerning the quite popular ESA tuning-fork movement, but I thought was still a neat thing to have. I’m only working with a few formal years of German but I tried to clean up the automated translation a little bit anyway:


Of course, many other watch companies used the same ESA movements. But there are a couple reasons why I would go as far as to say that these IWCs are the greatest of all electric and tuning fork models of their time. First, IWC equipped a few of their most popular and very classy vintage case designs with these movements, and I personally just appreciate the design more than what I’ve seen from other makers. Secondly, IWC still services the Electronic models. Most collectors know that one of the greatest challenges in collecting accutrons is the procurement of competent service or proper parts, and all original examples are becoming a rarity. IWC (for a price) will service any and all vintage models, even if it means manufacturing new parts. That kind of peace of mind and reassurance is nice to have in a collection.

Some examples of my favorite electronic case designs:


Please follow up with any additional information or pictures you have. On a couple occasions I've seen some confusion about these models. Some people seem to mistake them for quartz watches, or worse, fabrications.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks, Dennis.

I've seen the C case electronic like mine come in a good variety of dial colors too. I'm sure I've seen blue and green, maybe black. I think the varieties are similar to the yacht clubs from the same period, so I'm assuming the yellow gold model also comes with a gold dial.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
That's a nice looking Universal Geneva. Like the bezel.

I'd like to find the 3601 with the 9164 that I posted in the last picture of the original post. As I understand it, production of IWCs with the 9164 was as limited as 6000. So while still attainable, tracking down specific models can be tricky and I haven't yet seen that particular model on forums or in the wild.
 

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It appears that you have done a ton of research. Your determination is to be recognized because it's not always easy on tuning fork watches.
I also have tuning fork watches by Zenith, Omega, Longines, Zenith and Citizen but it appears to me that the IWC ones are the classiest.
I have, at least for a while, abandoned the quest for different brands to concentrate on trying to get more models of the Accutron, especially the gold ones before they get melted.
I'm aware that Slava in the old Soviet Union made a clone of the 214 Accutron but I recently read that Red China made one called the Tianjin ST4 and corresponded with a man who claims to know someone who has one.
I think the study of tuning fork watches is a great way to spend some cold winter time but it looks like you have the IWC ones pretty well figured out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Thanks, skypilot, I really hope to have gathered adequate information on these IWC hummers. The iwc tuning forks fall into a bit of a gap for collectors. Not many IWC collectors are interested in the non-mechanical pieces and not many tuning fork collectors target IWC. And because they're run was rather limited not enough information on them seemed readily available. Unfortunately, such seems to be the case for quite a few makers of tuning fork models. Fortunately, I think it also provides some excellent buying opportunities, at least in the case of iwc.

I have just a couple accutrons. They're uniqueness and historical significance is appealing but the servicing hoops I had to jump through discourage me from expanding that collection. I'd still like to own an astronaut someday, but that'll be down the road. Hopefully I'll be able to find one with recent service history and a warranty.

Like Dennis highlighted, it is very cool that IWC still services their tuning fork collection. I still plan to track down a couple specific IWC electronic models and then plan to have each of them serviced properly by IWC. It'll be expensive I'm sure, but since I think I plan to hang onto whatever I can get anyway it'll be nice to have some like new watches.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I'm sure IWC charges a pretty penny, as they do for any vintage watch restoration. However, any local watch shop that services accutron movements is capable of finding parts and overhauling the ESA tuning fork movements as well. I just recently brought an accutron into my local watch shop to see about an overhaul and had the overhaul finished, including replacement of some parts, for about $400. In the future, as spare parts become more scarce, its just nice to know that IWC will actually fabricate new parts to fit the movement if you're willing to pay them to do so.
 

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The color of the bezel looks unique to me..the watches overall are quite nice and look in quite good condition..i hope very soon you get to finish off your collection with all the nice watches from this manufacturer.
 

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Vintage technology appeals to me. A tuning fork watch movement is at once both an impressive technological feat and archaic design. The movement technology might be obsolete but it resulted in the development of fascinating calibers and advancement in timekeeping precession, a real-world product of someone’s imagination.
Hello,

We have acquired a vintage IWC Electronic from our grandfather.
This watch comes in 750k massive gold.
There is a fish engraved on the crown.
We wont remove the back cover. We do not know the movement at the moment.
They bought it in Davos / Switzerland at LE PANACHE Uhren 7270 Davos Platz.
Timeframe should be in the 70s/80s.
Our Grandfather purchased it for 10.000 Deutsche Mark / 5000 Euro.

If you could please help us again shortly with a name, possible age, value, we would greatly appreciate it.

Thank you for your help.

King regards,
smkkkk






 

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Nice IWC. Assuming that it is authentic, I believe they are powered by the IWC caliber 160 movement. I've recently seen two of these 18k watches in good running condition sell in the $1000 - $1500 range.
 

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Nice IWC. Assuming that it is authentic, I believe they are powered by the IWC caliber 160 movement. I've recently seen two of these 18k watches in good running condition sell in the $1000 - $1500 range.
Really? I'm guessing the gold value in that watch and band would be at least $3000.
 

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Really? I'm guessing the gold value in that watch and band would be at least $3000.
I honestly thought it would be up in the $3-4k range but one was listed at $1795. and the other at $1500 and both sold. Both were 18k solid gold cases, the higher priced one had a near identical dial & case to smkkkk's and both had leather straps. Perhaps maybe with that bracelet it gets up into the $2k range?

That said, a little more searching found one with a matching 18k bracelet for sale on Watchuseek in May 2014 with an asking price of 4500 euros. It doesn't appear to have sold though. And here is a link to one with an asking price of $2200 US in 2013
 

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I would take the watch to a reputable jeweler, and have him test the case and bracelet. It looks to me that on the clasp, there is some rub, and the base metal is starting to show. For a 5000 euros watch, the hallmark and 750 is crudely stamped in the metal, leaving a dip/dent. It just doesn't look real to me. Also have him take the back cover off.

I might be wrong, but that's the only way your going to know for sure!
 

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Hey, i just purchased this and have not been able to find anything close to it online until i came across this thread. I saw someone was wondering what the gold version of this watch's face looks like. So here is a phot of it. Any info on value would be greatly appreciated so i can determine if i paid too much for it.
Watch Analog watch Tartan Black Clock
 
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