70s watches

70s Watches: How Do 1970s Watches Differ From Today?

This year, the fashion industry is flooded with trends from the 1970s, from floral dresses to bell-bottom jeans. Luckily for us, 70s fashion is even making a comeback in the watch industry. Amidst the many neutral products that we adore, 70s watches are beginning to pop up. And, they’re as bold, bright, and beautiful as ever.

To learn all about 70s watches and discover 5 vintage timepieces from this era, read on!

Watch Movements

watch movement

Today’s watches are a mix of quartz, mechanical and automatic. With no clear favourite for watch enthusiasts. However, the watch industry of the 70s could be described as a quartz haven.

The first quartz watch, Seiko’s Astron, was introduced on the 25th of December 1969. Paving the way for the success of quartz.

As quartz began to rise in popularity over the world, watchmakers of Switzerland continued to craft mechanical watches. Hesitant to dive into this modern trend. 

However, quartz timepieces weren’t a fleeting trend—they were here to stay. Consequently, Switzerland underwent the Quartz Crisis while other countries such as Japan and America thrived with their contemporary watches.

Thankfully, Switzerland eventually realised the beauty of quartz. Meaning we can find many 1970s watches with quartz movements today.

These watches are highly accurate yet affordable, making them desirable to the modern consumer. They are also low-maintenance as they do not require winding. Which is perfect for the fast-paced society in which we live.

Finally, 1970s quartz watches tend to be slimmer and smaller than their automatic and mechanical counterparts. Not only does this make them impressively practical, but it’s also easier to fashion a female timepiece using quartz, as women’s watches tend to feature petite dials.

On the other hand, as 1970s watches tend to be quartz, they arguably hold less historical value than mechanical timepieces. Some passionate watch aficionados enjoy the process of watch winding as it allows you to connect with the watch and admire its rich history.

Aesthetics Of 70s Watches

colourful rolex

We all know the 60s were characterised by bold, bright colours. While this faded over time, the start of the 70s was certainly colourful.

Hence, seventies watches were characterised by bold, bright colours. Often, block colour would be used to create a uniform look. This is why we see many solid gold watches from the 70s. Solid colour products evoke a certain sense of sophistication that is perhaps harder to achieve with a two-toned timepiece.

Unique patterns were also a common feature of 70s watches. Owing to the trending idea of embracing uniqueness. This could be anything from a subtly textured dial to a distinct floral dial. Reminiscent of the boho style.

Even the shape of watches was unique and watch brands would experiment with various geometric shapes rather than selling the same circular and rectangular watches we see today.

As for 70s watch bands, leather was a popular option thanks to its practicality and comfort. As well as its adaptability to formal and informal attire. 

However, the classic stainless steel watch bracelet was appreciated even back then. Sometimes, the bracelet was even integrated into the timepiece. Which we don’t often see these days.

How Do Watches From The 70s Compare To Modern Watches?

70s watches

As we are beginning to see 70s trends incorporated into modern watch designs, the gap between the two eras is closing.

The innovative design of the 70s is often channelled by today’s watch designers. We can see this in distinct dials that come in all sorts of colours and patterns. It isn’t uncommon to see a dial that possesses several unique features at once. For example a bold colour and engraving.

Additionally, quartz watches remain popular today. Which is something that unites the watches of the 70s with those of 2021.

That being said, the watch industry has come along way in the past 50 years, and therefore we can see many traits of modern watches that were not present in the 1970s.

Nowadays, smartwatches are incredibly popular. From the first smartwatch in 2004 (the Microsoft SPOT) to the endless Apple watches we know and love today, smartwatches have blessed us with up-and-coming technology that watch aficionados of the 70s could only dream of. From heart-rate monitoring to tracking your daily workouts, smartwatches act as a reminder to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

In fact, advanced technology is present in many of our modern watches, not just smartwatches. We’re spoilt for choice with the option of thermometers, flight tracking, and moon data. A watch is no longer just a form of telling time.

What Are People Buying?

In terms of the watches that people purchase, it’s arguably easier to have a unique collection in 2021. With many people ordering watches online, it’s no longer necessary to live near a watch store. Meaning you have access to a wide range of distinct timepieces. You can even purchase pre-owned watches from anywhere in the world and end up spending less than you would in your local store.

It’s evident that modern watches boast features that 1970s watches couldn’t compete with. However, what did 1970s watches have that we are lacking in 2021?

One type of watch that didn’t truly stand the test of time is the digital watch. The first digital watch was invented in 1972 by Hamilton. Therefore, this watch type was brand new and exciting in the 70s. It flaunted functions including alarms and stopwatches that were not often present on 1970s dials.

In contrast, we don’t see many digital watches on the market these days. The aesthetics of the analogue watch are perhaps more appreciated as they serve as a beautiful reminder of the history of watches. Moreover, it may be easier to fit large features (such as the moonphase and the chronograph) onto an analogue dial. 

5 Of Our Favourite1970s Watches For Sale

Check out our list of our 5 favourite watches from the 70’s and give your wardrobe a blast from the past!

5. Jaeger-LeCoultre, SS Automatic Memovox Alarm 1970s

Jaeger-LeCoultre, SS Automatic Memovox Alarm 1970s watches

We have selected this automatic timepiece from Jaeger-LeCoultre as it showcases 70s watch trends in a variety of ways.

The brown leather strap is a classic and would have featured on many 70s watches. As for the rectangular dial, it’s an example of the unique design of many seventies’ timepieces. 

Something as small as a change in the dial shape can bring a sense of innovation to a watch. And this 70s jaeger watch is certainly innovative.

4. Audemars Piguet, Royal Oak A-Series

Audemars Piguet, Royal Oak A-Series 70s watches

The 70s saw the introduction of luxury sports watches such as this Audemars Piguet design.

Many vintage 1970s watches flaunted integrated bracelets such as the one we see in the image. Which produces an overall uniform aesthetic.

Finally, the creative tapisserie dial is typical of an Audemars Piguet timepiece. And it shows that watchmakers of the 1970s knew how to apply creativity to watch design.

3. Vacheron Constantin, 1972 Prestige

Vacheron Constantin, 1972 Prestige 70s watches

The 1972 Prestige is in a league of its own.

It’s the world’s thinnest mechanical movement, making it fit for everyday use.

The curved asymmetrical case ensures this timepiece stands out against others, while the 18k white gold case conforms to the pressures of high-quality in the watch industry.

We particularly love the unique dial on this watch. It’s finished with grey-satin sunburst chevron motif, as well as gorgeous pink gold dauphine hands that bring a much-needed pop of colour.

2. Edox, GeoScope GMT World Timer 1970

Edox, GeoScope GMT World Timer 1970

Here we have another luxury sports watch, but this time it’s the wonderful GeoScope GMT World Timer.

While the quality of watches has vastly improved over the decades, this Edox design is proof that it was possible to achieve excellent quality in the 70s.

It boasts thick crystal glass, making it incredibly durable. What’s more, it’s described as superwaterproof, so you could even take it with you for a day at the beach!

1. IWC, Da Vinci Quartz Electronic

IWC, Da Vinci Quartz Electronic

For our final 70s timepiece, we couldn’t resist showing off a quartz creation.

This IWC find is another excellent example of high quality due to its premium materials.

Not only is the 37.7mm case made from 18k yellow gold, but the rectangular dial is protected by sapphire crystal glass, promising exceptional durability. What’s more, the charming dial is packed with intriguing features such as baton hour markers and a date display.

Our Final Thoughts On 70s Watches

70s watches

After exploring the wonderful characteristics of 70s watches, we are ready to bring back the boldness.

That being said, we couldn’t live without today’s modern watch features.

Perhaps a combination of the two is the perfect resolution!

On the other hand, if you’re partial to a more traditional watch, we have plenty of options for you on this website. Browse our watches for sale today to find a Swiss-made watch to call your own!

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