Microma was a producer of electronic watches (notably LCD) in the 1970s and 1980s. It was originally part of Universal Perret Frères of Geneva before being purchased by Intel Corporation in 1972. Intel sold it at a substantial loss to ASUAG in 1978, which operated it as part of General Watch Co. through the late 1980s.
Microma Universal was founded by Universal Genéve in 1970 as a Swiss-American firm focused on production of advanced electronic watch movements. Registered in Mountain View, CA, Microma introduced one of the first integrated circuits designed for quartz watch movements in 1971. Their EWC-1000 circuit block contained the oscillator, binary frequency divider, and pulse and motor controller and was able to operate at frequencies from 8 to 128 kHz, though it was primarily designed for use at the emerging standard of 32 kHz. It used a 1.35 volt battery and drew just 10 micro amps.
In 1972, Microma introduced a module designed to regulate a conventional mechanical watch using a quartz timer. The QT-0001 was intended to mount on the movement plate and synchronize an electro-mechanical balance at 28,800 A/h using a quartz crystal and frequency divider integrated circuit.
Intel closed its acquisition of Microma on July 14, 1972 for a reported $15 million, turning the company to the production of solid state watches, particularly LCD modules. Partnering with Hamlin, Microma introduced the Microma 360 LCD watch in October of that year in various sales channels across the United States. The French Herma-Lov, Finhor, and Villers-le-Lac used a Microma display the following year, as did the Nepro Lady Quartz and the Timetron of Hong Kong. Citizen may have also used a Microma display in their Solid State Liquid Crystal Quartz watch of 1973. Nepro was the exclusive distributor of Microma in Europe.
In 1974, Microma introduced the first digital quartz watch for women alongside a mens LCD model that displayed running seconds for the first time. This was followed in 1976 by a new LCD module that showed the time, seconds, date, and stopwatch.
Intel's focus on selling consumer LCD watches was a challenge for the component company, and was called “my $15 million mistake” by founder Gordon Moore, who wore a Microma watch for years to remind himself to stay out of the consumer business. He sold Microma's European factory to Endura AG and the brand to General Watch Co. of ASUAG in 1978. The company introduced a hybrid watch movement with both LCD and physical hands that year alongside a multi-function LCD chronograph. In 1980, Microma introduced their first all-analog quartz watch.
Microma was strongly promoted through the early 1980s but was no longer seen after the establishment of SMH.