Autoquartz

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In Autoquartz watches the modern technology of quartz watch connects with the classical technique of the automatic mechanical drive. The precision advantages of the former complement each other with the environmentally friendly battery freedom of the latter. So one could speak of a hybrid technique.

In 1986, the Japanese company Seiko unveiled their AGS (Automatic Generating System), which used an oscillating rotor to turn a generator directly. It was brought to market in 1988 under the name AGS Quartz and renamed Kinetic in 1991. The movements of the weight segment (rotor) is transferred with the help of a high-ratio gearbox to a tiny electrical generator. This charges, depending on the version, either a capacitor or a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. A protection unit prevents the energy storage from being overloaded.

The 1988 Jean d'Eve Samara was also claimed to be the first automatic quartz watch in the world. The Kentron Cal. 861.0 "Generotor system" features a dial-side rotor (between the hands and dial) that winds a generator spring that spins up a multi-polar generator to 15,000 rpm. This charges a condenser which can hold 10 days (240 hours) of power for the quartz movement. It also included an "Energizer" which can re-start the watch once it has stopped.

ETA released their own Autoquartz in 1996 in the Tissot PR 100. This was later used by many other Swiss manufacturers. Like the Jean d'Eve, ETA's relies on a licensed system which uses an intermediate spring to store the rotor's energy, allowing the generator to turn at optimal rate. ETA ended the Autoquartz line by 2006.

Seiko continues to improve their Kinetic line as of 2020 and the Spring Drive, although different technically, is a related development. Ventura used ETA's Autoquartz in their early models but created their own Ventura MGS system in 2006 once ETA exited the business. These pair automatic winding with a digital LCD display, a novel turn.

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