Girard-Perregaux Elcron

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Elcron was an early quartz watch movement created by Girard-Perregaux and Thomson.


While many Swiss companies joined the CEH, which would produce the Beta 21 movement, Girard-Perregaux went in a different direction. The company worked with French electronics giant Thomson to produce a the Elcron quartz movement. Like the CEH Beta 1 and Seiko Astron, the Elcron used a stepper motor to advance the wheel train once per second. Where CEH was forced to use a 5-stage frequency divider and vibration motor to reduce power consumption, Girard-Perregaux went in the other direction: They supplied the Elcron movement with two batteries to achieve running time of one year.

The first Elcron was a small table clock, introduced in 1968. It had specifications similar to the Elcron wrist watch movement and remained in production through at least 1971.

Girard-Perregaux showed the Elcron watch movement at the Basel Fair in 1970 alongside the CEH Beta 21, Longines Ultra-Quartz, Omega Megaquartz, and Neosonic concept. They also announced the first Elcron-powered watch, which was priced at CHF13,000, 45% less than other quartz watches. It was large, at 40 mm across and 12 mm thick, but came in an attractive tonneau-shaped case thanks to the round movement.

The original Elcron movement would prove to be short-lived, however, with the improved 32 KHz GP350 launched in 1971. This movement, also used by Jaeger-LeCoultre and Favre-Leuba, would be one of the first truly mass-produced quartz movements and was a major success for Girard-Perregaux.

See Also