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SEIKO7A38

Intel / Microma Quartz Watches ?

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Does anybody on here happen to be an ex-Intel employee, like myself, who remembers the Intel Microma watches ?

They were given to employees as a 5-year service award, up until the early 1980's, and were very collectable / covetable.

Unfortunately, by the time I got 5 year's service under my belt, in 1986, they'd run out of them, and I got given another Intel branded quartz watch.

I guess it's verboten to post links of any kind on here. Your forum - your rules I guess. :huh:

Anyway, if you google Intel + Microma + Watch, you'll come up with a few results, including a mention of them in the Intel museum, and a couple of photos of one of these early LCD quartz watches (as used for the Intel employee 5-year awards) on Andy Dunn's Vintage Watch Site.

Does anybody on here own one ? Or could post a better photo of one ?

Edited by SEIKO7A38Fan

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I guess it's verboten to post links of any kind on here. Your forum - your rules I guess. :huh:

Or maybe not ?

Links to or URLs for sites where watches or related items are offered for sale, or to sites offering watch discussion will be deleted.

Anyway, if you google Intel + Microma + Watch, you'll come up with a few results, including a mention of them in the Intel museum, and a couple of photos of one of these early LCD quartz watches (as used for the Intel employee 5-year awards) on Andy Dunn's Vintage Watch Site.

See: http://www.intel.com/museum/newsroom/press_kit/pr_003.htm

and: http://www.flickr.com/photos/joshb/320868833/

and: http://andydunn.name/WatchDetail.php?watch...p;watchtype=lcd

(I believe this is the Microma watch Intel used to use for 5-Year Service awards, but I need to check with an old colleague).

Edited by SEIKO7A38Fan

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http://andydunn.name/WatchDetail.php?watch...p;watchtype=lcd

(I believe this is the Microma watch Intel used to use for 5-Year Service awards, but I need to check with an old colleague).

Since I wrote this a couple of weeks ago, I've been in contact with that old work colleague, who has just been appointed Secretary to the Intel Retirees Organisation (of more anon).

I also contacted Andy Dunn, via his website: http://andydunn.name/Index.htm to ask him what he knew about the Intel / Microma collaboration; in particular the 'excess unsold stock' of Microma watches that Intel gave to employees as 5-Year service awards between 1973 to 1985.

I'm hoping that I'll be able to persuade Andy to share some of his vast knowledge and insight into the history of early quartz LCD watches on here, but in the meantime, here's a couple of extracts from his recent emails:

Thanks for making contact. Sorry I missed your post on the UK watch forum but my membership to this site lapsed some time ago and I’ve never got around to logging in since. To give you some background, I’m not a current or ex-Intel employee just an avid collector of digital watches from 70’s. During my collecting I came across Microma and liked many of their watches. It was then I decided to find out a little more about the company and their early watches but, while there is information on the internet, it’s all a bit vague, not in one place and lacking in clarity regarding model numbers and dates etc.

It was then I decided to do more research and write a paper on their watches. One of my first points of contact was the Intel Retiree Organisation. In fact there should be an entry in this month’s newsletter asking ex-Intel employees to email me photos of their Intel/Microma watches with the date received and any other information on Microma. Hopefully I will be able to get some detailed information on models and dates from these images. So far I have received one such image (attached for your information). This is interesting because it dates from 1973 which is very early in the Microma/Intel partnership. I did get one other image of a post Microma Intel watch from 1984 (also attached). I understand they stopped giving the Microma watches just before this date although I have heard (but not actually seen) one dated 1985. I guess the stopped at different times at different places? As for more details on exactly how many different types and models of Microma or Intel 5 year watches there are, I cannot currently say. Although hopefully, after I get some images via the IRO, I may have more of an idea. I do understand that the watch shown on my site was one of the watch models used however, I’ve yet to find anything other than circumstantial evidence to backup this claim.

Images Andy referred to above:

Microma_Intel_1973.jpg

Note: The watch face has an Intel logo engraved above the LCD window.

Intel_1984.jpg

This is a later (non-Microma) digital LCD, circa 1984 - the one I was hoping to be awarded. :(

Edited by SEIKO7A38Fan

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I'm hoping that I'll be able to persuade Andy to share some of his vast knowledge and insight into the history of early quartz LCD watches on here, but in the meantime, here's a couple of extracts from his recent emails:

I have recently filled the time researching Microma (and intend to do others in the future such as Fairchild). This is more interesting (and cheaper!) than searching eBay for interesting items! I was actually lucky to find the IRO from one of their online magazines (which just happened to contain the word Microma). They have been very helpful in my quest and this makes it all a much more pleasurable experience. Still a lot to find out yet though! Makes me wonder how we every managed without Google…

I should think a collection featuring the Intel branded watches would be pretty good and contain a wide scope of different models and styles. Not too sure how often these early Microma’s with Intel branding come up for sale. I am actually having no luck getting any idea on numbers made of any models. Although, at the peak in 1975 they employed over 400 staff so it was no small concern and therefore could have manufactured fairly high numbers.

Thanks for pointing out the eBay items. I did actually see the Intel Network Solutions watch on eBay. It looked like a good item (in Titanium!) and I think you got it for a bargain price. I had also seen the other ladies watches but decided against them as they were not LCD (I learned many years ago that you can’t buy them all)

As for the Microma Multi Quartz I’m not sure. From what I gather (and this may not be 100% accurate) Intel sold Microma in 1978. From what I understand they sold all the copyright, patents, tooling and what was left of the work force to Timex. However, they sold the brand name Microma to a swiss company (details currently unknown). There were then several watches (LCD and analogue) made and sold using the Microma name but they cannot really be known as ‘true’ Microma watches. This is why all early (pre-1978) Micromas have ‘made in US’ whereas all the later ones say Microma Swiss. I have several examples of LCD watches from Microma Swiss on my site. Actually, some of the ‘swiss’ watches are very well made and fairly high quality. Many share modules with names such as Longines, Heuer and Brietling! I am guessing that the Microma Multi Quartz is from this later ‘swiss’ Microma range.

Thanks too for the image of your watch – quality is fine. It’s always very interesting to see the different models offered to Intel staff for 5 year anniversaries and how they evolved over the years.

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(Quoting from Andy Dunn's email):

Not too sure how often these early Microma’s with Intel branding come up for sale. I am actually having no luck getting any idea on numbers made of any models. Although, at the peak in 1975 they employed over 400 staff so it was no small concern and therefore could have manufactured fairly high numbers.

Purely out of interest, I've been keeping an eye on eBay for Microma watches, recently.

It seems 'stock' (i.e. non-Intel branded) Microma LCD's are still relatively common.

An early 'vintage' Microma quartz LCD, VGC in box, sold in the first week of March for $127.50. See item #220371183797

Lots more small photos of it on the auction listing (besides these two below):

Microma_LCD-eBay-March2009.jpg

Microma_LCD-eBay-March2009-2.jpg

Not quite to my own personal taste .... and I digress. :rolleyes:

Edited by SEIKO7A38Fan

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This is a later (non-Microma) digital LCD, circa 1984 - the one I was hoping to be awarded. :(

I had been under the misapprehension that model (Looking something like a Seiko LCD with an intel-logo'd blue face insert) was made by Microma. :blush:

Still, it was the one I fancied, at the time, but when my 5 years rolled around, I was awarded with something rather different. It was however presented to me by Andy S. Grove, then Intel CEO, who happened to be on a visit to Swindon (European HQ).

(Quoting again from Andy Dunn's email):

Thanks too for the image of your watch – quality is fine. It’s always very interesting to see the different models offered to Intel staff for 5 year anniversaries and how they evolved over the years.

Apologies for the photo.

I'm not much of a (close-up) photographer, so this is the image I'd emailed Andy Dunn - of it laid across my scanner bed:

Intel_5Year-1986.jpg

Edited by SEIKO7A38Fan

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So .... $64K question:

Can anybody please help me identify who the original watch manufacturer may have been ?

There are no external markings on the caseback, other than my name; '5 Years' and 'January 1986'.

The only clue on the leaflet provided states:

Distributor: Van Wyck,

P.O. Box 689

Cupertino, CA 95015.

The internals don't provide much help either:

Towards the bottom of the movement is engraved the number: 963116

On the battery retaining clamp there is also: Ø 9.50 H 2.60; One Jewel; Unadjusted; Swiss. Unusually, it's negative earth. :huh:

Does anyone possibly recognise the movement ?

Intel_5Year-1986-Internals.jpg

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(Quoting again from Andy Dunn's email:

I did actually see the Intel Network Solutions watch on eBay.

It looked like a good item (in Titanium!) and I think you got it for a bargain price.

Slightly off (my own) topic, again, but here Andy referred to a little bargain I picked up on eBay a couple of weeks ago. :)

I can remember seeing a few of these around, during my time at Intel. However they may as well have been made of 'unobtainium'. They were given out by sales engineers to selected customers, and a few fortunate folks in HQ. After I'd sent my first email to Andy Dunn, I went searching on eBay for 'Intel watch' .... and there it was, item # 220367993110. Got it for under 20 Quid ! It's got to be the bargain of the century (as far as I'm concerned). It's certainly the lightest (absolutely featherweight) and smallest diameter (36mm) 3-register chrono in my collection so far.

Apologies for the scanner bed photos (you'll get used to them). Oh, and I've bunged in the seller's grotty eBay photo:

Intel-NetworkingSolutions-Chrono-Fr.jpgIntel-NetworkingSolutions-Chrono-Re.jpg

Intel-NetworkingSolutions-Chrono.jpg

Note the dropped 'e' in the intel logo, which indicates it's manufacture prior to 1990.

I've not had any reason to take the case-back off yet, but according to the leaflet provided with it, the movement is Japanese:

Moriota Tokai VD54A.

The presentation case is quite interesting. It's a silver plated 'tin', that looks very much like an MOD sunglasses case. :cool:

Edited by SEIKO7A38Fan

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http://andydunn.name/WatchDetail.php?watch...p;watchtype=lcd

(I believe this is the Microma watch Intel used to use for 5-Year Service awards, but I need to check with an old colleague).

Since I wrote this a couple of weeks ago, I've been in contact with that old work colleague, who has just been appointed Secretary to the Intel Retirees Organisation (of more anon).

I also contacted Andy Dunn, via his website: http://andydunn.name/Index.htm to ask him what he knew about the Intel / Microma collaboration; in particular the 'excess unsold stock' of Microma watches that Intel gave to employees as 5-Year service awards between 1973 to 1985.

I'm hoping that I'll be able to persuade Andy to share some of his vast knowledge and insight into the history of early quartz LCD watches on here, but in the meantime, here's a couple of extracts from his recent emails:

Thanks for making contact. Sorry I missed your post on the UK watch forum but my membership to this site lapsed some time ago and I’ve never got around to logging in since. To give you some background, I’m not a current or ex-Intel employee just an avid collector of digital watches from 70’s. During my collecting I came across Microma and liked many of their watches. It was then I decided to find out a little more about the company and their early watches but, while there is information on the internet, it’s all a bit vague, not in one place and lacking in clarity regarding model numbers and dates etc.

It was then I decided to do more research and write a paper on their watches. One of my first points of contact was the Intel Retiree Organisation. In fact there should be an entry in this month’s newsletter asking ex-Intel employees to email me photos of their Intel/Microma watches with the date received and any other information on Microma. Hopefully I will be able to get some detailed information on models and dates from these images. So far I have received one such image (attached for your information). This is interesting because it dates from 1973 which is very early in the Microma/Intel partnership. I did get one other image of a post Microma Intel watch from 1984 (also attached). I understand they stopped giving the Microma watches just before this date although I have heard (but not actually seen) one dated 1985. I guess the stopped at different times at different places? As for more details on exactly how many different types and models of Microma or Intel 5 year watches there are, I cannot currently say. Although hopefully, after I get some images via the IRO, I may have more of an idea. I do understand that the watch shown on my site was one of the watch models used however, I’ve yet to find anything other than circumstantial evidence to backup this claim.

Images Andy referred to above:

Microma_Intel_1973.jpg

Note: The watch face has an Intel logo engraved above the LCD window.

Intel_1984.jpg

This is a later (non-Microma) digital LCD, circa 1984 - the one I was hoping to be awarded. :(

Thats looks very similar to the 80's citizen digital watches, my one is slightly different but has the same strap.....

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Thats looks very similar to the 80's citizen digital watches, my one is slightly different but has the same strap.....

Thanks for your reply. It could well be a Citizen quartz, with a different intel-logo'd faceplate attached.

While I remember, and hopefully a few photos of one will be forthcoming, later .....

After the stock of my 'octagonal bezel' design intel 5-year watch ran out, there followed an intel-logo'd gold-tone Rolex Oyster 'copy' (again with a quartz movement, IIRC).

I can remember a work colleague being awarded one of these. It must have been based on a 'real cheapie'. :rolleyes:

His 5-Year watch literally started falling apart in the first few months after he'd been presented with it ! :lol:

Edited by SEIKO7A38Fan

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So .... $64K question:

Can anybody please help me identify who the original watch manufacturer may have been ?

There are no external markings on the caseback, other than my name; '5 Years' and 'January 1986'.

The only clue on the leaflet provided states:

Distributor: Van Wyck,

P.O. Box 689

Cupertino, CA 95015.

The internals don't provide much help either:

Towards the bottom of the movement is engraved the number: 963116

On the battery retaining clamp there is also: Ø 9.50 H 2.60; One Jewel; Unadjusted; Swiss. Unusually, it's negative earth. :huh:

Does anyone possibly recognise the movement ?

Intel_5Year-1986-Internals.jpg

I'm sure Paul (Silverhawk) has this on his website somewhere (the movemnet) - click on "Electric Watches" banner above to go direct, but I haven't a clue which one it actually is - ? Mind, I'm going :to_become_senile: , maybe I've seen it elsewhere?

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Towards the bottom of the movement is engraved the number: 963116

On the battery retaining clamp there is also: Ø 9.50 H 2.60; One Jewel; Unadjusted; Swiss. Unusually, it's negative earth.

Does anyone possibly recognise the movement ?

Intel_5Year-1986-Internals.jpg

According to my local watch repairer, it's an obsolete ETA movement (963.116 being the calibre #), and it's b*ggered. :cry2:

But, he thinks he may be able to repair it - on a no fix / no fee basis. :)

Edited by SEIKO7A38Fan

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According to my local watch repairer, it's an obsolete ETA movement (963.116 being the calibre #) ....

Ah, the wonders of Google. :)

I've found some spares stock - in Oakland, California: http://www.ofrei.com/page1104.html ...

Not far from where the watch originally came from, in the first place ! Panic over. :rolleyes:

Edited by SEIKO7A38Fan

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I have a confession to make. I have been buying more 'junk' quartz watches on eBay. :blush:

Well actually, I've been buying a few more Intel 'promo' watches. :rolleyes:

This is a Pentium II / Intel Inside 'Swatch' type promo I picked up a couple of weeks ago.

It's all plastic, with 'moving' Intel men (in clean-room 'bunny suits') moulded into the strap.

Quartz movement is the universal 'el cheapo' TMI Time Module Cal. Y121E

Intel-PentiumII-Promo-Swatch-eBay-M.jpg

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This is another one, I just won on eBay tonight. Hopefully it will be here in a week or so. :)

Don't know much about it yet, but I do remember seeing them around before. Very much an 80's 'unisex' design.

The interesting thing about these particular Intel watches, is that the faces are made from offcuts of IC silicon wafers.

So they change colour, and 'twinkle' rather unusually. Seller said she had a helluva job taking these photos for me. :blink:

Intel-SquareWatch1.jpg

Intel-SquareWatch2.jpg

Intel-SquareWatch6.jpg

Pretty cool, huh ? :cool:

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I have a confession to make. I have been buying more 'junk' quartz watches on eBay. :blush:

Well actually, I've been buying a few more Intel 'promo' watches. :rolleyes:

In fact, I did buy a WHOLE load of junk quartz watches, just to get this Intel watch. The whole shebang cost me $4.26 !!! :lol:

See: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewI...em=400041494001

I told the seller to keep the rest, and re-list them if she wanted. There wasn't anything else worth having .... was there ? :huh:

Edited by SEIKO7A38Fan

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I have a confession to make. I have been buying more 'junk' quartz watches on eBay. :blush:

Well actually, I've been buying a few more Intel 'promo' watches. :rolleyes:

This is a Pentium II / Intel Inside 'Swatch' type promo I picked up a couple of weeks ago.

And another 'Swatch' type promo' is hopefully winging its way over from the States.

This time a Pentium (I) - from the early days of the 'Intel Inside' marketing campaign.

I remember - I did have one of these, given me, in my time at Intel, but I'm b*ggered if I can find it ....

So I picked one up NIB from an eBay seller in the States - who says he has plenty more of them. :rolleyes:

From what I remember of the problematic support issues with P1 (the infamous 'Floating Point Error') ....

Intel were probably giving these away with packets of Corn Flakes - to anyone who'd have one !! :lol:

Intel-Pentium-Intelinside-Promo-eBa.jpg

Edited by SEIKO7A38Fan

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From what I remember of the problematic support issues with P1 (the infamous 'Floating Point Error') ....

Intel were probably giving these away with packets of Corn Flakes - to anyone who'd have one !! :lol:

As this debacle in Intel's history occurred in mid-94 (about the time they produced the black Pentium / Intel Inside promo ....

.... and prior to the Internet being in general use - I was wondering what there was written about it, still in the public domain.

Plenty ! :eek: Try 'googling' Intel + Floating + Point. :blink:

Needless to say, Wikipedia has it covered: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentium_FDIV_bug

.... but this is probably one of the most damning articles: http://www.emery.com/1e/pentium.htm

This 'little fiasco' quietly cost Intel rather more $M than their earlier foray into the digital watch business with Microma. :rolleyes:

PS - Both my brother and I worked in European Product Support HQ at the time ! :(

Edited by SEIKO7A38Fan

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The interesting thing about these particular Intel watches, is that the faces are made from offcuts of IC silicon wafers.

So they change colour, and 'twinkle' rather unusually. Seller said she had a helluva job taking these photos for me. :blink:

Here's another couple of small photos which show that special 'bling' effect rather better:

Intel-SquareWatch4.jpg

Intel-SquareWatch5.jpg

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The interesting thing about these particular Intel watches, is that the faces are made from offcuts of IC silicon wafers.

So they change colour, and 'twinkle' rather unusually. Seller said she had a helluva job taking these photos for me. :blink:

Here's another couple of small photos which show that special 'bling' effect rather better:

Watch arrived in today's post, and has cleaned up quite nicely, already. :)

The movement is an as yet unidentified (no jewels) Miyota Co. quartz calibre.

That 'silicon wafer' face is absolutely amazing. 'Bling' doesn't even begin to describe the kaleidoscopic refections. :eek:

I need to learn how to take proper watch face photos, to try and give you some idea, soon.

In the meantime, I googled, and found this photo of a section of IC silicon wafer:

61863_17195_4245c724cc_p.jpg

Edited by SEIKO7A38Fan

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