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’24-karat breakthrough’

I love the Popular Science print archive on Google Books. Exceptional writing about complex and exciting technologies; a magazine that rarely missed a pivotal moment.

Here’s an article from July 1970 heralding the first ever watch made without moving parts*. Its writer, Arthur Fisher, doesn’t fall short in telling readers the significance of what they’re about to read:

“Breakthrough. It’s a much-abused word–a pity at a time like this. Because here is a genuine, 24-karat breakthrough in timekeeping.”

The article then becomes a detailed explanation of precisely how the technology works, complete with a diagram of the circuitry. Fisher wraps it up in about 250 words, ending with the price: $1,500 — an eye-watering $10,000 in today’s money.

It’s fun to draw a line from this technology to something like the Apple Watch. Like Apple, the makers of the “Pulsar” decided it needed to conserve battery power by having it “light up only on demand”.

(* “unless you count the oscillations of its quartz crystal”, that is. Pop Sci’s attention to detail was always second-to-none.)

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