Tag Archives: lanco

Vintage Quartz Watches, Yea or No Way?

There are some early quartz watches that fetch incredible prices. If you have an original Bulova Accurton, a Seiko Astron from the late 60s or a Casio calculator watch from the early 80s, then you’ll be happy to know that values are rising.

Of course these are ground-breaking watches of their time, and deserve respect from collectors. Seiko, more than any brand, revolutionised watch sales with their cheaper quartz watches. They were still expensive mond you, I recall buying a basic black Casio digital for £20 back in the early 80s – which was almost half a week’s wages – because the Seiko digital was too fancy at £29.99.

Naturally, that Casio went to the bin decades ago, just like all the digital watches I bought in the 1980s and the quartz watches I bought in the 1990s too. But recently I have bought a few old quartz models, generally the Lanco, Timex and Seiko SQ models, plus a brand new, big 43mm Pulsar I liked just because it had a groovy teal coloured chronograph.

Apart from Seiko SQ50/100 models, I always suggest people avoid the older quartz watches because they aren’t so reliable, or so easy to revive from their comatose state when people leave them in drawers and the batteries split open, then leak that green oxide shit all over the place.

I did buy a running Lanco from the early 70s, which has the Tissot 7067 movement in it, last year. This actually went OK after a little clean of the contacts and a new Renata 301 battery inside. But the time-setting malarkey on this watch is franly a bit silly.

You pull the crown out and it moves the hour hand, like many older Omega quartz watches by the way. But there is no second pull-out position to move the minute hand.

I googled the problem and found that you have to hold the crown down for 5 seconds, then release, then tap it again to make the minute hand twirl around.

Nope. No joy. The most likely cause is that the stepper  motor isn’t engaging with the gear wheel to make that magic happen, but considering the Lanco is probably worth under £75 at auction, I cannot be bothered taking it apart.

SPARES PROBLEMS

Another annoyance with this Lance is the usual Tissot/Omega/Lanco tension ring holding the crytal in, and it is a front-loader diassembly routine. So crystal off, hands off, crown n stem out etc and then release the movement. I will be blunt, I hate that obtuse thinking by the Tissot/Lanco group. Timex did the same thing for decades.

Basically it was a ploy to create work for their authorised repair network by making life difficult for the amateur watch fettler. The more you mess with old crystals held in by thin rings of metal, the more likely you are to scratch dials or break the tension rings or hands.

So yep, messing with old quartz watches is a good way to end up hunting for rare spare crystals, hands and tension rings too. All these delicate parts often rust into position after 50 years, or simply get brittle and begin to crumble away.

My solution to the hand-setting problem was to disconnect the battery and wait until exactly 2.41pm to re-fit and slide the connector tab across it, since that was where the minute hand had stopped at.

So I have a running Lanco quartz, kinda nice looking, new battery in place and a neat sort of Tiger’s Eye effect on the dial as well. Like many old watches, it isn’t perfect and it will probably never be worth more than £100 even if I live to be 90. By that time everyone will have a chip inserted in their arm that tells the time, reads your bad thoughts and automatically emails the Solyent Green factory when your fridge is out of vegan ping meals.

Enjoy your watches I say, it’s later than you think.

Affordable Vintage Watches For Men? We Have Some Winners For You

Like a nice cheap runabout car, everyone wants an affordable vintage watch. Preferably a Rolex. Only joking, even the old 1940s Rolex models are now getting expensive and given that spare parts for them can ONLY be sourced by breaking up similar examples, that isn’t a great option if you’ve got a few hundred pounds to spend on old tickers.

So here are some relatively cheap vintage watches for blokes. Plus, a few reasons as to why we rate them so highly.

accurist swiss movement ETA crop

  1. Accurist 21 jewel 1950s/60 slimline style

The main reason we rate the older Accurist watches is that they all feature Swiss movements. Some have ETA, some AS, and there were a few high end divers watches with Landeron chronograph movements inside. Those Landeron powered Accurist models tend to go for silly money now, about £700-£1000, which compared to a Landeron powered Chronograph Suisse for around £400 seems expensive to us.

But the humble, elegantly simple, Accurist Shockmaster series, do a great job of timekeeping if you find a cherished example, and can be found on ebay from aorund £50 upwards. It’s worth paying £100 for a really superb example in our view, expect to pay £300 plus a for a 9ct gold case version.

lanco 5

2. Lanco 1970s mechanicals

Now lots of watch collectors know Lanco was absorbed into the Omega-Tissot empire in the 1960s as the Swiss watch industry began to contract from its 1950s heyday. It became a sister brand to Tissot, with models like the Lanco Astrolon being a rebadged Tissot Actualis Autolub – the plastic movement experiment that began as IDEA 2001.

The 1970s Lanco models were built to a price of course, but they were still sharing movements and build tech with Tissot-Omega. There was cost-cutting in the industry as the Swiss coped with an onslaught of Japanese digital watches, but Lanco watches can make sturdy reliable vintage watches, with some nice retro 70s touches in terms of styling. You can find a clunker for £40-£60, or pay £100 for something that bears very few marks from the last 40-49 years of use.

sekonda header

3. Sekonda 1970s/80s Mechanicals and Automatics

There’s a great deal of snobbery regarding vintage wind-up Sekonda watches. These watches were built to last, in a Soviet era when people had to wait in line to buy outdated groceries and be grateful for whatever consumer goods they were allowed to purchase. Bit like Huddersfield under lockdown today.

The thing that Sekonda watch movements offer is tractor-like reliability and strength. You can bash these watches up, submerge them briefly, or simply not service the movement for about 40 years. Take it apart, clean everything, add some watch oil to a few jewels and generally speaking, away it goes. Just tremendously durable, tough watches. Given that you can buy runners foir £25 on ebay, Sekonda makes a great entry level watch for collectors.

They also made a nice alarm function Sekonda in the 70s, plus a succession of chunky case automatics. Budget £70-£80 for a nice example. You also see some late 70s and 1980s UK Sekonda watches, complete with their distinctive red watch boxes for sale sometimes. Always worth considering as an everyday vintage watch.

seiko 5 1

4. Seiko 5 Auto

The new Seiko 5 automatics are a better watch. There we said it, but it’s true. Modern machine tools and robot quality control on parts production all help to make a new Seiko 5 at £220-ish a bargain, compared to older models.

That said, if you want a vintage Japanese watch with a variety of eye-catching coloured dials, plus relaibility, then the vintage Seiko 5 models deliver. True, they need that mad shaking from side-to-side for 20 times or so to get going – you can’t wind them. But once running they tend to ekep going – and spare parts are plentiful and cheap.

So if you want to learn a little bit about watch repair, then the Seiko 5 is another great choice. Buy a job lot of non-runners and you’ll probably figure out how to get something working again. Even if it does just tick over for 3 hours or so before stopping.

There are some crazy prices being asked on ebay for some nice Seiko 5 watches. It’s also wise to steer clear of refurbished dial Indian models – these often have suffered a hard life, and a new lick of paint doesn’t mean that the movement has been thoroughly cleaned and oiled properly. The typical price of £16 is a clue as to the quality of these watches.

So spend £50-£75 and get yourself a nice, looked after Seiko 5. You’ll find it’s light on the wrist, takes abuse all day long, and just keeps ticking.

Have fun – be lucky!

 

 

Lanco Electronic – The Quick Fix in the Face of The Japanese Invasion

I’m a sucker for project watches. Something lying in a drawer, in need of TLC, or simply unloved, slightly dusty and PX-ed in the shop against something shiny n new-ish.

This Lanco Electronic was a mystery to me, so I took a chance having shaken the watch and seen a few seconds of ticking from the second hand, before it fell lifeless again. Cash offer accepted. But the owner said it needed a battery – odd, I thought, as it said antimagnetic on the caseback, so there was a balance wheel in there. How could a watch need both battery and a balance assembly fettling?

Hmmm, intriguing as a case for Jason King and Department S you may say.

Lanco electronic 1

OK, back at the ranch and I prised the back off, only to see a bizarre arrangement of electronic calculator parts, plus a chunky balance assembly and circlip type adjustment lever, similar to an Omega. Interesting.

Ten minutes Google clicking later I discovered this Electronic was launched in the mid-1970s, no doubt to help the Tissot/Lanco empire strike back against the Seiko/Casio guys busily taking the world watch market by storm with digital models.

But there’s no quartz crystal being vibrated in the Lanco, instead an electronic impulse tells the balance to get busy and the circuit board wizardry sees to the accuracy of the time. A gentle clean up ensued, and to be honest, I didn’t fancy taking it apart as resistors and wires bore me to tears, plus I know bog-all about them, having ditched physics at school in favour of art after the third year. The physics teacher had extremely hairy hands, and it put me off frankly…but that’s another story.

pixl lanco 2

So, long story short, I slotted in a 395 battery and away it went. Magic. Just spinning like a top and happy a sLarry after about 40 years. Bloody marvellous. One new strap and a set of pins later and she’s looking good. Not a museum piece in A1 condition, but a fine example of a rare watch that’s part of the Swiss industry’s roller-coaster story during the supersonic Seventies.

Yours for a mere £75. Probably cost almost that much back in the day. There y’go, not every Swiss watch is a fantastic long term investment. No, some wristwatches are just for fun, and you buy them because you like the look of its shape-shifting browny-gold dial, and the word `Electronic’ emblazoned on it, shouting to the world that Lanco were suddenly hip, with-it, getting on down with Kool and The Gang. Hell yeah.