The Beat Goes On
Satellites and radio frequencies provide precise timekeeping
for certain electronic devices but might seem far removed from
your showcases. If your watchmaker doesn't already have a radio-controlled
clock, however, it's only a matter of time until he or she does.
At Naples House of Clocks in Naples, FL, for example, all
clockmakers and watchmakers use Junghans radio-controlled clocks
to reset and regulate a store full of timepieces. Owner Greg
Woodrell expects radio-controlled clocks to become the norm for
setting quartz clock movements in five years. For watches, the
outlook depends on more introductions into the market, he says.
Clocks to Watches
Radio-controlled clocks have been sold in myriad outlets,
including catalogs and electronics stores, for several years.
They reset to the correct nanosecond each morning at 1 a.m. to
the beat of the official U.S. atomic clock operated by the National
Institute of Standards and Technology in Fort Collins, CO.
The technology has been used for years in clocks and navigational
equipment. But analog watches required a bulky antenna to receive
the radio signals until the technology was adapted about three
years ago. That's when German giant Junghans started to sell
a watch in the U.S. through Wittnauer (which no longer sells
them) and LaCrosse-McCormick, La Crescent, MN.
Most recently, Living Technologies, a division of Chaney Instruments
Co., began to offer a line of watches set each night via the
atomic clock in Colorado. The company sells radio-controlled
clocks made by Arcron-Zeit of Germany and now has branched out
with 15 analog watch models. "At $150-$250 retail and with
the watches' styling, we feel they complement what jewelers sell,"
says Patrick Devlin, director of sales and marketing.
At LaCrosse-McCormick, sales manager Lee Hafemann says the
company's higher-priced steel-and-goldplated watch line also
fills a niche at the jewelry counter. "It's a big hit with
retired engineers, doctors, timepiece collectors and news reporters,"
he says. "We have a few on some movie star wrists as well."
(Note: For aficionados who knew radio-controlled watches occasionally
missed a signal in remote or distant areas, Hafemann says the
National Institute of Standards and Technology increased the
signal power last month, making such occurrences rare or non-existent.)
- LaCrosse-McCormick, La Crescent, MN; (800) 346-9544, www.lacrosseclocks.com.
- Living Technologies, Lake Geneva, WI; (800) 777-0565, www.atomicwatches.com.
|After the user sets the time zone,
these radio-controlled watches adjust automatically each night
to the official U.S. atomic clock in Colorado. The resetting
accounts for daylight time, leap years, even leap seconds. The
Junghans models (left) from LaCrosse-McCormick are $895 suggested
retail in steel, $975 in goldplate. Living Technologies (right)
offers 15 analog styles made by Arcron-Zeit. They are $150 to
by Michael Thompson
Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.