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Microquartz
Sinclair Radionics, 1977



The commercial failure of the Black Watch left Sinclair Radionics in major difficulties. The company now had a large stockpile of unsold and returned watches and a severe cashflow problem. Rather than throwing away the unwanted circuitry, Sinclair instead opted to re-use it in a different format. Hence the Microquartz car clock, released in November 1977 at a cost of £12.95.

The Microquartz was simply the Black Watch circuitry housed in a completely different case (right). It worked in exactly the same way as the ill-fated watch, by pressing a button to view the LED display. However, by dispensing with the poorly designed Black Watch case many of the most serious problems of the watch were resolved. The Microquartz was available only as a pre-assembled unit, meaning that its purchasers wouldn't have to go through the ordeal of putting it together. It proved a success and sold very well, although it didn't make much difference to the company's cash flow problem.


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Chris Owen 1994-2003