Sinclair Radionics, 1977
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.
© Chris Owen 1994-2003