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A weird one. Bristol LCD - Optel FE display (1975)

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midomiko

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A weird one. Bristol LCD - Optel FE display (1975)

Post26 Jul 2022, 19:22

This cool watch came into my collection recently. It's a "big digit" Optel FE Bristol. I know absolutely nothing about this, other than it seems to be similar to the Digitaire, but in a chunky, all steel case. There is not one mention of the brand as far as i found, but a nice crisp Optel is always worth grabbing. It has two buttons and recessed setting pusher. That's pretty much it... :-P

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Kasper

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Re: A weird one. Bristol LCD - Optel FE display (1975)

Post29 Jul 2022, 12:00

Thats a very early one indeed...cool!
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midomiko

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Re: A weird one. Bristol LCD - Optel FE display (1975)

Post29 Jul 2022, 22:24

Thanks Kasper. After collecting LEDs and LCDs for a while you get used to some types of cases, displays and common components being shared between the huge number of makers, but I've not come across this name anywhere. Pretty sure it has nothing to do with the current Bristol watchmaker who does retro "pilot" style mechanicals.
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cybr

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Re: A weird one. Bristol LCD - Optel FE display (1975)

Post03 Aug 2022, 17:07

While a caseback photo would have helped the identification, this early LCD module seem to be similar among others to Mr. Babanin's Benrus early LCD presented on this forum at http://www.newdwf.com/viewtopic.php?f=58&t=8751.

Since RCA and Optel were USA based companies (and also Benrus Watch Co. BTW) - more information at http://www.optelwatch.com/, thus an educated guess would place your Bristol brand as being the one registered by Parker Watch Co. Import; New York, USA :), thus an USA based company - as also probably other relatively unknown companies/brands involved in the early LCD watch history, such as Segtronic, Ultimatic etc, especially those using Optel FE LCDs.
Anyway, there were also LCD watch producers outside USA that have used those early Optel FE modules, such as Swiss based BWC, Korean based Kuatron - who also worked closely with Optel on the production of these early LCD modules etc.
But the probability of a Swiss or Korean watch brand named "Bristol" in the early 70s is quite low... :-D

Of course there many other watch companies/brands named Bristol in the watch history, but this "profile" of the USA based Bristol brand by Parker Watch Co most probably may fit better as the brand of an early LCD watch with an Optel module (the other USA candidate - the Bristol brand of E. Ingraham Watch Co - from Bristol, Connecticut :grin1: - is out of question since E. Ingraham Company became extinct in 1967, thus years before this Bristol watch have appeared).
Regards,
:dwf:
Every watch should have its own story...consequently, a watch collector has to be a good storyteller :)
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midomiko

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Re: A weird one. Bristol LCD - Optel FE display (1975)

Post16 Aug 2022, 14:15

cybr wrote:While a caseback photo would have helped the identification, this early LCD module seem to be similar among others to Mr. Babanin's Benrus early LCD presented on this forum at http://www.newdwf.com/viewtopic.php?f=58&t=8751.

Since RCA and Optel were USA based companies (and also Benrus Watch Co. BTW) - more information at http://www.optelwatch.com/, thus an educated guess would place your Bristol brand as being the one registered by Parker Watch Co. Import; New York, USA :), thus an USA based company - as also probably other relatively unknown companies/brands involved in the early LCD watch history, such as Segtronic, Ultimatic etc, especially those using Optel FE LCDs.
Anyway, there were also LCD watch producers outside USA that have used those early Optel FE modules, such as Swiss based BWC, Korean based Kuatron - who also worked closely with Optel on the production of these early LCD modules etc.
But the probability of a Swiss or Korean watch brand named "Bristol" in the early 70s is quite low... :-D

Of course there many other watch companies/brands named Bristol in the watch history, but this "profile" of the USA based Bristol brand by Parker Watch Co most probably may fit better as the brand of an early LCD watch with an Optel module (the other USA candidate - the Bristol brand of E. Ingraham Watch Co - from Bristol, Connecticut :grin1: - is out of question since E. Ingraham Company became extinct in 1967, thus years before this Bristol watch have appeared).
Regards,
:dwf:


Thank you so much for the info. I managed to get the rather generic caseback off. It WAS rather gluey, but it confirms a lot of what you said! I was a year out... The stamp (made by a jeweller in Belgium by all accounts) indicates it's from 1976, not 1975. Still old, but this module would have been quite obsolete by '76.

The module is housed in a nifty brass and plastic enclosure almost too heavy for such a dated watch, but I love the look of this case. The quest for the history of this watch continues, but much further along now, thank you.

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