Based on this original thread, I will post one a day. Thanks to everyone's input. adam
Object type: wristwatch, self-winding watch
Museum accession number: 2011.6.2
Location: Permanent wristwatch display
Brief description: Stainless steel rectangular case, self-winding (automatic), ladies’ detached lever wristwatch. Called the “AUTORIST,” the watch’s movement is wound by the expansion and contraction of the wrist via “hinged” lugs at “6.”
Rectangular stainless steel case with hinged bezel, guilloche silvered metal Arabic dial with harlequin pattern, no seconds, marked “AUTORIST REGD”
Crown at “3” for setting hands only
Minute hand missing
Also invented by John Harwood (see NAWCC Object ID. 77.3.7)
Producer name: Harwood Self Winding Watch Company Limited.
Production date: Circa 1931
Made in: Europe, Switzerland
Dimensions: 20 millimeters by 12 millimeters (case)
Dial: AUTORIST REG’D
PAT. APPLIED FOR (yet no patent could be found at European Patent Office)
15 JEWELS, 2 ADJ.
AS 624 within a circle.
The “AUTORIST” was John Harwood’s second invention for a self-winding (automatic) wristwatch. This second design was not due to any inferiority or technical issues with the original “bumper” movement, but because the market by 1930s was moving away from round watches to “formed” or “shaped” wristwatches.
Harwood used the same two Swiss manufacturers to create the Autorist in 1931. Once again, it was Fortis that supplied the complicated cases and A. Schild that adapted its existing Caliber 624 movement with Harwood’s self-winding mechanism, becoming the Caliber 796.
The watch is wound by the expansion and contraction of the wrist via the “hinged” lugs at “6.” These lugs are connected to the movement by a pegged bar whose back and forth travel drives a click acting on the teeth of the barrel.
The movement runs at 18,000 beats per hour, uses a flat hairspring with non-split bimetallic balance, and a fascinating system of sprung levers to prevent overwinding.
Although the movement was marked “PAT. APPLD FOR,” I could not find any patent at the European Patent Office or general searches.
Similar to the original Harwood “bumper” design, there is no facility for manual winding. Even though the Autorist has a crown to set the hands, John Harwood was passionately determined that his design had no need for manual winding. The crown is merely used to set the hands.
There are no exact records of production, but the highest serial number currently seen is 5,301; therefore, we estimate some 6,000 pieces were made versus 34,000 of the original “bumper.”
As bizarre as this design seems, we can see a similar Omega prototype in Marco Richon’s book Omega—A Journey through Time (page 254).
Adam R. Harris
Guest Wristwatch Curator 2014
Richard Good. Horological Journal, 2002