Sunday, April 25, 2010

World's First Solar Powered Watch still lives on !

Dear fellow watch enthusiasts and Horologists.

My name is Howard Riehl ,son of the late inventor Roger Riehl of the Solar Powered watch.I have spent some time in the last 5 years on watch forums and such trying to help others understand my fathers work with his invention.Some Horology bloggers i am sure have never even heard of The Synchronar 2100 timepiece.Mostly credited as the World's First Solar Powered Watch it has a long list(yes more than one dozen) of first and or only in the field which i will eventually blog about.

The biggest reason the watch is somewhat unknown is from the demise of quality built digital watches,especially LED(Light emitting diode) digital solid state timepieces of the 70's.The cool factor of these early computer timekeepers wore off with reliability problems and consumer complaints consisting mostly of short battery life(sometimes just a few months of use) and the display not being visible in sunlight or other bright light with some preferring the constantly displayed LCD watches fast becoming the norm in the digital watch market.Also almost all American Companies discontinued making their own watch line and simply supplied the IC chip for the ever growing cheap Asian labor produced LED watches.Thus the fall of almost all LED watches being produced throughout the World.

All but the Synchronar 2100 which remains in production over 4 decades later.The Synchronar is not only the first Solar powered watch it also has roots to the earliest days of Digital electronic Solid State watches with prototypes built in the late 60,s in a basement of a house I was raised until the age of 5 and later at a small electronics factory out of Troy Ohio, Riehl Electronics Corp.Yes this was BEFORE the Hamilton Pulsar which is over credited with outdated information throughout the Internet.Debating with a small group of Pulsar collectors about which watch was first is not worth my time or the purpose of this blog.After all the Hamilton Pulsar was first to market by a few months before the Synchronar if that counts for invention.However I credit those early non production prototypes and the P1 as having been not reliable enough to market and created by another company Electro Data Inc(EDI) out of Garland Texas which should get the credit for the innovation of the early Hamilton/Pulsar LED watch.Sorry,not the work of John Bergey and his team who claimed this idea for an all electronic watch came from a science fiction film.OK that's about all I have to say about that debate at this time.

Although the inventor passed in February 2005.Some of the previous millennium factory produced Synchronar/Sunwatch watches are still working today with some still going after 30 years.Yes over 33 years on original batteries and having never been serviced.By far the longest lasting watches on original rechargeable batteries.That is a World record for any battery powered watch or capacitor charged/kinetic capacitor charged watch.Every day that goes by a new record of longevity is created that other Brands will have to wait and see if some of theirs can go past the 25 year mark on original batteries/capacitor.But i seriously doubt this ongoing record can or will ever be broken in the next half century.

That's all for now.Thanks to who ever has taken the time to read this blog and i hope I have enlightened a few about a watch that still lives on...and...oh never mind.