[time-nuts] BTTF : Austron 1210-C Crystal Clock

Tom Van Baak tvb at LeapSecond.com
Sun Jun 11 22:42:34 EDT 2017

Hi Greg,

> Leap Second has a series of photos.
> http://www.leapsecond.com/museum/au1210/

That would be me. There are quite a few versions of the Austron 1210 Crystal Oscillator, at least models A through D, as I tried to show on that page. I have a few and they are handy instruments, with a vintage appeal.

> BUT at $900 ... seller in King George, VA obviously thought he found gold.
> ** must be heat exhaustion **

Ha! You think you're joking -- but what you're missing is that this version has the rare and valuable Patek Philippe analog clock. Perhaps you have also seen these beautiful electro-mechanical Patek movements on the early models of hp 5065A and hp 5061A frequency standards. Yes, even -hp- used them for their precious atomic clocks; that's how respectable and reliable these Patek mechanical impulse movements are.

It's a highly desirable clock display because not only is it of interest to the bottom-feeding collectors of vintage electronic T&F gear (like we time-nuts) but it's also of high-value to collectors of anything Patek Philippe (like the private jet and private island crowd). It's a rare cross between engineering and art; between function and fashion; between electronics and elegance; between history and who cares.

I first ran into this phenomenon years ago when innocently searching for words like 5065 clock. Yes, there were some hp rubidium vapor clocks, but there were also some mechanical wrist watches with the same model number -- but for more than ten times the price! That's when I knew that being a time-nut was a far cheap hobby compared to designer wrist-watches. The latter is an utterly massive industry with per-item prices in the 1e4, 1e5 and even 1e6 dollar range. It's what allows a time-nut to say: Honey, I bought a 5065 yesterday and saved $14,000!

To get a better idea, take a few eye candy moments:

1) You've never seen so many cool-looking electronic clocks:


2) A very nice Patek Philippe Master Clock System that sold for a mere $125,000:


3) Recent eBay auction. The Patek clock stepper movement alone:


4) I'm not joking about the "5065". Take your pick -- $1,500 or $23,000:



5) A collection of Patek photos I grabbed over the years:


So, now you know why the eBay seller of http://www.ebay.com/itm/282490626815 is not suffering from heat exhaustion. If nothing else, his item is cheaper (and far less shipping costs) than this one:



----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Gregory Beat" <w9gb at icloud.com>
To: <time-nuts at febo.com>
Sent: Sunday, June 11, 2017 5:24 PM
Subject: [time-nuts] BTTF : Austron 1210-C Crystal Clock

> BTTF : Back to the Future "moment"
> Austron was a company based in Austin, TX that manufactured crystal clocks for military and industry in late 1970s.  Leap Second has a series of photos.
> http://www.leapsecond.com/museum/au1210/
> Austron 1210-D Manual (digital model)
> Product produces 1 MHz and 5 MHz sine wave.
> http://www.to-way.com/tf/1210D.pdf
> Used Austron 1210-C appeared on eBay, auction # 282490626815
> BUT at $900 ... seller in King George, VA obviously thought he found gold.
> ** must be heat exhaustion **
> greg
> Sent from iPad Air

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