Enblok-Digi – A rare “footnote”?

My new love of all things vintage digital and especially analogue/digital has really quite excited me over the past while.  Indeed my last post but one chatted briefly about my new passion and in that post I mentioned an analogue/digital that was really quite unusual.  We know the more common analogue dial coupled with the digital display, both powered by the same quartz movement and battery.   But in this case I feature an analogue mechanical hand wound movement with dial but with a separate battery powered digital display and quartz movement.  The whole lot “en-bloc” as the French would say –

or perhaps as the Japanese say “Enblok-Digi” – by Q&Q – and here it is. . . .

The oddly named “Enblok-Digi – mechanical AND digital LCD from Q&Q Watch.

Quite a rare little watch this as there are very few around from the 1980’s that feature separate mechanical and digital movements in the same case.  Probably not that well known in the UK, the Q&Q is found in many areas of the world.  Part of the Japan CBM Corporation, better known now perhaps as a subsidiary of Citizen Watch, it first produced watches under the Q&Q name in 1976 and are actually one of the largest makers of analogue watches.

A neat watch at around 40mm lug to lug, 32mm wide and 12mm depth with a plastic crystal front to the twin displays.  On the upper half a conventional analogue hour and minute hands and dial of a mechanical manual wind Japanese movement and on the bottom a digital quartz module LCD display powered by battery.  The mechanical watch is wound and adjusted conventionally using the Bullhead style crown @12 and the quartz, hours, minutes, seconds, month and day adjusted using the two pushers on the lower right of the case.

All Japanese Q&Q

Japan Plastic – metal snap on battery access.

So the watch can be set as an analogue dial watch with an accompanying Day and Date in the LCD display, which is relatively conventional, but intriguingly it can also be used as two quite distinct and separate watches – as for say a Dual time.  On the plane quickly adjust the hands to the destination time and leave the digital LCD display alone as the home time.  Very handy.

Others can feature this too, but a distinct difference here in that – perhaps you forget to wind the watch – no problem, the LCD quartz display is still showing the correct time.  And conversely if your battery dies, then no problem – no worries – because the old mechanical ticker carries on regardless.  And in these ever increasingly electronic days – this old and dare I say “cheap” watch, because it is . . . . is actually quite clever.

The case is a plastic resin produced by Asahi Kasei Plastics Corporation and it seems quite tough.  The back of the watch features a fairly weak snap on round metal insert, under which the battery is accessible.  I managed to remove this easily with my thumbnail so with this kind of back it’s absolutely no surprise that there’s no Water Resistance quoted – it would simply drown.  But for everyday use  it’s OK.

However I now have this model in my small but growing ana-digital collection purely as, what I would call a “transitional watch” and as an interesting footnote.

And as can happen with any subject, and here it is the digital watch revolution of the 1960’s through 1980’s, every so often a few of  these oddities or “footnotes” can turn up out of the blue.  Just as often in the context of their finding, they can suddenly disappear, never to be seen again – or maybe just occasionally like this “rare” – and it surely is – this Enblok-Digi by Q&Q – just a small part of the continuing and fascinating world of Ana-Digital.

Note – Q&Q have moved on a bit since those days and here are two of their current offerings –

Q&Q digital watch today

Q&Q ana-digi today – World Timer


Categories: Watch reviews

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