Amida Digitrend

A testament to good revolutionary design, the Amida Digitrend was decades ahead of its time. It’s time for a look at the driver’s watch that has inspired many independent outings.

Photography by Ronald Chew

by The Balance Coq

  • August 1, 2023

The Amida Digitrend was unveiled at the 1976 Basel Fair as an affordable alternative to the Girard Perregaux Casquette and the Bulova Computron Sideview.  When we said affordable, we really meant disposable.  The watch had a plastic prism, cheap chrome-plated base metal (you can have the Digitrend in stainess steel or black gunmetal finishes), snapback case, non-existent water resistance and a 1-jewel manual mechanical movement powering it.  Happily, the watch is more than just the sum of its parts.  These days, surviving units are sought after by collectors, no doubt due in small part to revelations that the Digitrend has served as design inspiration for a few modern independent timepieces that command nosebleed prices.

Vintage watch experts have figured out that the 1-jewel movement can be swapped out for a 17-jewel jumping hour movement from any Michael Berger Watch Company (MBWM) /Endura Swiss Watch Company manufactured donor watch.  Even after accounting for the ridiculous state of secondary market watch prices, the transplant should not break the bank.

The Digitrend is unsurprisingly a little rough around the edges.  Time keeping is about as accurate as you would expect from a 1-jewel manual movement.  The winding action can best be described as recalcitrant.  Legibility is like trying to sneak a peek into a mail slot.  And yet, the Digitrend has outlasted the other (quartz powered) driver watches of 1976.  Unlike the Bulova (also covered elsewhere in Pictorials) and the G-P,  the Amida is not angular.  It is not boxy.  The case has nothing but curves, and despite the snapback cover, it sits well on most wrists.

Take a risk, and hunt for one on the usual platforms.  Get a donor watch and mount the 17-jewel movement.  Pair it with rallye straps and simply just take in all that retro sleek design has to offer.

(Well, how about that? TBC made it through talking about the Amida Digitrend without mentioning the elephant in the room.)

Specifications

BrandAmida
ModelDigitrend
Referencen/a
Case MaterialChrome/PVD coated steel
Case Diameter40mm
Case Height14mm
Lug-to-Lug37mm
Lug Width20mm
MovementMBWC 420 Calibre 1 jewel pin-lever manual winding movement
ProductionDiscontinued
WearsTrue to size

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