Based on experience with development and manufacturing movements PRIM, calibres 50 to 57, in 1965, ELTON´s professionals from the development department started developing their own calibre, marked 66.
It was a movement with a base diameter 25 mm, classic anchor escapement and the oscillator frequency of 18 000 beats per hour. Compared with PRIM calibre 50, the number of stones increased to 17 and energetically more favourable direct drive of central seconds hand was installed. The movement was equipped with a shock absorber system INACABLOC from the Swiss company Reno s.a. Then, from 1969, the movements were fitted with a shock absorber KIF, produced in ELTON under license of Parechoc, s.a.
Additionally, he contextual calibre 68 displayed the date and a mechanism with independent date correction was implemented there.
The movements PRIM calibre 66 and 68 gained great favour with watchmakers for their robustness, reliability and easy repair.
During following years the successful development of mechanical watches continued with women's watches. The first calibre of this kind - calibre 70 (size 51/2 x 63/4) proved to be too small and therefore very challenging for production.
In 1971, a slightly larger movement of 63/4 x 8 size was launched into production. The calibre marked with number 80 had a frequency of 21 600 beats per hour, which was later used for all subsequent calibres PRIM.
In the mid-seventies, the development of a new range of modern mechanical movements started. All movements were based on diameter of 25,6 mm, had central direct-drive seconds hands and oscillator frequency 21.600 beats per hour. The basic model was marked calibre 90. This movement had manual winding but was without a date indicator, which was implemented in the calibre 91. Next two calibres have already been fitted with automatic winding - PRIM calibre 96, calibre 97 has also been completed with Date + Day indicator (so called Double Date).
The prototype watch PRIM calibre 97 won a Gold Medal at the International Trade Fair for Consumer Goods in Brno in 1979. In series production, only PRIM calibre 96 took foot. In 1992, other two movements, PRIM calibre 64 and 69, were launched into series production. They were born as a combination of well-established design principles of the older model calibre 68 and the newly developed calibre 96.
ELTON recorded the greatest boom of watchmaking in 1990. At the time, 499 000 pieces of wristwatches were produced, out of which 150 000 were battery ones. 430 000 pieces of electronic wall and table clocks equipped with their own battery movement, and 84 000 pieces of mechanical alarms clocks Golem. At that time, there were 1 277 people permanently employed.
But just he following year, however, a typical characteristic of most of then state-owned enterprises fully manifested: a failure to react to changes in economic and political situation, arising as a result of social changes after 1989. On April 27, 1992, The National Property Fund invested the state enterprise assets into a newly established join stock company ELTON. The following year, a very complicated and lengthy restructuring of the entire company started, and was completed as late as in 2000. During these years, ELTON gradually got rid of all the activities not related to watchmaking. In 1994, the production of components of mechanical movements finished and consequently they were only assembled.
Shareholders and management of the newly established company ELTON hodinářská, Inc. had to work out a plan to ensure further existence of watchmaking craft in Nové Město nad Metují. Based on analyzes from 2000, they decided to abandon the market of cheap watches with battery movements and go back to significantly more expensive mechanical wristwatches.
In the following years, the developers gradually refined the original ELTON movements PRIM calibre 66, 68 and in particular 96. Gradually, the production of selected components of the movement calibre 96 started, and subsequently, the innovative movement PRIM calibre 96.01 was introduced. Thanks to patented manufacturing technology for watch cases production, the company could start up even short-run or single-piece production of high quality watches in stainless steel, 18Kt gold and platinum with alloy 950/1000.
During 2008, the company started developing two new movements PRIM: calibre 94 with manual winding and calibre 98 with automatic winding. Both of these mechanical movements were launched into production in 2009, just the year in which the plant celebrated 60th anniversary of the foundation.
In 2009, the company ELTON hodinářská, Inc. launched a major technological investment of more than 70 mil. CZK, which was partly co-financed by the European Union's fund for development. This extensive technological modernization allows very flexible production. With a few exceptions, we are able to produce all components of mechanical watches in the factory of ELTON hodinářská company in Nové Město nad Metují.
PRIM watches from Nové Město nad Metují are among a few prestigious brands in the world that can produce mechanical watches in own factory.
A few historical photos: