The Wittnauer ‘2000’ Time Machine: perpetual calendar or not?

I am fascinated by gimmicks used by past watch manufacturers to make their products stand out in a crowded marketplace and this post is the first in a short series on some attention seeking watches that have piqued my interest. This post takes looks at a look the Wittnauer ‘2000’, a quirky automatic wrist watch from the 1970s. It is a snazzy-looking chunk of a watch and is impressively big at 46mm across the case and crown; the dial does not disappoint with its day, date and complex-looking calendar information around two apertures at twelve and six o’clock. It was advertised in the early 1970s as a time machine with perpetual calendar, which is technically correct but arguably a little misleading.

wit1The Wittnauer ‘2000’ with an advert (inset) from 1971

The perpetual calendar is a celebrated complication prized by collectors of high-end wrist and pocket watches. The intricate mechanism required to keep the calendar in step with the short months and leap years demands multiple precisely made components, is only found on the best watches and, unsurprisingly, its presence in a watch hikes the value substantially.

Stephen McDonnell’s recent innovative perpetual calendar design. Uploaded to Youtube by Quill and Pad.

The Wittnauer ‘2000’ has a perpetual calendar, which does conform to the same definition.The date display is a standard type, which must be manually advanced at the end of a short month. It is more normal for the calendar to be set using the crown, but why do that when you can have an extra button on the outside of the case? Instead of keeping the date in sync, it uses tables and a revolving scale to reckon the day of the week for a given date. The mechanics of the design are very simple, the revolving disc has a contrate gear on its reverse, which is driven by a pinion attached to a second crown. The years and days of the week are printed on the revolving disc and, as can be seen in the image, aligning the year with the month on the lower table (at six o’clock), places each day of the week above one of seven columns (at twelve o’clock) that contain the relevant days of the month.

300 Year Almanac

A Victorian perpetual calendar. Image kindly supplied by Chris McKay.

The Wittnauer ‘2000’ perpetual calendar employed an old and simple technology to allude to luxury. For a modest price it had bags of 70s style and, as with any self-respecting time machine, had buttons aplenty!


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9 Responses to The Wittnauer ‘2000’ Time Machine: perpetual calendar or not?

  1. Brittany says:

    Hello! I am wondering if you have any information on the wittnauer model 3000. I can not seem to find any info on the 3000 model. It is very similar to the 2000 however.

    • Rory McEvoy says:

      Hi Brittany

      I have not seen the 3000 model. Does it also have a ‘perpetual calendar’?

    • Dennis Pope says:

      I’ve seen a picture of the Wittnauer “3002” which looks like a ladies version of the 2000 (or 2002). It has no “day” window, (just a “date” window). it appears to be smaller. It’s got a perpetual calendar like the 2000. It does not have the push-button date advance. The word “Automatic” does not appear on the face which may mean it’s not self-winding.

      Although the ‘3002″ is still a nice looking watch, it’s not quite as impressive looking as the 2000 (or 2002). The two together would be a nice his/her set, though.

      Here is a web address with some photos:

      Note the # 3002 on the watch back. I’m guessing that a Wittnauer 3002 is like a 3000 in the same was a Wittnauer 2002 is like a 2000.

      hope this helped

  2. Peggy Hodge says:

    What is the money value on a Witinaur 2000 watch

  3. Gary Sexton says:

    Good article: This was the first watch I ever bought as a Senior in High School. Saw it in a Magazine and thought I had to have it. I bought it with the money I’d saved that summer. I believe in the Fall of 1973 that it cost about $70 ( a lot of money back then). Because it was (waterproof) I volunteered to dive into the Columbia River in the middle of the Winter while fishing for Salmon to cut the anchor line which had wrapped around the Propeller. The watch came off of it’s leather strap never to be seen again. I really liked this watch and enjoyed playing around with the calendar!

  4. Brian Elkins says:

    I was recently presented with a Wittnauer 2000. Since the watch has a rather large crystal can this be replaced by any standard watch shop or does it typically require sending it off to a specialist? Also, would anyone happen to have setting instructions for this watch? Thank you.

  5. Scott JAMES says:

    I bought my Wittnauer 2000, in 1971, while in high school (in my early teens).
    I thought that it was similar to the high tech aviation watch’s that were coming on the market, due to interest in NASA & the start of high tech industries.

    I recall thinking, that when it reached 2015 (the last year of the future years) I would not have the watch.
    I had difficulty, in imagining myself, as a man in his 60’s!

    I am still wearing it now, in 2018! ?

  6. Israel Guibbory says:

    I have a 3000. it is about an inch in diameter and has a leather band. It is in good working condition.

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