This listing is for a vintage Watson Microsystem 70 binocular laboratory microscope. It carries serial number 147548 dating the instrument to 1966 and being from my personal collection rest assured it's a fine example, probably one of the best of this particular type of vintage 1960s British binocular microscopes you'll find. It's from the period when the original Watson optical manufacturing company had changed their trading name to Watson Barnet. I've just given the instrument a lubrication, clean and light service, so it's now in tip-top vintage condition for its lucky new custodian.
This piece is ex Birmingham University where it was used in their pathology laboratory, so essentially it was in their Medical School. My daughter who is a doctor also used this type of instrument occasionally during periods of study for medical examinations and research, so it's a capable instrument despite now being 55 years old. There's a lot to these classic Watson laboratory instruments, so I'll try and keep the technical description as brief as I can, while still covering its main features and controls. The details are as follows. The binocular eyepiece unit rotates a full 360 degrees and is adjustable for both focus and eyepiece separation by just turning/pulling gently on the eyepiece tubes, there's also graduation markers.
It's fitted with 3 sets of Watson eyepieces - 5x magnification, 7x magnification and 10x magnification which locate in storage recesses in the main instrument frame. Since the binocular unit is itself +1.5x magnification, this scales the effective magnification at the eyepieces up to 7.5x, 10.5x and 15x respectively. The coarse focus system moves the stage in a vertical plane with controls at the base and this control has a nice smooth action and obviously this instrument does not tilt. Fine focus controls are concentric with the main coarse focus and also are nice and smooth in action.
There are six objectives in its 6-way turret which clicks positively as each objective is rotated to its viewing position, as follows: 3x NA 0.11 Parachromatic low power by Watson with 15mm parfocal extension tube. 4x NA 0.10 Parachromatic by Watson.
10x NA 0.28 Parachromatic by Watson. 40x NA 0.65 by Vickers Instruments (also a 40x Parachromatic by Watson with loose internal lens, so spares/repair). 60x NA 0.85 Parachromatic oil immersion by Watson - not tested with oil. 100x NA1.30 Parachromatic oil immersion by Watson with 15mm parfocal extension tube in black - not tested with oil.
(the effective magnification therefore runs from 22.5x to an impressive 1,500x when using oil immersion techniques). (the Watson 40x objective lens will require repair, but it's included because of it being original to the instrument). The specimen stage is fully mechanical with right-sided drop-down sub-stage adjustments that have a smooth action along with a sprung specimen holder perfect for holding slides when the x and y-axes are being moved around during viewing sessions. There's very little evidence of wear to the stage surface indicating fairly light use for this instrument.Below stage there's a Watson abbe-type condenser with height adjustment via a novel large thumb-wheel arrangement, unique to this model of Watson. The condenser has centering via two long thumb-screws, a working iris and a swing-out filter holder for addition of coloured or dark-field filters. Sample illumination is via the integral lighting functionality and power supply unit which converts 240V mains to 6V for the incandescent bulb in the base illuminator. The base it set up to create a kohler effect, i. Even illumination across the optical field which removes the need to always use a diffuser because the light source is nice and even. There is a rheostat on the top of the unit to control light intensity along with a nice analogue voltmeter. On the base there are further controls for the field iris and a high/low illumination setting. All-in-all a well specified lighting solution with a good degree of user control. Overall, despite the appearance of being a large instrument, its footprint is more modest that you'd expect and everything is contained within the one assembly. The base unit is also rather heavy giving good stability when in use and there is an outer wooden cover which fits over the whole instrument offering good protection. The wooden casing holds in place with a couple of metal clips, however, the top handle is not really designed to carry the full weight of the instrument, so for carrying purposes you have to hold the unit from underneath. With its integral casing, the instrument is therefore very easy to store, which probably accounts for the time-warp condition of this example, with apparent very light use over the years. In summary this is a fine example of the Watson Microsystem 70, from that period in the 1960s when Watson modernised their product range in order to compete with imports from Japan and the Far East. It's actually even got a bit of a 1950s sci-fi look about it and you could almost picture the instrument on the set of a 1950s sci-fi classic such as Forbidden Planet or even sitting next to the interociter in the classic film This Island Earth!
Watson certainly did a rather good job with designing and marketing their Microsystem range and there's also a number of useful accessories that can be added to this modular instrument, such as Phase equipment for example. This piece therefore may well appeal to collectors looking for a good period example of a late-production Watson, or those wishing to use it for its undoubted optical capabilities.
Dating from 1966 - the year England won the Football World Cup - it's a late Watson with manufacture only four years prior to the end of microscope production at Watson, since they were acquired by another firm in 1970, then assimilating within the optical division of that new owner. This microscope equipment will be partially dismantled, securely fixed in its casing, very well packaged for transport and dispatched by insured courier upon receipt of cleared funds.
Thanks for looking - please check out my other listings if you get a chance. The item "Vintage Watson Microsystem 70 Microscope, 6 Objectives, Kohler Illuminator, Case" is in sale since Wednesday, March 24, 2021. This item is in the category "Antiques\Science/Medicine\Scientific Instruments".The seller is "arcboutant" and is located in Glasgow. This item can be shipped to United Kingdom, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Australia, United States, Bahrain, Canada, Brazil, Japan, New Zealand, China, Israel, Hong Kong, Norway, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Bangladesh, Bermuda, Bolivia, Barbados, Brunei darussalam, Cayman islands, Ecuador, Egypt, Guernsey, Gibraltar, Guadeloupe, French guiana, Iceland, Jersey, Jordan, Cambodia, Liechtenstein, Sri lanka, Macao, Monaco, Maldives, Martinique, Nicaragua, Oman, Pakistan, Peru, Paraguay, Reunion, Saudi arabia, South africa, United arab emirates, Ukraine, Chile, Bahamas, Colombia, Costa rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Kuwait, Panama, Qatar, Trinidad and tobago, Uruguay, Viet nam.