AS 5203

AS 5203 | - The Movement Archive

AS 5203


In 1976, in the midst of the quartz crisis, AS brought out its last selfwinding caliber series, which included the 12 ligne caliber AS 5203, which features a date display.

AS 5203: base plate

base plate

The base plate reminds very much of a common ETA caliber, which is not surprising, because only two years later ETA and AS merged.

AS 5203: gear train

gear train

The gear train consists of the second wheel, third wheel (which drives the minute wheel on the dial side), center seconds wheel and escape wheel in a modern design. However, the wheels show a pretty low degree of finishing and look like cheap stamped parts, to be found in quartz movements.

AS 5203: side view of the gear train

side view of the gear train

The mainspring barrel drives the rugged second wheel.

AS 5203: side view of the gear train

side view of the gear train

With a beat rate of 21,600 vibrations, the AS 5203 performed more conservatively. The three leg anular balance is of course beared in two Incabloc shock absorber bearings. The effective length of the hairspring is regulated via a simply punched spiral key.

AS 5203: Spring barrel wheel with spring core

Spring barrel wheel with spring core

The barrel is open at the top; the skeletonized barrel wheel, which on on top of it, also owns the mainspring barrel core.

AS 5203: ratchet


The ratchet is even simpler executed. It consists only of a special shaped spring that lies under the barrel wheel. Whether the fragile, punched end of locking spring is really durable, may be doubted.

AS 5203: without (moveable) crown wheel

without (moveable) crown wheel

On the left, you see the moveable bearing of the crown wheel.

AS 5203: with crown wheel

with crown wheel

Since the AS 5203 does not use a Breguet ratchet for winding, a slipable crown wheel engages or disengages the ratchet wheel, depending on the direction of rotation of the crown.

AS 5203: lateral lever

lateral lever

The shape of the lever is very unusual for AS, since it is a lateral lever, on which forka and pallets stand at a 90° angle. In order to limit the path of the lever, a pin embedded in the base plate engages with the hole of the lever and blocks its way.

AS 5203: w/o selfwinding module

w/o selfwinding module

The AS 5203 was also available as a pretty flat (only 4.7mm height) windup movement, the caliber AS 5201.

AS 5203: selfwinding module, bottom

selfwinding module, bottom

The self-winding mechanism is designed in the form of a module with is attachet with two screws to the wheel train bridge.

The rotor only winds the movement in one direction.

AS 5203: w/o oscillating weight

w/o oscillating weight

The axle of the oscillating weight is part of the selfwinding module.

AS 5203: yet empty dial side

yet empty dial side

On the yet empty side of the dial you can already see the space which the calendar mechanism will take up later.

AS 5203: seting lever spring

seting lever spring

The setting lever spring is as unusual as the whole movement, and so is the time adjustment: The hands setting wheel is not horizontal brought into position, but engages and disengages vertically.

AS 5203: calendar mechanism

calendar mechanism

The complex mechanics of the time adjustment and in comparison plus very simple mechanics of the calendar (a weekday display is already prepared) can be seen here. At 2 o’clock you can also see the quick correction wheel for the date display.

AS 5203: Spacer between movement and dial

Spacer between movement and dial

Since the dial must be mounted with a certain distance, there there is a spacer ring that provides the necessary distance and simultaneously stores the date ring.

AS 5203: AS 5203: Dial side

AS 5203: Dial side

Unfortunately, this work marks the end of the steeped in history automatic calibers from AS, starting with the “Harwood” constructions in the late 1920s and ceasing production in the 1980s when there was no more room for AS automatic movements in the ETA company network.

The quartz crisis forced AS to save money wherever possible and so the AS 5203 impresses more with its ugliness and its partly very idiosyncratic constructions than the impressive execution that was previously known from AS.

Whether the AS 5203 was a reliable design, or whether it went more in the direction of a disposable movement, will probably never be known, since too few of these movements were in use long enough for that.

Technical data

Caliber base:AS 5200
Size:12''' (measured: 27,0mm)
lift angle:50°
Number of jewels:17
Escapement:Pallet lever
Balance types: Nickel anular balance (three legs)
Shock protection(s): Incabloc
Balance bearing / direction hairspring:Clockwise
Moveable stud:yes
Adjust mechanism:Hairspring key
  • lever
  • escape wheel, seconds wheel, third wheel, large driving wheel, mainspring barrel
Construction type:solid construction
Winding mechanism:rocking bar winding system
  • SCD (direct center seconds)
  • QG (date indication (aperture))
  • RDR (date corrector)
  • AUT (selfwinding)
Production period:1976 - ????
Inventory number:21046