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J.2 Bèta 21, CEH

1966After six years of research CEH, Neuchâtel manufactures the prototypes of the Bèta-1 and its first quartz pocket-watch.
1967The prototype Bèta-2 is tested. On the 14th of February, the 'Observatoire de Neuchâtel' announces the results of the 102nd 'Concours Chronométrique International de l'Observatoire de Neuchâtel'. This was the first time quartz wrist watches were tested. The Bèta-2 of CEH set a new precision record (a time deviation of just 0.003 seconds a day). Seiko awarded the runner-up prize for its SQ, that showed a mere deviation in time of 0.004 seconds a day.
1969On the 22nd of May 1969, twenty Swiss firms establish a community of interest for the industrial production of the Bèta-21 caliber and decide to manufacture the first series of 6,000 movements. These firms and the name of their watches with the Bèta 21 caliber were:
OmegaElectroquartz f 8192, caliber 1300
IWCDa Vinci or International
in 1971 caliber 2001; 600 pieces
in 1974 caliber 2002; 9,600 pieces
LonginesQuartz Chron
Patek PhilippeCercle d'Or
RadoQuartz 8192
RolexCaliber 5100
Favre-Leuba, Zodiac, Eberhard, Ebel, Juvenia, Doxa, Cyma and Borel marketed the Modul-O-Quartz. The other partners were: Fabriques des Balanciers Réunies, Le Coultre & Cie, Complications S.A., Fabrique d'Assortiments Réunis S.A., Ebauches S.A., Elgin S.A., Movado, Zenith S.A., Fabrique de Spiraux Réunis, Montres Credos S.A. and the Federation Horlogère Suisse. The pioneer work of the CEH is very expensive, therefore some firms start to develop a quartz watch of their own: Omega, Longines, Girard Perregaux and Bulova. In April, the construction of the production line starts and in September of the same year the production line is tested. Shortly thereafter the first ten models of the Bèta 21 are produced. The results are very satisfactory.
1969At the end of 1969 and the beginning of 1970 a few hundred calibers Bèta 21 have been manufactured industrially. The result was that 18 Swiss watch firms showed a complete watch with the Bèta 21 caliber at the Basle Fair of April 10th 1970, followed by another display of these watches at the fair in Osaka Japan on April 23rd 1970.
1970Between 1970 and 1972 a total number of 6,000 pieces of the first model of the Bèta 21 were produced . This watch was assembled by Ebauches Electronique S.A. in Marin, Switzerland.
1972Between 1972 and 1974 about 50,000 pieces of the second model of the Bèta 21 (= Omega 1301 and 1302) were produced. This model is also known as Bèta 22.

The frequency of 8,192 Hz of the rod quartz was divided by a chain of five binary circuits(IC) and decreased to 256 Hz. The frequency was now sufficiently low to power a resonant micromotor which drove the ratchet wheel and the hands. This type of motor was in fact a vibrating blade whose vibrations were maintained and synchronized by the output signal of the binary two-divider.

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Copyright © by Pieter Doensen

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