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S.8 Omega and SSIH

1848Louis Brandt, 23 years old, starts an assembly workshop in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland.
1877With his oldest son Louis-Paul, Louis Brandt founded 'Louis Brandt & Fils Company'.
1880The company manufactures its own watch components and produces the first movement with cylinder-escapement.
1889Louis Brandt & Fils becomes the largest watch-making enterprise in Switzerland, producing 100,000 watches a year.
1900Introduction of the first Omega wrist watch, with the crown at 3 or 9 o'clock.
1903'Louis Brandt & Frère-Omega Watch Co.' becomes the new name.
1924The complete Swiss watch industry starts a new research-laboratory, the LSRH, Laboratoire Suisse de Recherches Horlogères.
1925Chs.F. Tissot & Fils in Le Locle and Omega found the SSIH, the 'Société Suisse pour l'Industrie Horlogère SA'. It signals the start of an intensive technical and commercial co-operation.
1932SSIH buys Lemania Watch of Lugrin S.A. in L'Orient, Switzerland.
1942The first Omega automatic watches are produced.
1947New name: Omega-L.Brandt & Frère.
1952Introduction of the first Omega 'Constellation' chronometer wrist watch. It becomes the brand's top name-product.
1955SSIH buys Marc Favre & Co. of Bienne, Switzerland.
1961Cortebert Watch and the famous manufacturer 'Rayville Montres BlancPain' of Villeret also become Omega enterprises.
1962To make up the arrears in watch-electronics and the wish to manufacture a Swiss tuning fork watch, the collective Swiss watch industry establishes the CEH, the 'Centre Electronique Horlogère S.A.' in Neuchâtel, Switzerland on the 30th of January.
1965NASA chooses the 'Omega Speedmaster Professional' as official chronograph for all its astronauts. The watch was worn on some 50 missions. Neil Amstrong wore one on July 21st 1969 when he became the first man to walk on the moon. SSIH buys Langendorf Watch Co with the famous brand Lanco.
1968Introduction of the elliptic 'Omega Dynamic' ( cal.565). Aetos Watch of Geneva, Switzerland, becomes part of SSIH. SSIH takes interest in Intersil of Cupertino, California, USA, a specialist in integrated circuits.
1969The first automatic mechanical alarm wrist watch by Omega, the 'Memomatic' reaches the market (cal. 980).
1970Presentation at the Basle fair of the first 48 industrially manufactured pieces of the analogue 'Electroquartz' model (cal. 1300), with the Bèta 21 movement, developed by CEH. The first watch by Omega, the 'Mosaba' (cal. 1250) with a tuning fork. The movement was manufactured by Ebauches S.A. or ESA. At the Basle Fair Omega also shows a few prototypes of the Omega 'Megaquartz 2400' (caliber 1500), developed in co-operation with the Battelle Institute of Geneva. It was the first watch with a frequency of 2.4 MHz.
1971Economic Swiss Time (EST) becomes an SSIH brandname. Agon, Buler, Continental and Ferex are united in EST. SSIH-Quartz is founded. The production of the first quartz crystals starts in 1974. SSIH takes control over Hamilton Watch Co. Lancaster USA, at that time in serious financial trouble, so SSIH could use the LED technique of the Hamilton Pulsar.
1972SSIH takes interest in Optel USA, specialising in LED and LC displays.
1973The introduction of the Megasonic 720 Hz (calibers 1220 and 1230) with day and date. The first high frequency tuning-fork watch manufactured by Omega. Launching of the first quartz watch manufactured completely by Omega (SSIH): the 'Omega Megaquartz 32' (caliber 1310). The time-zones can be set without changing the seconds and minutes indication. Introduction of the 'Time Computer' (cal. 1600) the first Omega-watch with a LED display. The movement, caliber 1600, is the same as the one used in the Hamilton Pulsar 'Time Computer'. Both have a magnetic setting.
1974The 'Omega Megaquartz 2400' (cal. 1510), is certified a marine chronometer, unique for a wrist watch. The new model (cal. 1511) was also sold under the name 'Marine-Chronometer'. The 1511 differs only slightly from the 1510.
1975The first Omega lady's quartz watch with hands, the 'Megaquartz 32 kHz' (calibers 1320 and 1325) is introduced.
1976The 'Chronoquartz' (cal. 1611) is the first watch in the world with a digital and an analogue display, and the first Omega watch with an LCD.
1977Caliber 1350, with hands, at that moment the smallest lady's quartz movement in the world, reaches the market. It was developed in co-operation with CEH and Faselec. The smallest power cell at that time was made by the 'Electronic Watch Battery GmbH' of M/nich, owned by Varta, SSIH and Bulova.
1979The Omega Memomaster Quartz, the first LCD lady's watch by Omega (cal. 1637).
1980The 'Dinosaure' (cal. 1355) only 1.48 mm thick. The 'Omega Megaquartz' (4.19 MHz), a marine chronometer clock (cal. 1525). The Omega 'Sensor Quartz' is presented at the Basle Fair (cal. 1640). (See Q 12.2)
1981The Omega 'Equinox', a reversible watch with an analogue display on one side and a LCD digital on the other (cal. 1655). The 'Omega Magique' (calibers 1356 and 1357), thick 2.6 mm, a modified version of cal. 1355.
1982The corporation is given a new name: Omega Ltd. SSIH incurs a loss of 17 million Swiss francs, ASUAG looses SFR 259 million. To re-enforce their position, employees are fired and a financial injection of 600 million Swiss francs is administered by a group of Swiss banks.
1983The Swiss Centre for Electronics and Microtechnology (CSEM) is set up in Neuchâtel in the form of a limited liability company. A year later it takes over the personnel and the equipment of the LSRH and the CEH. They develop and produce integrated circuits with very low energy consumption. The problems in the Swiss watch industry urged the SSIH and the ASUAG (Allgemeine Schweizerische Uhrenindustrie AG) to merge. On July 7th, the stockholders agreed with a reorganisation plan. Participation of the Swiss banks increased from 92.6 % to 96.3 %. On December 8th, the general meeting chooses a new name for the holding: Asuag-SSIH Schweitzerische Uhrenindustie AG.
1984Introduction of the new 'Seamaster Dynamic' line with a steel or rubber interchangeable bracelet. Man's watch, caliber 1430 and ladies' watch caliber 1426.
1985The new name of the holding becomes: Société de Micro-électronique et d'Horlogerie (SMH), the most important group of Swiss watch manufacturers.

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