CEH Research Managers
CEH was organized in four sections, two of which ultimately played a
large role in the development of the laboratory's first successful quartz
watch prototypes and production model.
Roger Wellinger, the first director of CEH, planned the new laboratory. A
Swiss electrical engineer and physicist, he had twenty years of experience
in U.S. academic and industrial research laboratories, especially General
Electric. To craft the kind of creative interdisciplinary research
environment he had known in America, Wellinger recruited both young
engineers from Swiss universities and experienced Swiss-born engineers and
physicists working in the United States. From the beginning, he committed
CEH to work with the brand new technology of integrated circuits, a risky
strategy that proved crucial to the lab's ability to devise successful
watch prototypes within its first five years. In 1968, just after the
laboratory had demonstrated that a quartz watch was feasible, Wellinger
left CEH over differences with the lab's oversight board.
Max Forrer headed the Circuits Section, the part of the laboratory that
ultimately developed the first Swiss quartz watch prototypes. One of the
Swiss that Wellinger had recruited from the United States, Forrer had
received his doctorate from Stanford University and had worked for General
Electric in Palo Alto, California. In 1968 Forrer became the director of
CEH and organized the laboratory's efforts to revise the watch prototypes
for commercial production. The result was the Beta 21quartz wristwatch module.
CEH Researchers ~
Before 1960 ~
At CEH Kurt Hübner set up a complete microelectronics laboratory to
fabricate low power integrated
circuits necessary for quartz watches. A physicist educated in Zurich,
Hübner had learned the basics of IC technology in California's Silicon
Valley at Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory, a firm owned by the
transistor's coinventor. Hübner's semiconductor shop at CEH was the
first in Switzerland, and its success paved the way for what is today a
flourishing Swiss microelectronics industry centered in Neuchâtel.