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Swiss Watch Research at CEH

In 1962 the Swiss watch industry founded a new research laboratory, Centre Electronique Horloger (CEH). The laboratory's mission was to develop a new kind of electronic watch.

At CEH, the laboratory staff, numbering about 25 people by 1965, started a variety of projects aimed at reinventing the wristwatch.

CEH Research Managers

CEH Researchers

CEHCEH shared space in a building already occupied by an established laboratory, Laboratoire Suisse de Recherches Horlogères (LSRH). The Swiss watch industry had set up LSRH in 1940 to investigate matters relating to mechanical timepieces.

Precisely what kind of new watch would emerge from CEH's efforts was uncertain at the beginning, but by 1967 researchers there had two kinds of working quartz watch prototypes.

CEH entered these quartz watch prototypes in the Neuchâtel Observatory's time trials in 1967 and won the first ten places in the contest for wristwatch accuracy. This success prompted CEH to proceed with still another version of the watch, this time designed for commercial production.


The first Swiss quartz watches for sale--each of which contained an electronic module designed at CEH and dubbed Beta 21--were available on April 10, 1970 under the brand names of nearly twenty different watch companies.

For information about the modern Swiss electronic industry visit the Centre Suisse d'Electronique et Microtechnique SA website at

Before 1960 ~ After 1960

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