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Watch Wars
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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.

Wellinger 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.

Forrer 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.

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.

CEH Researchers ~ Before 1960 ~ After 1960

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