CEH-103, ‘Beta 1’ Prototype
Prototype category: proof of concept
Description: Symmetric, square, nickel plated brass and acrylic cased (observatory chronometer configuration) prototype. Acrylic two layered back, fixed with four screws to the aluminium case. Two MIH (Musée International d’Horologerie, La Chaux-de-Fonds) inventory stickers with numbering fixed to case. Movement hand engraved with production number ‘CEH-103’. 11 (of 13) distinctly visible frequency divider elements, each marked with coloured dots (red / green / orange). Movement fixed to the aluminium case by three screws and has contact to the acrylic back with a protruding rod. White coloured brass dial with black printed hour and minute marks, no inscription. Chronometer detection sticker at ‘minute 26.5’. Blued hands. Flat acrylic crystal. No crown. Protruding 50 Ohm connector by Suhner at ‘6’, glued to the aluminium case, connected to the movement by two cables (yellow and red with red cover insulation and tan tape).
Movement: CEH-103, Beta 1, prototype, hand engraved movement number
Additional info: This historic piece represents one of the first wrist watch sized quartz movements ever made. This particular piece was made in July 1967, encased in chronometer configuration and it also participated to the ‘Observatory of Neuchâtel’ chronometer competition of 1967, but was not ranked. Strangely the movement has no stem and no crown and after thorough examination, there is no visible hand setting mechanism. As hand setting is not needed for pure chronometer competition purpose, the engineers most probably omitted this part of the movement to save space and to render the movement small enough to be accepted in the competition category of wrist watch sized movements. Concerning the materials used for the case please refer to the description of CEH – 206.
Provenance: This piece was deaccessioned from CEH and is now part of the permanent collection of the MIH (Musée International d’Horologerie, La Chaux-de-Fonds).
Acknowledgements: Many thanks to the team at MIH for letting me analyse this historic piece!