Omega participated to the development of the Beta 21 movement as part of the CEH and also as an important member of the ‘Community of interest in Beta’ (see parent section). Finally the brand participated in developing the vibrating motor for the movement and served as one of the three movement assembly locations for industrial production and distribution.
Omega was responsible for the assembly and partially also for the subsequent casing of the 2487 Beta 21 movements made in their facility and their distribution to the 5 CEH members associated to the Omega assembly facility (IWC, FAR, FBR, FSR and CEH). IWC, as a watch manufacturer, had their own watch concept and received 587 blank movements. FAR, FBR and FSR were part suppliers and CEH the core organisatory organ with very limited possibility to manufacture complete watches. Therefore the 30 movements for FAR, the 5 movements attributed to FSR and FBR respectively, as well as the 10 movements attributed to CEH were cased by Omega, using their already developed design for their ‘Electroquartz’ model.
This explains why this CEH branded watch is equipped with an Omega case and their dial and hands.
Omega for CEH, ‘Zero’- Series, 1971
Categories: aesthetic prototype, preproduction watch, variant
Description: Asymmetric, ‘Pupitre’ shaped, stainless steel cased prototype with brushed surfaces. Polished ‘bezel’ around mineral crystal. Stainless steel, brushed case back fixed with four screws to the case. Inside stamped with production info, model number number ‘196.005’ and case number ‘2-64’. Same case number also between upper lugs. Dial made of grey-blue anodised aluminum with white printed ‘CEH’ at ’12’ and ‘f8192Hz’ above ‘6’. Date window at ‘6’, red plastic date wheel. Metal hands, hour and minute hands highlighted in white, all white second hand. Crown with Omega logo at ‘9’.
Dimensions: 37.5mm (without crown), lug – lug: 43mm, lug width: 20mm
Movement: Beta 21, ESA 9173 (Omega cal.: 1300), #00002884
Additional info: Omega made this watch for the CEH (Centre Electronique Horloger). This watch contains movement number 00002884, hence it is number 2884 of the experimental ‘zero’-series comprising 5980 movements. According to the CEH archives it was produced during the second half of 1971.
As mentioned above, this watch is one of 10 pieces made by the Omega assembly facility for CEH. Of the 10 pieces made, only 4 (including this one) are so far known to have survived.
Provenance: This specific piece belonged to Heinz Lugginbühl, the head of the microelectronics department at CEH.