FBR ‘Zero’ – Series

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 FBR branded watch is equipped with an Omega case and their dial and hands.

Omega for FBR, ‘Zero’ – Series, 1971

Categories: aesthetic prototype, preproduction watch, variant

Description: Asymmetric, ‘Pupitre’ shaped, stainless steel cased prototype with brushed surfaces. Brushed ‘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 ‘2-20’. Same case number also between upper lugs. Dial made of grey-blue anodised aluminum with white printed ‘FBR’ logo at ’12’ and ‘Quartz f8192’ 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), #00002753

Additional info: Omega made this prototype for FBR (Fabriques de Balanciers Réunis) which was shareholder of CEH and parts supplier for the industrialised production of the Beta 21 movement.

There are some slight finishing differences to the CEH Prototype, which was made slightly later: This dial is slightly darker and the white print is ‘whiter’ and better visible. The white of the hour and minute hands is also ‘whiter’ or was not subject to patination. The ‘bezel’ is brushed, to the contrary of the CEH Prototype and Omega’s later production model ‘Electroquartz’. Unfortunately the original 1st generation electronic module has been replaced with a 3rd generation service module made by ESA.

This watch contains movement number 00002753, hence it is number 2753 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 5 pieces made by the Omega assembly facility for FBR. Of the 5 pieces made, only this one is known to have survived.