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 from Omega.
IWC, ‘Zero’- Series, Da Vinci, Pre-Production dial, 1970 / 71
Categories: preproduction dial
Description: Symmetric, polygonal, gilt brass preproduction dial. Raised steel coloured firm logo at ’12’ and hour indexes highlighted with black enamel. Black printed firm and model name, ‘Swiss’ at ‘6’ and peripheral minute markers. Date opening at ‘3’ surrounded by a stainless steel coloured, raised border.
Associated watch / Movement: IWC ‘Da Vinci’, Beta 21, ESA 9173 (IWC cal. 2001)
Additional info: Omega made the 587 Beta 21 movements later distributed to IWC, but as mentioned above, IWC developed their own designs to market their first electronic watch. One model was named ‘International’ another model took up the name ‘Da Vinci’, already used for a former, mechanical model line. One further model was called ‘electronic’ and was marketed as a pocket watch.
After inquiring, IWC confirmed that with the received Beta 21 movements they mostly produced the ‘Da Vinci’ models in four versions: stainless steel cased, 18k yellow gold cased, 18k white gold cased and in platinum. The production was of about 150 pieces for each issue. An unknown factor remains possible Beta 21 movements acquired by IWC from other CEH members, which would increase their total number of Beta 21 watches. Nevertheless, the remaining movements were used for the ‘International’ line and for the pocket watches. Because of the unknown number of potential additional movements, the proportion of production of the two latter models is not known and can not be reconstructed by IWC. (1)
This dial shows few slight differences to the marketed version: raised indexes, firm logo and date-opening bordure in ‘steel-colour’, instead of golden and the black printed script shows ‘Quartz-Electronic’ instead of ‘Quartz Electronic’ (with no hyphen) at ‘6’.
- Personal communication with the Heritage Service of IWC, Schaffhausen