Who Made the 1st Quartz Watch????

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Who Made the 1st Quartz Watch????

Post by koimaster » June 25th 2019, 11:18am

here are plenty of articles out there covering this subject. Just do a Google search and you'll find a ton of info.

You'll also find perspectives that vary, depending on the source.

However, here's the facts as I have discovered them. . .

[Primary Resource: http://doensen.home.xs4all.nl/index.html ]


1966 -- 1st prototype quartz pocket watch watch (called Beta-1) developed by Centre Electronique Horloger (CEH) which was a Swiss conglomerate (eventually growing to 20-21 companies). LINK

1967 -- 1st Japanese prototype quartz watch was developed by Seiko. LINK

1967 -- The CEH prototype Bèta-2 is tested. On the 14th of February, the 'Observatoire de Neuchâtel' announces the results of the 102nd 'Concours Chronométrique International de l'Observatoire de Neuchâtel'. This was the first time quartz wrist watches were tested. The Bèta-2 of CEH set a new precision record (a time deviation of just 0.003 seconds a day). Seiko awarded the runner-up prize for its SQ, that showed a mere deviation in time of 0.004 seconds a day.

1969 -- On the 22nd of May 1969, twenty Swiss firms establish a community of interest for the industrial production of the Bèta-21 caliber and decide to manufacture the first series of 6,000 movements. These firms and the name of their watches with the Bèta 21 caliber were:

Omega -- Electroquartz f 8192, caliber 1300
Bulova -- Accuquartz
IWC -- Da Vinci or International (in 1971 caliber 2001; 600 pieces -- in 1974 caliber 2002; 9,600 pieces)
Longines -- Quartz Chron
Patek Philippe -- Cercle d'Or
Enicar -- Quartz-O-D
Rado -- Quartz 8192
Rolex -- Caliber 5100

Favre-Leuba, Zodiac, Eberhard, Ebel, Juvenia, Doxa, Cyma and Borel marketed the Modul-O-Quartz. The other partners were: Fabriques des Balanciers Réunies, Le Coultre & Cie, Complications S.A., Fabrique d'Assortiments Réunis S.A., Ebauches S.A., Elgin S.A., Movado, Zenith S.A., Fabrique de Spiraux Réunis, Montres Credos S.A. and the Federation Horlogère Suisse. The pioneer work of the CEH is very expensive, therefore some firms start to develop a quartz watch of their own: Omega, Longines, Girard Perregaux and Bulova. In April, the construction of the production line starts and in September of the same year the production line is tested. Shortly thereafter the first ten models of the Bèta 21 are produced. The results are very satisfactory.

1969, Christmas Day -- 1st commercially available quartz watch (Limited Edition of 100) . . . Seiko 35 SQ Astra (caliber 3500) . . . Reliability issues are disputed, but there are claims of a recall. http://www.capetowncorp.com/20th/20th09.html


At the end of 1969 and the beginning of 1970 a few hundred calibers Bèta 21 have been manufactured industrially. The result was that 18 Swiss watch firms showed a complete watch with the Bèta 21 caliber at the Basle Fair of April 10th 1970, followed by another display of these watches at the fair in Osaka Japan on April 23rd 1970.

1970 -- Seiko released the caliber 3502. 1800 units were produced. It contained a battery of Union Carbide Corp. USA no. 303. The quartz crystal has the shape of a tuning fork. The integrated circuit of the 3502 was manufactured by Intersil USA. LINK

1970 -- Between 1970 and 1972 a total number of 6,000 pieces of the first model of the Bèta 21 were produced . This watch was assembled by Ebauches Electronique S.A. in Marin, Switzerland. LINK

1970 -- Seiko 36 series, caliber 3600 and 3602 A. Only produced in 1970. The sale of the watch started in October 1970. The production quantity was 1,000 pieces. The frequency of the bar shaped quartz was 16,384. The pulses for the motor are bipolar. The rotor moves one step to the right and then one step to the left and so forth, just like the old galvanometers when they measure a slow alternating current. The watch has a steel case and strap and is powered by two batteries. LINK

1971/1972 -- Seiko 38 SQW -- Caliber 3823A V.F.A. went on sale in the autumn of 1971 and caliber 3802 in June 1972. Frequency 16,384 Hz. These were the first quartz watches by Seiko which were produced in large quantities. Ten different calibers can be found in these series, 3800, 3802, 3803, 3820, 3823, 3862, 3863, 3870, 3883 G.F.A. and the Dual Zone Timer 3819 with a sub-hour hand for time indication in a different part of the world. The Quartz V.F.A. and G.F.A. series were extremely accurate and had a monthly rate of respectively 15 and 2 seconds. LINK

1972 -- Between 1972 and 1974 about 50,000 pieces of the second model of the Bèta 21 (= Omega 1301 and 1302) were produced. This model is also known as Bèta 22. LINK

1972 -- Seiko 03 SQ -- The world's first ladies' quartz watch, released in the autumn of 1972. Seiko launched the first ladies' quartz watch in the world. The production stopped in 1973 after only ninety pieces had been produced. Two ladies' models were released one in gold and the other in white gold. A man's model was released with the same movement.

Seiko 39, V.F.A.(Very Fine Adjustment) series with second flash.

Cal. 3922 released in November 1972.
Cal. 3923 with day and date, released in January 1974.
This watch has a pulsating power indicator light (LED).

Seiko 41 series.

Cal. 4110A and 4110B (1974), cal. 4130A (September 1974), cal. 4120 (June 1975), cal. 4122 (September 1976).

Seiko 43 series.

Cal. 4301 (October 1975), cal. 4303 (May 1976), cal. 4312 (February 1977) and cal. 4316 (May 1977). The first ones are ladies' watches and the last two men's.

Seiko 08 series

September 1974. Cal. 0822, 0823, 0841, 0842, 0843, 0852, 0853.

Seiko 09 series

1975. Cal. 0903, 0920, 0922, 0923.

Seiko 48 series

1975. Cal. 4821, 4822, 4823, 4840, 4842, 4843, 4803.

A book titled "The Digital Electronic Watch" by Tom M. Hyltinwas published in 1978. ISBN: 0-442-22596-2. An interesting read which covers much of the history of the LED and early LCD display digitalwatch industry, particularly in the United States. Europe is not ignored but the Japanese coverage is relatively minimal as I recall.

The book includes a large appendix with setting and operating instructions for many of the old digital watches, a handy reference if you nhave one of the oldies. I have a Hamilton LED watch which is covered though I also have the original manual for it too.

Revolution on Your Wrist
Dennis_Stephens_Dillon_ Revolution_on_Wrist_1997.pdf

Dennis, Maggie
“Engineering Time: Inventing the Electronic Wristwatch,” British Journal for the History of Science, No. 4, Vol. 33, Dec. 2000, pp. 477–497.

Survey of three independent teams in the United States, Switzerland and Japan that invented the first electronic quartz wristwatches.

Dennis, Maggie
“The Quartz Watch,” with Carlene Stephens. Lemelson Center for Study of Invention and Innovation Web site. 1997.

Web site exploring the global competition to develop the first quartz electronic wristwatches in the late 1960s and 1970s.

Dennis, Maggie
“Time’s New Face: Liquid Crystals in Your Wristwatch,” with Carlene Stephens. Invention and Technology, Spring 2002, p. 27.

Sidebar article on the application of liquid crystal display technology in digital watches in the 1970s.

Dennis, Maggie
“We Are Living in a Digital World, but Not Always,” Newsday, Section B, September 30, 2001, p. B8.

Popular interest news feature on the public reaction to digital watches when they were first introduced in the 1970s.

Dennis, Maggie
“Revolution on Your Wrist” with Carlene Stephens and Amanda Dillon. Increase and Diffusion Web site. 1997.

Web site article exploring the shift from pocket watches to wristwatches in the early 20th century, and the subsequent shift to electronic timekeeping in the 1970s.
“Revolution on Your Wrist”
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