This note relates to the 2002 IEEE Milestone in Electrical Engineering and Computing on: "Pioneering Work on the Quartz Electronic Wristwatch, 1962-1967". As an RSM of the CEH from 1963-1967 and co-inventor of the first quartz wristwatch I do confirm that this milestone nomination per se is valid, however the text is in error and/or has been manipulated in a number of ways, and as such does not qualify to transmit the correct picture on the processes involved and achievements reached.
First, the time period indicated is simply wrong, "pioneering work on the quartz wrist watch" did not start in 1962.
The pioneering work on quartz started in 1965.
Before that time, the CEH investigated in Accutron type tuning fork watches and not in quartz. All other sayings are lies.
Second, the "foundation of the centre in 1962" can not be qualified as a major milestone, because it was a starting point of a laboratory and not a major technical milestone. This saying is in violation with the by-laws of the milestone program contextually. Instead:
The major milestone was the world first quartz wrist watch Beta 1, July 1967.
This work was initialized by two engineers May 1965. The major components were a miniaturized quartz oscillator and the availability of low power BIP IC's. Without the change in strategy 1965 by the laboratory director, the CEH would have come out 1967 with an electronic tuning fork wrist watch and loose the competition against Seiko's QWW. This achievement was remarkable, in that the Swiss watch industry, the governing board and the department head were against the project and yet Beta 1 set the stage.
One can identify at least 8 historical errors on the plate and the accompanying text. For details and background of the manipulations see: http://homepage.swissonline.ch/ahfrei/Homepage_of_A._H._Frei/Milestone.html
I like to propose the following text:
"PIONEERING WORK ON THE QUARTZ WRISTWATCH, 1965 – 1967"
A major milestone in the development of the electronic wristwatch was the demonstration of Beta 1, the world first quartz wrist watch in July, 1967 at the Centre Electronique Horloger (CEH) in Neuchâtel. The centre produced the first prototypes of quartz wristwatches incorporating a miniaturized quartz oscillator and low power integrated circuits that set new timekeeping performance records at the International Chronometric Competition held at the observatory of Neuchâtel in 1967. After 1969 when the first quartz wristwatches by Seiko, Japan appeared on the market, quartz wrist watches became a status symbol for people with technical appreciation, sense for precision time and financial background. Later with the introduction of mass production technologies (e.g. Swatch) hundreds of millions units were produced each year.
The critique on the milestone nomination has been escalated to the IEEE History Committee as of Oct. 2009 by Milestone Administration.
Armin H. Frei