50 years of electronics on the wrist, on 05.09.2017

50 years of electronics on the wrist, on 05.09.2017

Written by Hugo Wyss

On Sept.5,2017 in Neuchatel there were 3 different IEEE related events, celebrating the development in August 1967 of the first wristwatch incorporating a locally manufactured silicon chip, as the main electronic integrated circuit of the revolutionary quartz watch from “Centre Electronique Horloger” (CEH), which was honored in September 2002 with an IEEE Engineering Milestone.

In the morning of that day a meeting of Chairs of LMAG in Reg.8 was convened at Hotel Beaulac and chaired by Charles Turner (Life Fellow from UK). Eight LMAGs  from U.K., NL, F, I, Slovenia and Lebanon attended, unfortunately, the Chair from Switzerland, who played host for the meeting and co-organized the subsequent events, was prevented at the last minute to personally attend by fully unexpected medical causes.

Starting at 2:30 in the afternoon, more than 200 participants including the above LMAG Chairs convened in the Auditorium of EPFL Microcity, where CSEM organized a special conference on the subject, with Daniel Borel, Founder and Chairman of Logitech SA as keynote speaker. Logitech was back in the 1980s the first Swiss microelectronics start-up which enjoyed a truly global presence and is still today leading in the field of computer peripherals. A report on that conference has been published by CSEM.

Speech by the Chair of IEEE Switzerland (Dr. Maria-Alexandra Paun)

At the end of that conference a jointly IEEE/CSEM sponsored birthday party as a standing aperitif took place in the hall of Microcity, opened by a short address from the Chair of IEEE Switzerland, pointing to the exceptional role played by Centre Electronique Horloger and its engineers imported from the US in fostering innovation in Switzerland. Some pictures of the birthday party are attached.

After the standing aperitif, a selected attendance of 29 guests was invited by IEEE Switzerland to the celebration Dinner starting a 7 pm at Hotel Beaulac. This Dinner was especially dedicated at honoring the personality of Dr. Roger Wellinger, founder and first General Manager of Centre Electronique Horloger in 1962, who after 1968 became the third Director of Region 8 of IEEE and was instrumental in launching the Eurocon conferences. Ruth Wellinger, the widow of Roger and his son Dr. John Wellinger sat at the CEH table together with former employees, the other three tables reuniting the Speakers of the day, the LMAG Chairs and the other attending IEEE Members, including two Fellows, Dr. Eric Vittoz and Dr. Nico de Rooij.

The attached photo gallery, courtesy of Maja Hammer, former CEH employee, and spouse of  Walter Hammer, founder of Crossmos SA, a CEH spin-off, gives an overview of the Dinner, which ended at 9 pm.