I have been collecting Beta 21 watches for well over a decade, and this exotic Bucherer is one of my absolute favourites; it has been in my collection for around half a dozen years and is only for sale because I found a new old stock example which now holds pride of place in my collection.
The Beta programme was a co-operation between 20 Swiss firms, not all of whom were watch manufacturers; they were Rado, Omega, Bulova, Longines, Rolex, IWC, Patek Philippe, Favre-Leuba, Movado, Zenith, Zodiac, Doxa, Elgin, Le Coultre, Cyma, Borel, Eberhard, Juvenia, Ebel & Bucherer-Credos. The non watch partners were parts manufacturers, movement makers and the Swiss Watch Federation
The group produced their first quartz watch the Beta 1.0 (a pocket watch), in 1966 and a year later produced their fist wrist watch, the Beta 2, which won the year’s accuracy contest at the Neuchatel Observatory, with a deviation of just 0.003 seconds per day. A little over three years later they produced a production version; the Beta 2.1; the marketing folks thought that the decimal point was confusing; so it was renamed the Beta 21.
However, bringing it to market was not so simple; firstly, although the Beta 2 was the world’s first quartz wristwatch it wasn’t the first production quartz wristwatch, that honour fell to Seiko, who had launched their Astron watch some four months prior to the Beta 21’s launch. The next problem was that the movement was large, in fact, for the time, it was huge; measuring 30.9mm x 26.5mm x 7mm; meaning that any watch in which it was fitted also needed to be large. However, the market at this time looked for slimness, for example Audemars were making their famed 9 douzieme movement, which was less than 2mm thick. So all the Beta 21s are enormous, and the Bucherer is, by far, the largest of the group.
Although this watch is forty years old, it is very much a watch of today; its bold size and styling fit right in with today’s styling trends in the watch industry; and despite the fact that the dial says ‘Quartz’; like all Beta 21 watches, it has a continuously sweeping seconds hand, just like a mechanical watch as the Beta 21s did not use a stepping motor for the seconds.
The case is a massive but very sophisticated design; essentially it is octagonal in format, but with contrasting facets and finishes, there is a screw back, which bears the firm’s name, Beta 21 and the model number 1750 (I originally thought that it was the serial number but the same number is on my other watch)3,000. By the way, Brietling also used the identical case for their Chrono-Matic Navitimer with the addition of a rotating bezel.
The movement, as I said, is huge, it has 13 jewels, is unadjusted and is signed Bucherer-Credos and numbered 00003504.
The dial is amazing, it is silver and has a sunburst finish, huge applied diamond cut indices which rise a considerable height above the dial, they are set on to an outer track of large orange painted blocks, one for each minute. Inside this track there are white painted blocks for each index and a printed black track segmented into 1/5th of a second. The hands are parallel index style with sword points and tritium inserts.
The case is 95%, the dial is 95+% and the movement is also in 95+% condition.
It measures 46mm diam, 50.5mm lug to lug and 15.5mm high it takes a 22 mm strap and is on a tan thick calfskin strap, which matches the watch perfectly.
£3,000.00 (approx. $4,750.00 US)