Max Hetzel presents his invention to the world (circa 1962).

Max Hetzel A Short Biography

Born 05. March 1921
In Basel, Switzerland Son of Alfred Hetzel (BA in Electronics) and Ida Hetzel born Brunner one younger brother Hans

1927 - 1935 Primary school and secondary in Muttenz near Basel

1935 - 1940 Mathematical and Natural Science Highschool in Basel

1940 Baccalaureat Type C (math. and science) University of Basel: one semester in mathematics, physics and chemistry Army, Radiotelegraphic specialist

1941 - 1945 ETH in Zurich (Federal Polytechnical University), Masters degree in Electronics

1945 Diploma work: "Electromechanical frequency filters for telegraphy channel transmission" this work received the university's silver medal award

1946 Marriage to Miss Ruth Karrer

1946 Employed as research engineer at Hasler AG in Berne, in the telecommunications field (first patent)

1947 - 1950 Employed as a research and development engineer at the Federal Polytechnical University in Zurich at the Institute for Technical Physics, where he invented the spherical mirror optic for Eidophore large screen projection.

1950 - 1959 Employed as development engineer in at Bulova Watch Company in Biel, Switzerland, where he was in charge of research on automation problems of classical watch production and where he later developed the Accutron watch. (about 20 patents)

1959 - 1963 Employed as Chief Physicist at Bulova Watch Company in New York further development of the Accutron and beginning of production (3 patents)

1963 - 1966 Appointment as Director of Applied Research at the Swiss Laboratory for Horological Research (LSRH) in Neuchftel development of the Swissonic, the Swiss tuning fork watch (4 patents)

1966 - 1969 Appointment as Director of Applied Research at the Horological Electronic Center (CEH) in Neuchftel preparation for the production of the Swissonic watch (4 patents)

1969 - 1976 Appointment as CEO of Elresor SA a subsidiary of Omega Watch Company production of the Swissonic (this watch was never marketed because of conflicts with the Bulova patents for the Accutron)development of the Megasonic, a further acoustic frequency watch (8 patents) production of the Megasonic ( 2 patents)

1976 - 1986 After the rise of the quartz watches and the ensuing decline of the acousticfrequency watch Mr Hetzel turned to other technical problems. He taught himselfcomputer programming and invented a computerized precision tapping machine(Comtap) and was managing director of his own production company until his retirement
in 1988.


Astronomy and construction of his own radio guided model airplanes
Acquariums and gardening



General Analysis of the Wristwatch Problem in View of Electricity and Electronics, British Horological Journal


Die Elektronik im Dienste der Feintechnik, Technische Rundschau, Nr. 6 vom 14.02.64 Sonderdruck ETH, Probleme der Feintechnik, 63/64

Die Stimmgabel als Frequenznormal und ihre Verwendung in der elektronischen Uhr, Technische Rundschau Nr. 19 vom 26.04.63 Journal Suisse d'Horlogerie Nr. 3-12 65 bis Nr. 1-6 66 Die Uhr (Fachzeitschrift in Deutschland) Nr. 16 vom 15.08.64, Nr. 19 vom 09.10.64, Nr 20 vom 25.10.64, Nr. 22 vom 25.11.64

Die elektrische Uhr, Technische Rundschau Nr. 49 vom 27.11.64


Wozu elektronische Armbanduhren?, Suisse Horlogere Nr 35, 16.09.65


Evolution de la montre mecanique. Synthese, Journal Suisse d'Horlog,rie Nr 9/10,1967


Armbanduhren mit elektromechanischen Schwingern, AGEN Mitteilungen Nr.
10, Sept. 69

Interview: Swiss Watch and Jewelry Journal International Edition 04.07.69


Montre a Resonateur Sonore Omega Megasonic f 720 Journal Suisse d'Horlogerie 3/4


Interview: La Suisse Horlogere Nr 39, 16.10.75


Featuring exhibits concerning Max Hetzel and the development of acoustic watches.

La Chaux-de-Fonds: Muse international d'horlogerie

Omega Watch Company Museum



ETH (Federal Politechnical University of Zurich): Max received the university's Silver Medal Award for his diploma work entitled:"Electromechanical frequency filters for telegraphy channel transmission"


American Watchmakers Institute: AWI Gold Research Medal for 1961


British Horological Institute: Gilbert Dennison Memorial Prize


The Worshipful Company of Clockmakers: Tompion Gold Medal


Neuchatel Observatory awarded its Centenary Prize to Max Hetzel for his pioneering work in the field of acoustic resonator watches

1988 La Societe Suisse de Chronom,trie: Gold Medal

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