OMEGA And Also The Olympic games: EVERY SECOND COUNTS

The Olympic games may be the only time the truly amazing British public are most likely to concentrate on gymnastics outdoors of the circus. With Rio 2016 now under way, we’re holding steady presents itself the medal table (we presently stand at 19 golds sometimes of writing) and also the greatest names within the sporting world happen to be flocking to South america to compete around the global stage. But there’s one name that, regardless of whether you notice or otherwise, you will see way over every other: Omega.

Unlike very many watchmakers, there’s more to Omega’s sporting partnership than the usual special edition or three. As margins get ever closer, the main difference between silver and gold becomes narrower and narrower. That old adage that each second counts has not been appropriate, and it is as much as Omega to make sure that every second is counted. But in 1932 when Omega first began its partnership using the Olympic games, things were… let’s say, under cutting-edge.

As opposed to the host of apparatus you can observe at Rio – from beginning blocks to cameras to Quantum Timers, the job ended with one man and an accumulation of 30 split-second chronographs – the height of precision timing technology.

Not too Omega were behind the occasions whenever you take a look at all of those other Games, these were really well in front of the curve. Within the 1936 Berlin Olympic games for instance, sprinters were reduced to digging their very own holes with small shovels simply because they didn’t have beginning blocks, such as the great, multi-gold-winning Jesse Owens.

Omega obviously did a great job timing every task of speed, endurance and agility perfectly. The watch manufacturing company continues to be the state timekeeper for 26 Olympics since, each one of these getting by using it not only a world-class spectacle, but actual, tangible advancements in precision technology.

In the 1948 London Olympic games, Omega ushered within an era by which machines grew to become better than humans using the first photoelectric cell, while in the following games in Helsinki, they started electronic time keeping.

1964 introduced by using it the Omegascope, a bit of technology that revolutionised the way we really watch sports. By superimposing the figures at the end from the screen, it permitted spectators to really keep an eye on what happening.

Omega has been doing plenty more to alter the face area from the Olympic games within the decades. Touch pads for swimmers to prevent the clocks, digital finishing lines, beginning pistols a lot more like Star Wars phasers – it’s no understatement to state the watch manufacturing company has formed modern time keeping.

Today Rio 2016 time keeping is basically unrecognisable in the 1932 games. As opposed to a single watch manufacturing company along with a briefcase of stopwatches, Omega’s 27th turn sees a complete group of 450 timekeepers considered lower by 480 tonnes of apparatus timing each race towards the millionth of the second. With Usain Secure approaching within the men’s 200m final on Friday, that’s an amount of precision they could need.

Grab your personal slice of Olympic glory and among Omega’s limited-edition watches, available these days at Goldsmiths on the internet and in-store. Here are a handful of watches to help you get started….

Omega Speedmaster Mark II Rio 2016 Special Edition

Omega Speedmaster Mark II Rio 2016 Special Edition

Where Rio 2016 is colourful enough to place Amazonian parakeets to shame, Omega’s more restrained undertake the commemorative timepiece is really a welcome change. In line with the 1969 brother or sister from the original Speedmaster, this form of the objective II rather decides for 3 subtle subdial rings in bronze, gold and silver. Placed using the Olympic emblem around the back and restricted to – obviously – 2,016 examples, it’s among the couple of Rio limited editions you’ll be putting on by Tokyo, japan 2020.

Omega Seamaster 300M Rio 2016 Special Edition

Omega Seamaster 300M Rio 2016 Special Edition

When you are forgoing crowded stadiums towards Copacabana Beach – very tempting – this is very probably the perfect watch. The 300m water proofing could keep it protected from errant waves, as the transferred wave pattern matches the beach’s famous sidewalks. The shades from the Olympic emblem are inset in to the ceramic bezel and also the emblem itself are available placed around the back. Again, the edition is restricted to 2016 pieces.


It’s reliable advice that Omega is happy with its heritage. And it ought to be with your achievements under its belt because the deep-diving PloProf and also the space-travelling Speedmaster, it features a lot to be grateful for. Sometimes, though, it may all obtain a bit much, similar to a doting parent insisting he teaches you photo after photo of his child.


So perhaps I am being excessively cynical here, but it’s not easy to obtain looking forward to another special edition piece honouring Omega’s gleaming history, then when the Bullhead Chronograph reissue made an appearance, it required me somewhat unexpectedly. When i first first viewed it nestled in among a cupboard of special edition Speedmasters and Seamasters, as well as it was by helping cover their its cock-eyed expression and glaring white-colored dial with chequered chapter ring, it’s difficult to overlook.

Just a little history: in 1969 (a great year for Omega), another chronograph premiered to sit down plus the headline-grabbing Speedmaster, however this time that it catered for that Seamaster line. Produced for racing motorists – making the Seamaster branding confusing, but lets just ignore that – this chronograph was rearranged to create activation simpler while manhandling a race vehicle around a circuit. For that pushers now protruding from the top situation within the fashion of a set of horns, the name, ‘Bullhead’, was created.


Which was then, which is now, the same is true the Bullhead have a location in Omega’s fall into line, or perhaps is it that is better left towards the pages in history? Knowing in the comments I received while putting on the timepiece, it’s easily the previous, because never has one watch grabbed attention that can compare with this with no need of gargantuan size, garish colours or absurd design. It’s sporty yet classy, bold yet elegant – it is the nail hit squarely around the mind.

According to Omega’s drive to re-establish itself like a top-level watch manufacturing company, the caliber of the Bullhead is first rate. Inside, the Frédéric Piguet-based calibre 3113 boasts Omega’s co-axial technology, as the outdoors is put together with exacting perfection – specially the crown mechanisms. The main one at six o’clock easily drives the rotating chapter ring, and also the twelve o’clock one winds and sets. An especially nice feature of this twelve o’clock crown may be the locking thread, which supports the Omega emblem perfectly aligned each time. More manufacturers must do this.


The down-side to any or all this quality is, obviously, the cost, which tips the scales at £6,070. This is not cheap by standards, however it does still sit easily under the price of a Rolex Daytona, the Bullhead’s nearest competitor. Could it be worthwhile? If you’re able to afford it, I’d agree, although there’s just a little problem: this can be a fantastic vintage reissue, way beyond an easy rebadging along with a special edition engraving, but there’ll always be that nagging feeling you could have spent less and purchased an authentic 60s Bullhead rather.

Omega throws down the gauntlet to Rolex

By introducing new certification that guarantees its watches can withstand magnetic fields of 15,000 gauss, Omega is aiming for three things: to impose a new standard across the industry, to position itself as market leader, and to render its competitors’ certifications obsolete.

When Nick Hayek, CEO of Swatch Group, travels to the press conference of one of his brands, the announcement is usually important. This was the case last week when Omega executives befittingly traveled to Geneva to announce the launch of a new certification guaranteeing the functioning of its watches in extreme magnetic fields.

But what exactly does this mean? Although many everyday objects (cell phones, computers, magnetic handbag clasps, etc.) emit significant magnetic fields that can have a negative impact on the functioning—and therefore precision—of mechanical movements, watchmakers have yet to show much interest in these issues. In fact, they did so in the 1950s and found a wealth of solutions, which are now obsolete in the face of today’s much stronger magnetic fields. Consequently, Rolex broke new ground in 1956 by presenting its Milgauss watch, capable of withstanding magnetic fields of 1,000 gauss, as its name suggests. It is one of Rolex’s iconic models and is part of its current collections, despite being discontinued in the past. Incidentally, let us not forget that Rolex is the top Swiss watchmaking brand, with Omega in second place.

By presenting its Master Co-Axial movement last year, capable of withstanding magnetic fields of 15,000 gauss—equivalent to the radiation emitted by a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine—Omega laid the foundations for its strategy. And by announcing the creation of a new standard and official certification guaranteeing resistance of 15,000 gauss in partnership with the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology (METAS), the flagship brand of the Swatch Group is marking a second milestone.

By teaming up with the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology, which guarantees all official measurements in Switzerland, Omega is playing an excellent hand and intends to make this new certification firmly Swiss, independent, and incontrovertible. The brand also wishes to open up this certification to all brands, even those outside of watchmaking (pacemakers, hearing aids, etc.). Institute Director Christian Bock nevertheless took pains to specify that METAS’s independence is in no way impeached by this standard established with Omega, and that any watchmaker can call on the institute to guarantee or set a new standard.

It is important to note, however, that hardly any mechanical watch wearers are aware of the issues posed by magnetic fields and their detrimental effect on the functioning of timepieces. By putting the spotlight on this weakness, Omega is orchestrating a two-stage masterstroke. While guaranteeing its leadership in a specific technical field related to reliability, it is pushing all its competitors into the background, including the other Swatch Group brands, which is not inconsequential.

While the first “15,000 gauss” certifications are expected in 2015, several points still have to be resolved—starting with the amount Omega will pay the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology—which raises several questions about the timing of the Bienne-based brand’s announcement.

It’s relatively easy for skilled strategist Nick Hayek to state that this new certification is open to all watchmaking brands and that it arises from the necessity for Swiss watchmaking to surpass its own expectations, innovate and constantly push back the boundaries. But the reality is slightly more complex: resistance to magnetic fields is made possible by the use of numerous components made from silicon and other innovative materials. Yet multiple patents—including some filed by the Swatch Group—hinder any research or progress in these fields. For example, apart from the Swatch Group, Rolex, Patek Philippe and Ulysse Nardin, no other brand is allowed to produce silicon balance-springs. Yet unless they offer a real technological breakthrough (requiring substantial investment, which Nick Hayek readily wishes on his competitors), in practice the best solutions are known but kept under wraps.

Once it becomes a reality—and provided that it achieves a certain degree of repute—this new standard could prove detrimental to the COSC (Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres—the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute). Although only 5% of Swiss production meets the COSC’s criteria, it is today’s most common watchmaking certification and is referenced extremely frequently by Rolex, Omega and Breitling. Yet the COSC only certifies the precision (-4/+6 seconds per day) of the uncased mechanical movement, whereas the new certification announced by Omega will certify both the correct functioning (between 0 and +5 seconds per day) of the uncased movement, and of the watch once the movement has been cased up. And the icing on the cake is the guarantee that the movement will continue to function correctly when exposed to magnetic fields of 15,000 gauss.

By making its watches practically immune to magnetic fields, Omega has made an undeniable leap forwards. The brand now wants this new certification to be recognized by everyone. This is a double gamble for Omega, as it intends to either be the only brand capable of imposing the new certification (therefore making it the leader), or to be convincing enough about the disturbances caused by magnetic fields to force its competitors to take up the gauntlet. For these brands to catch up with Omega in terms of establishing its own certification, they no doubt have a long way to come.