Known to be the most grueling and demanding sailing competition in the world, the Volvo Ocean Race is an ultimate test to a sailor’s mental and physical endurance. Spanning over 45,000 nautical miles. sailors spend up to 20 days on the treacherous sea conditions. In addition, all of the Volvo Ocean 70 yachts and equipment are standardized, emphasizing on the ability and decisions of the sailors.
To underscore the dangers of this race, John Fisher was swept overboard and presumed lost at sea 1,400 miles west of Cape Horn during the race. Furthermore, no money is awarded to the winner. This is a true testament to real passion and sportsmanship, where reward comes in the prestige of having competed in the high-performance race as a top sailor. This year, however, the captain of the winning boat will also bring home a $12,200 Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Deep Black timepiece.
To celebrate the partnership with Volvo Ocean Race, the Swiss luxury watch brand introduced the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Deep Black chronograph, with its new sailing ambassadors, Blair Tuke and Peter Burling.
Omega signed on to the 2017 – 2018 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race as the Official Timekeeper. Raynald Aeschlimann, Omega president and CEO, said spirit of race closely matches the values of Omega. A brand no foreigner to harsh conditions, “Omega has been to the moon and into the deepest oceans,” Raynald says, stating the brand’s “spirit for exploration.”
“There’s also so much skill, bravery, challenge and beautiful design involved” Raynald adds, explaining Omega’s passionate history of sailing and “support [for] the toughest race on Earth.”
A tough watch braced for extreme conditions.
On May 17 in Newport, the limited edition Omega seamaster planet ocean watch was introduced along with the new sailing ambassadors, New Zealanders Blair Tuke and Peter Burling. In the first race in 1973, this chronograph is only limited to a 73 pieces production.
The 45mm timepiece is a divers’ chronograph, crafted from a single ceramic block with robust design to withstand the extreme pressures of ocean sailing. The first 15 minutes of the unidirectional bezel is covered by red rubber, while the rest of the scale is covered by Liquidmetal (a metal alloy that combines high tensile strength, corrosion resistance, with high coefficient of restitution and anti-wearing characteristics).
The brushed black ceramic dial in marked by 18k white-gold hour-minute hands and indexes. A red racing ring around the 3 o’clock subdial reads “Volvo Ocean Race 2017/18 Limited Edition” with the assigned number of the 73 watches.
Another innovation for this watch is an oriented caseback through its Naiad Lock system, a locking system for a screwdown caseback that keeps its position. Included on the caseback is the official “Volvo Ocean Race” logo.
The watch sits on a black rubber strap with a ceramic foldover clasp. It is water resistant to 60 bar, with a helium escape value for dives beyond 250 feet. and is powered by Omega’s Master Chronometer caliber 9900.
Young, sailing sensations
Omega’s newest ambassadors Blair Tuke and Peter Burling, are among the most successful young sailors in the world, first time participating in the Volvo Ocean Race. As crewmates of Emirates Team Zealand in 2017, the two Kiwis lifted the famous America’s Cup and the inaugural Red Bull Youth America’s Cup in 2013.
For their incredible careers, Burling and Tuke have received many sporting accolades. In 2015, they were named the World Male Sailors of the Year by the International Sailing Federation. In 2016, they were New Zealand’s Flag Bearers at the Olympic Games.
Together they also won numerous World Championship medals in the 49er class, including becoming the first sailors to win four gold consecutive gold medals in (2013 through 2015), and countless other honors separately as well.
Tuke and Burling wear the Omega seamaster planet ocean, which they use primarily to time their rest to work ratios, which is every four hours. “For 24 hours we need to know the schedule and know by the watch how we’re doing in terms of sleep and work cycles,” Burling said.
Although they often sail together, for the 2017 – 2018 Volvo World Ocean Race they are on different teams. Tuke is on board with Mapfre, which is currently in first place, while Burling is with Team Brunel, which is currently in third.
Commitment to performance and luxury
“To truly be called a product luxury, it has to offer the very best in both beauty and function,” Aeschlimann assures that Omega will keep “pushing our standards of design and innovation, ensuring that we have the finest materials at our disposal and the best technologies to rely on.”
The determination demanded by the intensive race is a sentiment that could also be echoed in reference to the tediousness of creating a watchmaking movement. These two ancient trades have a lot more in common than navigation.“ Burling shares how Omega “also share the same values as sailing—they want to innovate with their timepieces. For us, especially in the America’s Cup, it’s pretty similar to what we’re trying to do.”