Tag Archives: Omega

Gold blends in luxury watchmaking: 5 Gold blends in timepieces from Omega, Hublot and Chanel

Sedna gold is used with steel, here in the Seamaster Planet Ocean 45.5mm Chronograph

Sedna gold is used with steel, here in the Seamaster Planet Ocean 45.5mm Chronograph

There isn’t any status symbol that’s quite as ubiquitous as gold, and its universal appeal is easy to understand. The metal’s rarity is reason for its value, while its physical properties explain its allure gold’s density gives it heft, which implies weight and importance, while its inert nature is often associated with ideals of being constant and unchanging. That final property also means humans won’t be allergic to it, unlike silver, for example.

Still, gold isn’t without its limitations, chief among which is its softness that precludes pure gold from use in both jewellery and timepieces. By mixing gold with other metals to create alloys, however, hardness and other desirable properties can be attained. Yet this isn’t without cost literally. Alloys have lower gold content and thus less value, making them less precious unless the other metals in the mix are even more precious, like platinum. The question, then, is the purity of gold to be used in the context of watchmaking.

The watchmaking industry has settled on 18-karat (where gold accounts for 75 per cent of an alloy’s mass) as the de facto fineness for gold alloys used in timepieces. This standard is a good balance between maintaining the value of the alloy (due to its gold content), and the hardness and colours that can be achieved. Three main shades of gold are used in watches. Yellow gold is the most traditional, and retains the colour of pure gold. White gold contains nickel, palladium, or another white metal, and is usually rhodium plated for a brilliant shine. Rose gold, on the other hand, skews towards red thanks to the inclusion of copper.

Several manufactures have, in the past decade, introduced proprietary blends of gold in order to attain properties that aren’t present in the three typical alloys described above, and/or to differentiate their products. Clearly, there is still much room for development advancements are still being made as recently as 2016, when a titanium-gold alloy with four times the hardness of titanium was developed.

 Rods of Everose gold, which will be shaped into plates, tubes, bars, and wires, then machined into case components

Rods of Everose gold, which will be shaped into plates, tubes, bars, and wires, then machined into case components

Everose Gold

A manufacture that produces timepieces on the scale that Rolex does has the freedom and capability of deviating from the norm, to put it mildly. Rolex does exactly that when it comes to metallurgy. For a start, it uses 904L steel that has higher nickel and chromium content, which makes it more corrosion resistant and capable of attaining a brighter polish, albeit at the cost of greater difficulty in machining. This drawback is hardly cause for concern though, since Rolex produces its own cases anyway, and has acquired the necessary expertise and equipment to work 904L steel. A parallel exists in the development and production of gold alloys. Rolex’s in-house R&D department and gold foundry has allowed it to create its own blend of pink gold: Everose gold.

Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master 40 with Everose Rolesor case and bracelet

Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master 40 with Everose Rolesor case and bracelet

According to Rolex, the drawback for regular formulations of pink/rose/red gold is reportedly a certain tendency to fade. To be fair, this is possible, but not necessarily probable a myriad of factors are at play here, from the age of the watch to the conditions it was subjected to. Peruse an auction catalogue featuring old timepieces, however, and it is apparent that some rose gold watches can and do lose their reddish touch to end up looking more like yellow gold. Rolex developed Everose gold to prevent such an eventuality. The alloy is produced in Rolex’s own foundry from pure 24K gold, based on the manufacture’s specific recipe. Everose gold’s exact composition is a closely guarded trade secret, but it is known to contain trace amounts of platinum, ostensibly to lock in its colour.

Rolex introduced Everose gold in 2005, and uses it exclusively in lieu of regular pink gold. In the Oyster Perpetual Sky-Dweller, for instance, this extends from the timepiece’s case to its crown, bezel, and even bracelet. Bimetallic references of Rolex watches that contain pink gold also use Everose gold, in a blend of gold and steel the manufacture dubs Rolesor.

 Magic Gold is produced in-house within Hublot’s laboratory, which has its own foundry for processing pure gold

Magic Gold is produced in-house within Hublot’s laboratory, which has its own foundry for processing pure gold

Magic Gold

There are actually two gold blends that are unique to Hublot. King Gold has a higher-than-normal percentage of copper to make it even redder than conventional red gold and, like Rolex’s Everose Gold, contains platinum that helps it to retain its hue. What’s arguably far more impressive is Magic Gold, which has an astonishing hardness of 1,000 Vickers that Hublot claims makes it the world’s first scratchproof gold alloy.

Calling Magic Gold an “alloy” is a slight misnomer. Although it stands at 18-carat purity like all the other gold alloys discussed here, Magic Gold isn’t actually a mixture of metals (and non-metals) that are melted and blended together in a foundry. Instead, the process of creating Magic Gold begins with boron carbide, a ceramic that is the third hardest substance currently known. Boron carbide powder is first compacted into a desired shape, before being sintered to form a porous solid. Pure molten gold is then forced into these pores under 200 bars of pressure, like saturating a sponge with water, before the combined chunk of material is cooled down. Voila! The resultant mass is Magic Gold: an incredibly hard ceramic matrix that’s literally filled with gold.

Hublot Big Bang Unico Magic Gold

Hublot Big Bang Unico Magic Gold

Magic Gold was only introduced in 2012, and despite being successfully commercialised, remains a very challenging material for Hublot to work with. To machine Magic Gold, CNC machines equipped with ultrasonic cutters and diamond tipped tools had to be specially ordered from Germany. Milling and shaping Magic Gold components remains difficult even with such equipment just 28 bezels in this material requires around three weeks to machine. As such, production of Magic Gold parts remains limited for now, with an estimated 30 to 40 complete cases produced every month. As Hublot continues to refine its industrial processes and production efficiency with this material, however, its output is expected to scale up accordingly.

Globemaster in Sedna gold

Globemaster in Sedna gold

Sedna Gold

Omega has been making waves with its anti-magnetic movements and its involvement in developing the METAS certification, and rightly deserves attention for these efforts. The brand’s work in advancing material engineering, however, also warrants a closer look. It has, for instance, developed a process to inlay LiquidMetal, a zirconium-based amorphous alloy, into ceramic bezels using a combination of high pressure and heat. The result is the seamless melding of two contrasting materials that yield a perfectly smooth surface. Omega has also made inroads into its mastery over gold. Case in point: Ceragold, which was first introduced in 2012. Instead of LiquidMetal, 18-carat gold is combined with ceramic to form Ceragold, using a slightly different process to yield an equally high contrast bezel that is also smooth to the touch. To create Ceragold, the bare ceramic bezel is first engraved with markings, before being completely PVD-coated with a conductive metallic substrate. This interim product is then electroplated with 18-carat gold, before being polished to reveal the original ceramic surface and markings that remain filled in with gold.

Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M Master Chronometer in Sedna gold, with Ceragold bezel

Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M Master Chronometer in Sedna gold, with Ceragold bezel

A year after Ceragold’s release, Omega introduced Sedna gold. Named after the red-coloured minor planet, which is currently the furthest observed object in the solar system, this 18-carat alloy is a proprietary blend of gold, copper, and palladium. Like other rose gold alloys, Sedna gold owes its unique colour to its copper content. Palladium, on the other hand, functions here like platinum in other gold blends it prevents the copper content in the alloy from oxidising, thus maintaining Sedna gold’s colour. This alloy has been used in various collections, including the De Ville Trésor, Constellation, and Seamaster, and appears to have superseded the orange gold blend that Omega previously used.

Lange 1 Time Zone in honey gold

Lange 1 Time Zone in honey gold

Honey Gold

A. Lange & Söhne debuted honey gold in 2010 when it presented the “Homage to F.A. Lange” collection, which consisted of three limited edition timepieces cased in the precious material. The manufacture has been extremely selective with its usage of the alloy; it took a full five years for honey gold to make its return, this time at Watches & Wonders 2015 where the 1815 “200th Anniversary F. A. Lange” was presented as a 200-piece limited edition. Only two other watches were issued in the material subsequently, and in even smaller runs: the Lange 1 and Lange 1 Time Zone in honey gold totalled just 20 and 100 pieces respectively.

Aesthetically, honey gold’s hue falls between its pink and yellow siblings, with a noticeably lower saturation it is paler, yet redder than yellow gold, and has a marked resemblance to honey. The alloy’s colour stems from its higher proportion of copper vis-à-vis regular yellow gold, and the addition of zinc, but it retains 18-carat purity. Honey gold wasn’t actually developed for A. Lange & Söhne with appearance as the primary objective though. Instead, the manufacture was concerned with creating a more scratch-resistant case. With a hardness of 320 Vickers, honey gold has around twice the hardness of regular 18-carat yellow gold, which measures between 150 to 160 Vickers. The result? A hardier watch case that’s less prone to dings and scratches.

1815 “200th Anniversary F. A. Lange”

1815 “200th Anniversary F. A. Lange”

Despite its greater hardness, honey gold isn’t necessarily more difficult to work. Any equipment that is primed to machine steel cases, which are even harder, is more than capable of handling honey gold. When used in movement components, however, the material does present challenges for the finisseurs at A. Lange & Söhne. The “Homage to F.A. Lange” collection’s timepieces, for instance, have movements with balance cocks rendered in honey gold instead of German silver. Hand-engraving them with the manufacture’s signature floral motif is thus more difficult and time consuming, while also requiring a special set of burins with harder blades.

Mademoiselle Privé Coromandel Le Séducteur with its case and dial elements in beige gold

Mademoiselle Privé Coromandel Le Séducteur with its case and dial elements in beige gold

Beige Gold

When it comes to colours, Coco Chanel’s closest association will always be with black. After all, she was the person responsible for adding the little black dress to fashion’s lexicon. Beige was also a staple in her palette though, and like how her love for Coromandel screens continues to inform the designs of some Chanel products today, the couturière’s penchant for beige remains an inspiration for the house she built.

For Chanel, the logical extension to having fabrics and leathers in beige is a gold blend in that very hue. The alloy is a nod to Coco, who professed to “go[ing] back to beige because it’s natural”. Indeed, beige gold does conjure up images of sand, or lightly sun-kissed skin. Unique to the maison, it is an 18-carat blend that falls between yellow and pink gold in colour, while appearing significantly more muted than either. Subtlety is the name of the game here the alloy harmonises with some skin tones instead of popping out in contrast against it, and matches with a wide range of colours and textures regardless of one’s sartorial choices.

Monsieur de Chanel in beige gold

Monsieur de Chanel in beige gold

Instead of introducing beige gold in its more established jewellery line, Chanel chose to feature it in its timepieces first. The material was unveiled at BaselWorld 2014 in the J12-365 collection, where it was placed front and centre in the form of beige gold bezels sitting atop polished ceramic cases. Other women’s collections followed the next year, with line extensions for the Première, Mademoiselle Privé, and Boy.Friend all sporting full beige gold cases.

Of course, the material was never meant to be exclusive to women’s watches. In 2016, beige gold crossed over to Chanel’s jewellery division in Coco Crush rings, and further proved its versatility by appearing in a men’s timepiece: the Monsieur de Chanel.

Omega limited edition: #SpeedyTuesday Sells Out in 4 Hours

A couple of days ago, we received news of a new limited edition Omega Speedmaster – the Omega Speedmaster “Speedy Tuesday Limited Edition more informally known as #SpeedyTuesday – was going to be available for pre-order in an exclusive Instagram push. While respecting the embargo on it, we pushed out the news as soon as possible that Tuesday (hence #SpeedyTuesday), via the social media magnet otherwise known as Instagram. Yes, the hashtag forms the actual name of this limited-to-2,012-pieces watch. Well, needless to say, plenty of watch journalists did the same and my own Facebook feed – dominated as it is by my obsession with timepieces – exploded. For one shining moment, Omega trumped Trump…

Now, watches aren’t interesting to most people, not in the way a supercar is. At least at Luxuo, we know this for a fact. Happily, the social media canvassing we witnessed for this watch was deeply gratifying. Sadly, it did not in fact actually rival news about the US President-Elect. It might not even compare against Mitch McConnell’s social media presence (that’s #mitchmcconnell for those who care).

Amazingly, Omega has confirmed that a mere hours – 4 hours, 15 minutes and 43 seconds to be precise – after the postings began, the watch had sold out. If this was a supercar, we would have expected the watch to have sold out well before any public news broke. Once again, this is a watch and not a tongue-twisty affair with more components that the Large Hadron Collider. This is the improbably named #SpeedyTuesday, proving that yes, Tuesday can indeed be speedy!

It is, frankly, unprecedented, as far as we know and it is difficult to underestimate how important this is, especially given the challenging retail climate we find ourselves in. The WOW Features Editor Jamie Tan tells me that Sennheiser accomplished something similar with its HD6XX on Massdrop but when it comes to watches, we are unaware of any other examples of such an unqualified success. Now, full disclosure here, as the editor of WOW, I’m positively beside myself; I might have even been moved to tears. Yes, I did not manage to pre-order the #SpeedyTuesday so color me #sad.

4 Dress Watches Balancing Fire, Elegance

A confluence of European and African culture, Tango brings ballroom formality and elegance to a boil, marrying the primal urgency of a mating ritual into the discipline of dance. A watch to suitably balance the twin pillars of tango should then bear the elegance of dress watch, yet carry an undercurrent of athleticism, precision, and passion.

Bulgari Octo FinissimoBulgari-Octo-Finissimo-wow

In a tux? Then there’s hardly a more fitting extension of sharp tailoring than in the Octo Finissimo’s marvellous angles and ultra-thin side profile. It’s also a feat of engineering, as Bulgari has squeezed a tourbillon into a movement that’s just 1.95mm thick, a
world record.

Girard-Perregaux 1966Girard-Perregaux-1966-wow

Tango isn’t a solo sport; that would be like playing air guitar. Hence, it is most gratifying that this iteration of the 1966 is not only accented by a beautiful guilloché dial; it also comes in an adequately sized ladies’ version with a ring of diamonds on the bezel – for the power couple.

Hermès Arceau AutomatiqueHermes-arceau-automatique-wow

There is such a visual affinity between the equestrian-inspired Arceau Automatique and tango, we couldn’t resist. One can find a correlation between the dignified canter of a show horse and the controlled steps of the tango; then there is the wild swirl of numerals on the dial like a dancer’s skirt.    

Omega GlobemasterOmega-Globemaster-wow

Funky design details like the pie pan dial, fluted bezel, and sleekly bevelled case make for a standout dress watch, available in steel, platinum, or Sedna gold. In addition, the “Master Chronometer” label on the dial says the Globemaster has passed through very rigorous rounds of testing for reliability, resistance to magnetic fields, and precision. So tango.

Story Credits

Text by Yeo Suan Futt

Photography by GreenPlasticSoldierS

Styling by  Ong Weisheng

This story was first published in World of Watches.

Focus: Omega Speedmaster Moonwatches 2015

It famously accompanied two NASA astronauts to the Moon in 1969, but the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional isn’t content to dwell in the past. While Omega continually releases commemorative Moonwatches that pay tribute to different space exploration milestones, the watch itself has also steadily evolved. In fact, Omega’s Moonwatch line today includes not only the basic steel model with Calibre 1861 – the contemporary version of the movement that went to the moon – but also variations with an extra moon phase indicator, open case back models, as well as several pieces with Omega’s proprietary co-axial escapement. Undoubtedly a bumper year for Moonwatches, 2015 saw Omega release a new batch of them, where the star of the show was clearly the Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional “Silver Snoopy Award”.

02-Omega-Moonwatch-Snoopy-2

The Silver Snoopy Award began in 1968 as a way for NASA astronauts to show their appreciation to NASA employees or contractors who have contributed significantly to human flight safety or mission success. Presented by the astronauts personally to the recipients at their workplaces and in the presence of all their co-workers, the award is a humble lapel pin made of sterling silver and in the shape of a dancing Snoopy.

Why Snoopy, and not any other cartoon character like Mickey or Pokemon? Firstly, NASA wanted a mascot that could be easily recognised and accepted by the public, much like Smokey Bear with the United States Forest Service. Secondly, creator of the Peanuts comic strip, Charles M. Schulz, was an avid supporter of the U.S. space program. Omega was awarded its very own Silver Snoopy in 1970 in recognition of its steadfast reliability rendered on the Apollo 13 mission. Two oxygen tanks on the spacecraft exploded en route to the Moon, which led to the abortion of the mission. But the story didn’t end there; it is actually rocket science, you see. The team of astronauts had to spontaneously complete a number of mid-course corrections in order to achieve the trajectory that would allow them to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere.

Paying homage to this unforgettable mission, the watch features 14 small squares between zero and 14 seconds on the minutes track, accompanied by the words: “What could you do in 14 seconds?” This peculiar reference is a nod to the 14-second mid-course correction that the astronauts timed with their on-board back-up timing device: The Omega Speedmaster. Also alluding to Apollo 13, although this time it’s the 1995 film, is the speech bubble under the brand insignia that says: “Failure is not an option.” Finally, at the nine o’clock counter lies a cute snoozing mini Snoopy – there, you’re smiling now.

Over on the case back, the actual Silver Snoopy takes pride of place. Forged of a 925 silver medallion and protected by a plate of transparent sapphire crystal, it is an exact replica of the lapel pins presented to recipients of the award. The background is created in dark blue enamel sprinkled with silver powder by hand to give the impression that this Snoopy is floating about in space.

Its dial design is heavily influenced by the familiar comic script style of Schulz’s, which is most evident in the numerals of the chronograph counters. The watch is generously painted with Super-LumiNova for better legibility in the dark, but we’d be lying if we said the glow-in-the-dark mini

Snoopy wouldn’t make us wear the watch to bed just for fun.

SPECS

  • Dimensions: 42mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph
  • Power Reserve: 48 hours
  • Movement: Manual-winding Calibre 1861
  • Water Resistance: 50 meters
  • Material: 42mm in stainless steel
  • Strap: Black coated nylon fabric strap with foldover clasp

SPEEDMASTER MOONWATCH WHITE SIDE OF THE MOON

03-Omega-Moonwatch-White-Side-Of-The-Moon

The Moon has many phases, indeed faces too, and Omega has made enough Moonwatch references to emulate its ever-changing mien. Think of the complete darkness wreaked by a new moon and the gleaming brilliance of a full moon – these are but two completely polarised examples of the moon’s innumerable guises. The all-black Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Dark Side Of The Moon that was first released in 2013 perfectly mirrored the pitch-black darkness of a new moon in the sky. As one of the most audacious versions of the Moonwatch, the Dark Side Of The Moon caused quite a ruckus among the watch collecting community. This year, history repeated itself when Omega released the Speedmaster Moonwatch White Side Of The Moon.

If Dark Side Of The Moon represented a new moon, then White Side Of The Moon would be a full moon, big and bright against the velvety night sky. This lustrous timepiece is the third in Omega’s collection of Moonwatches to be completely crafted in ceramic, the first two being Dark Side Of The Moon and Grey Side Of The Moon. This leads us to wonder if Omega will ever be inspired by the rare blood moon… but we digress. White Side Of The Moon features a white zirconium oxide dial, zirconium oxide being the exact type of ceramic used, as well as a brushed and polished ceramic case, polished white ceramic bezel, and polished ceramic chronograph pushers. And if you think this watch just cannot get any whiter, Omega goes and makes a strap in white leather with a foldover clasp also in white ceramic; this model is the only one in the trio with a clasp made in ceramic.

Thankfully, key elements like the minute track, sub-dial indices and numerals, date, and brand insignia are printed neatly in black, with the Speedmaster done in red, just like the tip of the chronograph seconds hand. On the dial, the chemical formula for zirconium oxide, ZrO2, is very discreetly engraved near the cannon pinion. This bi-compax chronograph is clearly powered by the Omega Co-Axial Calibre 9300, which is the first in-house co-axial movement to be equipped with the chronograph function.

SPECS

  • Dimensions: 44.25mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date, chronograph
  • Power Reserve: 60 hours
  • Movement: Self-winding Calibre 9300
  • Water Resistance: 50 meters
  • Case: Polished and brushed white ceramic
  • Strap: White leather with white ceramic foldover clasp

SPEEDMASTER MOONWATCH DARK SIDE OF THE MOON

04-Omega-Moonwatch-Dark-Side-Of-The-Moon

Needing no introduction today, the Speedmaster Moonwatch Dark Side Of The Moon was a big hit in 2013 and, two years on, it has spawned second-generation models that embrace its mysterious dark side while exhibiting new and exciting traits – great news for collectors looking to grow their horde of Moonwatches. Unlike White Side Of The Moon, these pieces are all darker than sin, and four new variants have surfaced: Black Black, Sedna Black, Pitch Black, and Vintage Black.

Black Black is without doubt the darkest of them all. With a polished and brushed black ceramic case middle, a matte black ceramic dial, black ceramic bezel, and a black ceramic clasp on a black-coated nylon fabric strap, it sinks deeper into the night with brushed blackened Moonwatch-style hands and blackened applied indices. No worries about legibility issues, though, as these are all coated with black Super-LumiNova.

Sedna Black, on the other hand, uses the bold darkness of the ceramic to bounce off the rich rose gold hue of Omega’s proprietary precious alloy, Sedna gold. This model has a completely brushed black ceramic case with a Sedna gold bezel ring that matches the Sedna gold applied indices and hands. All markings on the matte grey dial have been created using a process called laser ablation, essentially the removal of a material from a solid surface with a laser beam. Its hands and indices, as well as the two dots at the 12 o’clock position, are coated with a sand-coloured Super-LumiNova that Omega describes as “vintage” Super-LumiNova.

Pitch Black is fairly similar to Black Black, except that its hands, indices, brand insignia, and tachymeter are coated with classic green Super-LumiNova. Finally, Vintage Black stands out with its brown indices and hands, and brown leather strap, which gives it a more classical demeanour. The luminous pigment used in this model is also sand coloured “vintage” Super-LumiNova while its hands are a mix of blackened and varnished brown.

SPECS

  • Dimensions: 44.25mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date, chronograph
  • Power Reserve: 60 hours
  • Movement: Self-winding Calibre 9300 chronograph
  • Material: Black ceramic, black ceramic with Sedna gold
  • Water Resistance: 50 meters
  • Strap: Black coated nylon fabric with rubber (Black Black) Black leather with rubber (Pitch Black and Sedna Black) Brown leather with rubber (Vintage Black)

Story Credits
Text by Celine Yap

This article was originally published in World of Watches

Christie’s to Auction James Bond Memorabilia

The Internet is making a lot of noise about this auction of James Bond memorabilia. If you want an Aston Martin DB10 this might be your best (possibly only) chance. Auctions will be held February 18 in London and online between February 16 and 23 offering a number of exclusive items from Spectre, the 24th film in the Bond franchise.

The live auction will include 10 lots of secret-agent memorabilia and highlights of the sale including a Aston Martin DB10 and other donations from the studio and actors. One of the 10 Aston Martin DB10 cars used in the filming, the lot comes with a signed license plate by actor Daniel Craig and is estimated to fetch between 1 million and 1.5 million pounds sterling. The Omega Seamaster 300 watch worn by Craig in Spectre will also be sold at auction.

Proceeds from the sale will be given to Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) and other charities.

Aston Martin DB10 Spectre

Omega Spectre Seamaster

Omega Seamaster Bullhead Rio 2016

Omega Seamaster Bullhead “Rio 2016” Limited Edition

Omega Seamaster Bullhead Rio 2016

As the world’s greatest athletes prepare for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Omega has unveiled a second new timepiece as part of the “Rio 2016″ collection (the Speedmaster Rio Mark II “Rio 2016″ was unveiled last year).

Already a distinctive watch because of its unique case shape and dual crown placement, the Bullhead “Rio 2016″ is further differentiated by a blue leather strap with multi-coloured stitching in yellow, green, red and black.

Representing the famous Olympic rings, this color theme is continued on the rotating inner-bezel to convey the unity that the rings signify.

Omega Seamaster Bullhead Rio 2016 caseback

First released in 1969, the Bullhead style was once used by rally drivers to time their laps. Now, the spirit of speed and precision will merge seamlessly into Olympic history.

The watch is cased in steel, with Omega’s automatic mechanical co-axial chronograph Caliber 3113 inside. Only 316 pieces will be produced.

George Clooney Omega

George Clooney poses for Omega

George Clooney Omega

 has revealed on-set photos of George Clooney taken for the brand’s new Speedmaster campaign.

US photographer Sam Jones was behind the camera for Omega’s Speedmaster ’57 campaign, which promotes several new Speedmaster models released this year to celebrate the legacy of the original watch.

George Clooney for Omega

The new watches offer updates to the classic model and are geared toward the next generation of adventurers.

The campaign featuring Clooney, an Omega brand ambassador, was shot in Los Cabos, Mexico.

Omega Speedmaster Skywalker X-33 Solar Impulse Limited Edition: Flight Instrument

Omega X33 Solar Impulse Limited 3Since 2006, Omega has been a main partner of the Solar Impulse project, which aims to engineer an aircraft capable of circumnavigating the Earth on just solar power. The manufacture has contributed to the project in several ways, from a test bench that simulates the aircraft’s electronics system, to warning systems designed to keep the pilot alert during long flights. The second iteration of the plane, Solar Impulse 2, was presented to the public in April last year, and began its circumnavigation attempt just two days ago from Abu Dhabi.Omega X33 Solar Impulse Limited 4To mark the Solar Impulse 2’s attempt, Omega has released the Speedmaster Skywalker X-33 Solar Impulse Limited Edition. The watch is based on and similar to the Speedmaster Skywalker X-33 that is approved by the European Space Agency for use in its missions, but sports a blue and green colour scheme for its dial and NATO strap. Like the original, it is a full-featured pilot/astronaut watch – the spiritual successor to the Moonwatch, if you will – beginning with a lightweight case of Grade 2 titanium measuring 45mm across. Within it is the quartz Calibre 5619 that is chock-full of functions updated for the modern aviator or space farer. Tracking of three time zones down to the second? Check. Three separate alarms? Check. A chronograph and a countdown timer? Check. A perpetual calendar to top it all off? Check. These functions are accessed via four pushers and the crown, which also functions as an additional pusher. To present all this information, the movement has a hybrid digital/analogue display that supplements traditional hands with an LCD display in the middle of the watch. Accuracy wise, Calibre 5619’s thermo-compensated integrated circuit allows it to maintain its precision over a wide temperature range; the watch has been tested like the Speedmaster Skywalker X-33, and certified functional from -45 to +75 degrees Celsius.Omega X33 Solar Impulse Limited 2The Solar Impulse Limited Edition will come in a limited run of 1924 pieces, which honours the year the first circumnavigation of the earth took place in an aircraft. As for the record attempt? The second leg of the journey from Muscat, Oman to Ahmedabad, India has been completed, with the Solar Impulse 2 bound for Varanasi, India next. Here’s a video on the partnership.

Seamaster Aqua Terra 150M James Bond

James Bond inspires the latest Omega Seamaster

Seamaster Aqua Terra 150M James Bond

Ahead of the October 2015 release of “Spectre,” the 24th Bond movie, Omega has unveiled a new watch dedicated to the secret agent.

This time, the inspiration comes from the Bond family coat of arms.

The symbols in question are seen on the blue dial of the Seamaster Aqua Terra 150M as well as in the pointer of the yellow second hand.

The oscillating weight, which appears through the sapphire glass back, is shaped like the barrel of a pistol.

Powered by the new Omega Master Co-Axial 8507 movement, the new watch has a case and bracelet in stainless steel.

The Seamaster Aqua Terra 150M James Bond will be produced in a limited edition of 15,007 watches.

Omega has supplied the watches worn by 007 on the silver screen since 1995, producing a dedicated Seamaster model for each film.

ROLEX, OMEGA AND SEIKO – JAMES BOND’S TIMEPIECES

Omega and METAS Unveil New Certification Standard

There is nothing new about testing and certifying watches and their movements. Some manufactures opt to carry out in-house testing, such as Jaeger-LeCoultre’s 1000 Hours Control. For external standards, the Geneva Seal comes to mind for movement finishing. As for precision, the most familiar standard is COSC’s, which tests an individual movement in five different positions, each at three different temperatures, over a period of 15 days. COSC prescribes a maximum variation of -4/+6 seconds per day, among other requirements, before the movement can be certified. Chronometric+, Timelab’s newcomer to the industry, does the same, but tests complete watches and tags individual certificates to them, and not their movements.

The Swiss watch industry now has a new standard. Omega and the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology (METAS) have jointly unveiled a new testing and certification process for the former’s watches equipped with the Master Co-Axial movement. Watches that pass the test, which begins next year, will bear the Master Co-Axial Officially Certified designation.

Like Chronometric+, this new certification was conceived as an improvement over COSC, which took its modern form in 1973. The METAS process will test complete watches, with individual records of each one accessible both online and via smartphone apps. Buyers and owners can thus obtain complete information about their watches’ performances. The certification process consists of subjecting the watch head (and not just the movement) to magnetic fields stronger than 15,000 gauss, and testing its precision during and after the magnetic field exposure, with a tolerable limit of -0/+5 seconds per day. The watch’s power reserve and water resistance will also be assessed.

According to Dr Christian Bock, the director of METAS, the certification is not exclusive to Omega, and other watchmakers are free to submit their watches to be tested. Bock also emphasized the neutrality of METAS which, as the go-to authority on all matters involving measurements and measurement standards for the Swiss government, can only accept projects that do not compromise its position.

Omega Metas New Certification Standard 1

A Watch By Any Name

Watch collecting, like most other technical hobbies, is chock-full of nicknames and acronyms. Often, these nicknames stem from associations with a famous personality or event. Omega’s Speedmaster Professional went to the Moon in 1969 and is now known as the Moon Watch, while vintage Speedmasters which pre-date the Moon landing are thus known as pre-Moon Speedies.

The most avidly collected brands and genres are those with the greatest proliferation of nicknames, so it’s no surprise that the richest brand in the horological lexicon is Rolex, especially of the vintage sort. To the uninitiated, the vernacular of Rolex fanatics is baffling, yet often logical. Tropical dials refer to dials which were originally black, but have since faded to tones ranging from dark brown to light caramel, ostensibly due to the tropical sun.

Many nicknames are thanks to the famous wrists the watches were once spotted on. Paul Newman once wore a particular Rolex Daytona chronograph with a distinctive two-tone dial, giving that Daytona its nickname. A more recent vintage is the Patrizzi Daytona, named after Osvaldo Patrizzi, the Italian auctioneer who discovered, or at least publicised, the fact that a certain number of Rolex Daytona watches from the early 1990s have discolouration on their chronograph sub-dials – the silver rings darken into brown.

Patrizzi’s achievement also reveals another aspect of the Rolex collector dialect. Italian influence in vintage watch collecting, particularly in Rolex, is pronounced because the Italians were amongst the first and most enthusiastic collectors some thirty years ago. So the Rolex Eef. 8171 triple calendar is known as the padellone, which is Italian for large pan, in reference to its case shape.  And then, there is the ovettone (meaning ‘egg’ in English), which is a form of the Rolex Bubbleback, and also the freccione (big arrow), another nickname for the Steve McQueen Explorer which has a large, arrow-shaped GMT hand.

Nicknames are often shared, perhaps a reflection of the limited number of celebrities available for naming. The Rolex Explorer Ref. 1655 is named after Steve McQueen, but so is the square-cased Heuer Monaco chronograph.A Watch By Any Name 2This extends to imaginary characters as well. Amongst the most collectible vintage Rolex watches is the James Bond Submariner, which refers to the watch Sean Connery wore. Rolex was mentioned by Ian Fleming in his novels (he also mentioned Girard-Perregaux) and also used in the early films. But Omega has been a title sponsor for the super spy’s films since Pierce Brosnan, and now makes a limited edition for each Bond flick. However, Omega’s watches have also been decorated with nicknames of their own. The Constellation ‘Pie Pan’, for instance, caught on like wildfire when it was coined. Referring to the design of the dial, which resembles old-school pie-baking apparatus, it is widely loved for the distinctive shape. In fact, vintage Omega Constellations are also called Connies by watch aficionados. Amusingly, owners of the Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation also call their planes Connies. So you’ll want to be sure of the context of any conversation before jumping to announce you’ve got a Connie on the wrist.

And then there are the Genta creations of the 1970s: the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, Patek Philippe Nautilus and IWC Ingenieur SL. All three were designed by Gerald Genta, the most influential watch designer of his day. They share similar wide and flat profiles, giving rise to the nickname Jumbo, which applies to all three.

But verbal creativity in watch collecting extends even to the most affordable end of the spectrum. Modern Seiko timepieces, especially dive watches, have a curious abundance of nicknames. There exist the Monster, Sumo, Samurai, Stargate, Starfish and the even Tuna (with the prefixes Baby, Darth and Gold). Though these are unofficial monikers, they have stuck fast. In fact, Seiko itself uses the Monster appellation for a series of limited editions made for the Thai market, which is an uncommon instance of a watch brand actually adopting an informal nickname. But why not, really? As the Italians always say, when you’ve got a nickname, it means they really love you.

Jewellery Time 2014: Updates!

As we inch closer towards Jewellery Time 2014, Cortina Watch has revealed more details about the biennial luxury watch showcase. For the readers who might have forgotten, the seventh edition of Jewellery Time will take place from 25 September to 5 October, 11am to 9pm daily at the main atrium of Paragon in Singapore.Jewellery Time 2014 Updates 3

Beyond our initial report which previewed some of the timepieces that will be on display, we now also know that the event will be housed within the purpose-built Collector’s Mansion. Said mansion has been designed in a style reminiscent of the Renaissance, while its white mesh structure juxtaposes modernity with old-world charms. Within the mansion, the contrast continues as contemporary furnishings meet Art Deco elements, topped off by chandeliers hanging from its ceiling.

Jewellery Time 2014 Updates 7

Setting aside, other details have also emerged. The showcase, which is open to the public, will feature over a hundred jewelled timepieces curated by the twelve participating brands: Audemars Piguet, Blancpain, Bulgari, Cartier, Chopard, Corum, Ebel, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Omega, Piaget, Vacheron Constantin and Zenith. Taiwanese model-actress Sonia Sui has also been revealed as the face of Jewellery Time 2014. Sui has over a decade of experience in the modelling, film and television industry, and will be in attendance at Jewellery Time 2014’s official opening party on 25 September.Jewellery Time 2014 Updates 1

To celebrate the occasion, Chopard has created the Imperiale Automatic Full Set, a pair of watches combining haute joaillerie and haute horlogerie. Conceptualised and designed as a unique set, the timepieces are entirely paved with diamonds save for the bezel, which has been set with multi-coloured baguette cut sapphires. The beating hearts of the watches are Calibre 01.03-Cs that run at 28,800 vibrations per hour and feature 60-hour power reserves. These movements are in-house developed and manufactured by Fleurier Ebauches, a company under the Chopard group that was founded to reinforce the brand’s vertical integration in watch production. The watches come in one unique piece of white and pink gold each, and will be delivered in a special box bearing an engraved plaque with “Cortina Watch” celebrating the occasion.

Omega Speedmaster Mark II “Rio 2016”: Podium Finish

As documented in our latest print issue, Omega has a longstanding partnership with the Olympic Games dating back to 1932. The 1932 Games held in Los Angeles saw Omega supply 30 high precision chronographs that were chronometer-certified by the Neuchatel Observatory – the most accurate standard in those days. Since then, Omega has measured and recorded every event at the Games. At the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Omega will continue its timekeeping and data-handling services as the Games’ official timekeeper.

Omega Speedmaster Mark Ii Rio 2016 2

To pay tribute to the upcoming Games, Omega has released the Speedmaster Mark II “Rio 2016” chronograph. This timepiece is technically identical to the Speedmaster Mark II introduced at BaselWorld 2014, and similarly inspired by the original Speedmaster Mark II from 1969. Unlike its regular production sibling, however, the tri-compax subdials for the Mark II “Rio 2016” have been decorated with a bronze, 18K yellow gold and 925 silver ring to reference the medals awarded to the top three athletes of each event. In addition, the “Rio 2016” version comes only with a black dial with white hands and markings for high contrast, whilst the production model also has a reference with orange markings and chronograph hands.

The Mark II “Rio 2016” comes in the familiar chunky stainless steel case, which wears surprisingly well even on modest wrists due to the lack of lugs. The usual small seconds, 30-minute and 12-hour totalizer are also a familiar sight, although the 2014 update to the Mark II adds a date window at six o’clock as well. More interestingly, this is the first watch from Omega to have a tachymeter that is usable in the dark – the tachymeter scale on the sapphire crystal is transparent, and overlays an aluminium ring filled with Super-LumiNova. Internally, the Mark II “Rio 2016” is driven by Omega’s Calibre 3330, which features a silicon balance spring and a Co-Axial escapement.

Omega Speedmaster Mark Ii Rio 2016 3

The Mark II “Rio 2016” is offered in a special presentation box with a certificate of authenticity, and is limited to 2016 pieces.

Omega Presents A Century of Fine Ladies Timepieces Exhibition

As we ease into the second half of 2014, the hype from SIHH and BaselWorld is finally beginning to settle down. From our coverage so far, one can see that several brands have begun to shift their focus away from the year’s novelties to other more varied offerings for the public. Omega’s one of them and its exhibition, A Century of Fine Ladies Timepieces, will be an evocative experience for horological enthusiasts who are interested in feminine timepieces.

Omega Fine Ladies Timepieces Exhibition 2

For better or worse, Omega has always been more renowned for its masculine creations, such as the manual-winding Speedmaster Professional, affectionately called the Moonwatch by fans. From 1995’s Goldeneye onwards, James Bond has always worn an Omega too, further cementing the brand reputation for creating fine men’s watches.

What may be less familiar to the public, however, is Omega’s storied history with ladies’ timepieces. At the exhibition, visitors will find a specially curated collection of vintage watches from the 1920s to the present, which have been flown in from the Omega Museum in Switzerland. Highlights of the exhibition include the Medicus from 1937, which was Omega’s first ladies’ wristwatch with central seconds. The Moldavita, a pendant watch attached to a necklace of meteorite, pearls, and gold, will also be on display. In addition, visitors can expect women’s staples such as secret watches, as well as the latest entries to Omega’s current Constellation and De Ville Prestige collections.

Omega Fine Ladies Timepieces Exhibition 1

If you are planning to visit the exhibition, we suggest doing so on the opening weekend if possible, as guided tours will be provided. This can prove invaluable for making sense of the exhibits, which have been chosen to showcase the evolution of ladies’ timepieces.Omega Fine Ladies Timepieces ExhibitionThe exhibition’s details are as follows:

5-13 July 2014
ION Orchard Level 1 Atrium
Open daily from 11am to 9pm

Omega Hosts An Exclusive Evening In Support of Orbis International

Earlier this month, Omega held at event in Shanghai to showcase the new Seamaster Aqua Terra collection. Staged in “Le Jardin Secret” (French for The Secret Garden), an innovative transparent roof had been set up to allow the night sky to illuminate the space and create a special atmosphere, which was made all the more glamorous by the presence of brand ambassador George Clooney. Yvonne Lim, a local Friend of Omega, also graced the event with her presence alongside her fiancé and former Taiwanese boyband member Alex Tien.

Omega Hosts An Exclusive Evening In Support Of Orbis International 3

Clooney shared with the audience about his long association with Omega, which actually began with his father, and introduced them to Omega’s efforts in preventing blindness and treating blinding eye diseases in developing countries. To that end, Omega has partnered with Orbis International, an NGO founded in 1982 to provide medical and optical treatment for more than 23.3 million people in 92 countries. Orbis’ activities include various training schemes, research programmes and advocacy missions, as shown in a short film screened during the evening. Of particular note was its Flying Eye Hospital, which delivers high-quality eye care to remote and inaccessible regions around the world.

Omega Hosts An Exclusive Evening In Support Of Orbis International 2

Later that evening, Clooney removed the watch he had been wearing – the Omega De Ville Hour Vision Annual Calendar – and autographed its strap and presentation box. The watch was placed on display at the event and will go on a mini-tour of six Omega boutiques in China, before going under the hammer, with all proceeds going towards Orbis.

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China’s most popular watches are European

Omega Store Causeway Bay

According to the World Watch report, a new survey from the Digital Luxury Group, China’s most popular watch brands are all European.

Omega, Cartier and Rolex come top in the survey of the watch market in the Asian powerhouse, which boasted 59 percent market growth in the luxury watch category.

The top three models are Omega’s Constellation and De Ville models, and Cartier’s Ballon Bleu (from €3,410 up to over €50,000).

The report was based on data shared for the first time by Baidu, China’s leading search engine. According to Baidu Vice President, Liang Zeng, “Watches are part of the fastest growing luxury segments in China right now.”

It’s luxury watches which get the most attention, with prestige category brands leading with 23% of global interest, as well as accounting for 41.5% of total demand in China. Baselworld 2014 takes place March 27-April 3.

Cartier Ballon Bleu Tourbillon watch

Clockwork Orange: Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Orange Ceramic

Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Orange Ceramic 2

 

The OMEGA Seamaster Planet Ocean Orange Ceramic is more than a world premiere – it is prime example of craftsmanship and exceptional innovation. The Seamaster Planet Ocean Orange Ceramic has a brushed and polished 43.50 mm case crafted from 950-grade platinum with a bi-directional 24-hour GMT rotating bezel whose polished ring is made from orange ceramic (patent pending), a world premiere. This stunning wristwatch has been produced in an edition limited to only eight pieces, a testimony to the challenge and complexity of creating the Seamaster Planet Ocean Orange Ceramic.

 

Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Orange Ceramic

 

Confirming the timepiece’s unique status are the words “World Premiere” engraved on the caseback, along with the limited edition number. The sapphire crystal on the caseback allows an unobstructed view of the OMEGA Co-Axial calibre 8615 at the heart of the Seamaster Planet Ocean Orange Ceramic. This exclusive OMEGA Co-Axial mechanical movement is fitted with a Si14 silicon balance spring.

Adding to the watch’s striking appearance are the 850-grade platinum Liquidmetal numerals, division lines, inner ring and triangle on the bezel.

Beneath the domed scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, the sand-blasted 950-grade platinum dial complements the orange ceramic bezel ring and the dazzling platinum case. ‘Pt950’ is engraved above the centre hole, identifying the material of the intriguing dial. Along with the facetted 18k white gold indexes and central hour-minute-seconds hands, there are the 6–9-12 numerals, GMT applique and the central GMT hand that rotates once every 24 hours in orange aluminium. This useful complication can be used with the rotating bezel to help you keep track of the time in a second and third time zone.

The watch features an integrated orange leather strap with platinum stitching and a 950-grade platinum foldover clasp. An orange rubber strap is also delivered with it along with a special tool to change it.  

The Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Orange Ceramic wristwatch is water resistant to 60 bar (600 metres / 2000 feet).

This remarkable timepiece is delivered in a special wooden presentation box, with a full four-year warranty.

Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Orange Ceramic 1

 

 

 

 

On Your Mark: Omega Speedmaster Mark II

Omega Speedmaster Mark Ii 1

 

There are some people so enamoured by one particular Omega Speedmaster Professional Chronograph, also known as the Moon Watch, that many other variations of this timepiece which are just as, if not more, alluring go unnoticed. The Speedmaster Mark II is one such variation.

Introduced in 1969, the year which the team of astronauts lead by Neil Armstrong landed on the moon, the Speedmaster Mark II didn’t leave a very big impression on the watch industry, much less the world. For everything else that happened in 1969 was eclipsed by that giant leap for mankind. That said, the Speedmaster Mark II is a very handsome timepiece by no small measure.

This year, Omega released an updated version of the Speedmaster Mark II and one of the most salient features is the presence of a new word added to the dial that spells ‘CO-AXIAL’. Ah yes. Omega’s much-vaunted in-house self-winding movement with one-of-a-kind co-axial escapement and Si14 silicon balance spring. Calibre 3330 is its name. Notably, this watch is a column wheel-controlled chronograph where the original Speedmaster Professional Chronographs using Calibre 861 were manually-wound cam-lever chronographs.

 

Omega Speedmaster Mark Ii

 

One look at the classic model is all it takes to recognise its genetic ties to the Moon Watch. The black on stainless steel combination means that this is a watch generally suitable for all occasions. Luminosity of the numerals, indices and hands are boldly played up; the transparent tachymetric scale on the sapphire crystal is illuminated from beneath by an aluminium ring filled with SuperLuminova. Extremely legible, the hands are also white varnished and lend a strong sense of utility.

But if you’re looking to stand out and not blend in, then the alternative model might be right up your alley. It pairs a matte grey dial with a chronograph seconds hand and indices in fluorescent orange.

Date adjustment for this timepiece isn’t done through the crown, but rather, with a tool you use to work the date corrector on the case at 10 o’clock. Like all of Omega’s Co-Axial watches, these are delivered with a full four-year warranty.

Another Speedmaster In Space

 Time Space

In the heart-pounding thriller, Gravity, Oscar winner and Omega brand ambassador George Clooney was wearing an Omega Speedmaster Professional. It was, of course, perfect typecasting because the Speedmaster is the only watch to have been qualified for every NASA piloted flight since 1965.

Directed by Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity stars Clooney and Sandra Bullock as astronauts who survive the destruction of the Space Shuttle and attempt to return to Earth. 

Academy Award winners Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side) and George Clooney (Syriana) star in Gravity, directed by Oscar nominee Alfonso Cuarón (Children of Men). Gravity was written by Alfonso Cuarón & Jonás Cuarón, and produced by Alfonso Cuarón and David Heyman (the Harry Potter films).  Chris deFaria, Nikki Penny and Stephen Jones served as executive producers.

Warner Bros Pictures presents an Esperanto Filmoj/Heyday Films Production, an Alfonso Cuarón Film, Gravity. The film is being released in 3D, 2D and IMAX, and is distributed worldwide by Warner Bros Pictures, a Warner Bros Entertainment company.  

Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean GMT

Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean GMT 600M

Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean GMT watches

Here’s your first look at a great looking new piece from Omega, the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean GMT.  A perfect addition to the Planet Ocean lineup.

As you can see from the bezel and dial it is a GMT watch, though the as noted by Omega this piece will carry the GoodPlanet name, an ocean conservation group that Omega has worked with since 2011.

The new Seamaster Planet Ocean GMT features a blue lacquered dial with orange accents, including the orange center-set GMT hand.

The watch has a 43.5mm steel case, 600 m water resistance, made with the Omega co-axial caliber 8605 with Silicon balance spring, and available on bracelet and rubber strap.

Source: Perpetuelles