Tag Archives: Omega

Provenance: The Allure of Tissot Heritage Chronographs

Tissot Heritage 150th anniversary Chronograph

Before the launch of the Baselworld 2017 Tissot Heritage 1948 Chronograph, Tissot’s last heritage chronograph re-issue took place almost 15 years ago. It was in 2003, during the brand’s 150th anniversary celebrations that watch cognoscenti was reminded of the brand’s incredible provenance. We mention this because that particular model, the Tissot Heritage 150th anniversary Chronograph is actually a heritage re-issue of a highly collectible 1946 Tissot chronograph from the era.

Watch savants might recall that in 1930, Tissot merged with Omega, giving rise to a slew of Tissot-Omega badged watches and chronographs. By 1932, famed chronograph movement maker Lemania joined the group. Vintage chronograph models produced by Tissot during the 1930s and 1940s incorporated Lemania calibres like the CHT15 column wheel chronograph movement accounts for some of the shared commonalities; this is an editorial digression which serves to deliver our next point – the importance of nostalgia and romance when it comes to vintage re-issues, but what makes these watches extra compelling is the element of provenance and the joint relationship between the two brands.

It is this shared history which led some collectors to believe that 1960s and 70s Tissot chronographs like the Ref. 1281 used Omega 321 calibres due to the positions of the subdials (there is some truth to this but not in the way that is commonly misunderstood). The fact is, the Tissot 1281 chronograph used a manual wound Lemania 1281 or Tissot 871 cam-actuated chronograph movement which supported lower manufacturing costs.

That said, while early Speedmasters used column wheel chronographs, the relationship between the two brands ultimately led to that Tissot movement being developed into the 1873 which eventually became used in Omega Speedmasters. It’s a point of horological trivia which some watch lovers feel adds to the allure of vintage Tissot chronographs; and some of this desirability (inspired by provenance) transfers unto the modern Tissot Heritage chronograph re-issues.

OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies

Provenance: The Allure of Tissot Heritage Chronographs

The heritage re-issue is a trend that has been deeply mined in the last five years. At best, a vintage watch is deeply evocative and if a modern edition inspired by that history is ill-conceived, these attempts can backfire badly. Thankfully, with their newest attempt, the Tissot Heritage 1948 Chronograph, it is safe to say that the brand has been fairly skillful and respectful with their approach towards “commercialised” nostalgia.

In 2006, Tissot supported a spy-satire period film called OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies. Starring Jean Dujardin (he eventually won the 2011 Academy Award for The Artist), the film was set in 1955 following the exploits the French secret agent Hubert Bonisseur de La Bath or Agent OSS 117 (an obvious spoof of 007), as he is sent to Cairo to investigate the disappearance of his best friend and fellow spy Jack Jefferson. The titular OSS 117, played by Dujardin, was equipped with a special timepiece – a Tissot Heritage 150th anniversary Chronograph. It was a fitting bit of equipment and given its period authenticity, the chronograph became the watch which acquainted a new generation of watch consumers with Tissot.

Vintage 1946 Tissot chronograph which inspired the Tissot 150th anniversary Heritage Chronograph and close to two decades later, the Heritage 1948 Chronograph

That particular chronograph and the re-issue which followed 14 years later, the Tissot Heritage 1948 Chronograph is both descended from the fore mentioned 1946 model and the design elements are truly distinctive.

It differs from the original at two points. First, in terms of case proportion, the vintage Tissot chronograph was 36mm but the contemporary edition stays faithful as a gentleman’s chronograph with 39.5mm stainless steel case proportions. Increasing its appeal, however anachronistic, is the 1970s style Milanese or shark mesh bracelet that comes as an additional strap option for the Tissot Heritage 1948 chronograph. The twisted lugs, emblematic of the vintage edition also makes a return on the modern re-issue, adding some visual flair to the case. That said, it’s not an integrated chronograph movement which drives the Tissot Heritage 1948 chronograph but rather an ETA 2894-2, essentially a base 2892 automatic movement with chronograph module, accounting for its 11.9mm case thickness – as a result, it is not particularly slim but by chronograph standards, not particularly thick either.

The opaline silver dial with mirror polish framed subdials, protected by period authentic Hesalite, upsell the monochromatic appeal of the 50s and 60s before the 70s high contrast “panda” rage. The large applied “XII” at 12, heritage Tissot branding, concentric circles within the subdials, applied dot markers for hours and the minute track on the dial’s periphery are the only details which greet you – adding to its minimalist appeal – there’s not enough to distract you but enough to keep things interesting. It’s the 50s remember? An age of elegant distinctiveness. The other anachronistic element is a small date aperture between 4 and 5, a necessity. Overall, it is hard to deny the vintage charms and dressy appeal of the Tissot Heritage 1948 chronograph.

Tissot Heritage 1948 Chronograph Price and Specs

Case 39.5 stainless steel case with 30m water resistance
Movement Automatic ETA 2894-2 chronograph with 39 hours power reserve
Strap Croc-effect leather or steel Milanese bracelet
Price SG$2130 (leather) SG$2200 (milanese)

 

 

 

 

 

Latest Watch: Omega Speedmaster Chrono 38mm Black

With a refined case size, the new Omega Speedmaster 38 mm collection includes vibrant colours and unique design attributes that provide a refreshing twist on the classic chronograph. It’s not the Moonwatch, but nevertheless, it’s an arguably consumer friendlier version of Omega’s famed Moonwatch with gentler proportions and an automatically wound movement.

Earlier this year, the pre-Baselworld 2017 teasers introduced us to what was previously called as the Omega Speedmaster Reduced, newly christened as the Omega Speedmaster 38. Taking the suffix from its  case diameter and losing the negative connotations resulting from the “Reduced” portion of the name, the Bienne manufacture launched the newly re-designed Omega Speedmaster 38 Cappucino in two-tone, 38mm stainless steel case with bezel, crown and pushers are 18k Sedna gold. As you might recall, Sedna gold was Omega’s new proprietary fade-resistant gold alloy.

Latest Watch: Omega Speedmaster Chrono 38mm Black

Today, the latest model to join the collection is the Omega Speedmaster Chrono 38mm Black. Returning is the new “cut bezel”, last seen on the Speedmaster 38 “Orbis” – a chronograph dedicated to the brand’s partnership with life-affirming Orbis International and its Flying Eye Hospital. Similarly, within the stainless steel case beats COSC-certified calibre 3330, Omega’s new entry-level in-house chronograph movement which replaced the 3220 (basically an ETA with dubois depraz module), and now featuring the friction-free Co-Axial escapement and Omega’s vaunted magnetism-resistant si-14 silicon hairspring.

Not returning, is the oval sub-dial aesthetic which are found on the designated “female” editions of the new Speedmaster 38. The latest Omega Speedmaster Chrono 38mm Black is a unique model in stainless steel that offers rounded subdials with concentric circle details, as opposed to oval from the early Baselworld 2017 editions. The new Speedmaster 38mm chronograph’s dial is sun-brushed black and features a complementary two-tone black and silvery aluminium bezel with tachymeter scale, in stark distinction to what the older Speedmaster Reduced used to have.

The rhodium-plated hands and indexes of the latest Omega Speedmaster Chrono 38mm Black are coated in green Super-Luminova visible under the Anti-reflection-coated sapphire crystal, maximising legibility.

Though the Speedmaster Chrono 38 comes with a closed steel caseback stamped with the signature Speedmaster’s Seahorse medallion, the calibre 3330 is decorated with Geneva striping and chamfered bridges, it is not hand-finished, by it is definitely competently if industrially executed.

Omega Speedmaster Chrono 38mm Black Price and Specs

Case 38mm stainless steel case with 100m water resistance
Movement Calibre 3330 with co-axial escapement and silicon hairspring with 52 hours  power reserve
Strap 18mm stainless steel bracelet
Price US$ 4,900

 

A Rare Wristwatch Omega Tourbillon Auctioned off at Record $1.4 Million

Image courtesy of Phillips Watches

Back for their sixth watch auction, leading Watch Auction House, Phillips, in association with Bacs & Russo sold a rare Omega Tourbillon at record CHF 1,428,500 (USD 1,433,330).

The recent Geneva Watch Auction is a platform which connects dedicated watch collectors to the most brilliant and iconic timepieces ever made in the last century.

USD 1.4 million was the world-record price paid for an Omega watch to-date after a lengthy bidding war of almost 19 minutes, whilst other buyers continued to bid against each other for the pre-owned watches at auction.

Featuring a Guillaume balance on the 37.5 mm stainless steel watch, Omega is powered by its Manual Calibre “30 I”, has a “signed dial and buckle and is accompanied by an extract from the OMEGA Archives, confirming the model’s production date of 1947”, according to Omega in the press release. “The watch is the only known period-completed Tourbillon “30 I” wristwatch-cased OMEGA in existence.”

Today, this unique Omega model, which has been undiscovered for decades, finally found its way to a new owner. It was directly manufactured in 1947 but was not part of the 12 movements known so far, and Omega mentioned that “a fact that clearly underlines the importance of its discovery for the history of watchmaking and the brand.”

Kaia and Presley Gerber are the new faces of OMEGA 

It looks like some things do run in the family. Mirroring her 18-year-old brother Presley, Kaia Gerber has steadily been making a name for herself as a model, walking down the catwalks for the Spring/Summer 2018 shows of New York, London and Milan. It helps that their mother is none other than Cindy Crawford, one of the reigning supermodels of the 1990s. Along with her older brother, the 16-year-old is now following in her mother’s footsteps once again — this time, as the new brand ambassador for OMEGA.

Cindy Crawford became OMEGA’s very first ambassador in 1995. With her newfound role, she had contributed ideas for a new Constellation collection and was instrumental to the line’s relaunch that same year. More recently, Crawford brought Kaia along with her on a trip to Peru to film a documentary about the Orbis International Flying Eye Hospital for OMEGA.

Sticking to tradition, the Gerber siblings will now represent the Swiss luxury watch brand worldwide, just as their mother had for over 20 years. This year, Presley and Kaia took time off during their busy Paris Fashion Week schedules to attend the opening night of OMEGA’s “Her Time” exhibition at the historic Hôtel de Sully.

The exhibition celebrates the brand’s history of exquisite women’s timepieces, displaying everything from early Lèpine pendants and the iconic Ladymatic to “secret jewellery watches” and today’s latest creations. The evening was hosted by French actress Pauline Lefevre and graced by guests such as models Joan Smalls and Martha Hunt, actresses Cinta Kiehl and Gwendoline Hamon, and fashion designer Nathalie Rykiel.

The Gerber siblings made the evening a family affair by showing up together with their parents. A special family portrait taken by renowned photographer Peter Lindbergh was later unveiled, officially marking the siblings’ new connection with the OMEGA family.

The first official family portrait by Peter Lindbergh, featuring Cindy Crawford, Rande Gerber, and Kaia and Presley Gerber.

Crawford herself is only too happy to share her OMEGA journey with her children, saying, “My journey with OMEGA has been incredible and I know that Kaia and Presley will enjoy working with the brand as much as I have. They are both talented in their own unique ways and I’m so proud that they will be the next ambassadors for these fantastic watches.”

OMEGA’s President and CEO, Raynald Aeschlimann, added, “Kaia and Presley represent the next generation of watch wearers. They are good looking, motivated, inspirational and full of energy. It’s incredible to have such a passionate family tradition within our brand and I’m so excited to begin working with theses two young people.”

Standard bearers: A Guide to the Swiss Watch Industry’s Quality Benchmarks

 

Before ­­the advent of the mobile handheld computer, watches were the primary (or in some cases the only) tools of timekeeping. Ok, also clocks but time became personal long before electricity lifted the world out of darkness. Consumers of the 21st century, by way of contrast, can access the hours, minutes and seconds on nearly all powered devices in their daily lives – while also having a perpetual calendar and chronograph in the mix. Fun fact: there is more computing processing power in your mobile phone than the Apollo 11 astronauts had in their spacecraft.

Obviously, we live in times where watches are bought less for their timekeeping performance and more as a lifestyle accessory or personality enhance. Well, that requires a qualifier so here goes: watches can make you feel better about your standing in life and in society. Still, the precision of timekeeping remains the single most objective aspect for which a timepiece can be judged, as design, shape, colour and size are all subjective. It is worth remembering here that collector Henry Graves Jr (he of the Henry Graves supercomplication from Patek Philippe) was primarily interested in watches with exceptional precision, which in the early 20th century meant observatory-certified watches.

Standard bearers: A Guide to the Swiss Watch Industry’s Quality Benchmarks

The following standards show prominent third party certification bodies serve as a pillar of confidence – and how certain watch brands are doing more internally to guarantee precision.

Typically found on watch dials, the COSC chronometer label sometimes appears in other places, as seen here. Breitling has put it on the rotor of the Superocean Heritage Chronoworks where it reads "Chronographe Certife Chronometre"

Typically found on watch dials, the COSC chronometer label sometimes appears in other places, as seen here. Breitling has put it on the rotor of the Superocean Heritage Chronoworks where it reads “Chronographe Certife Chronometre”

Watch Quality Benchmark 1: COSC CHRONOMETER

The Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute is also referred to as COSC – the shortened form of its French name Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres. COSC serves as an independent institution providing testing and certification services to watch companies. A manufacturer who wishes to market a watch as a chronometer-grade timepiece must first submit the watch’s movement to COSC. At this facility, the movement is tested in five positions and at three temperature levels over a period of 15 days in order to identify the watch’s average daily accuracy. Only movements proven to be accurate within +6/-4 seconds per day are certified. Once returned to the manufacturer, these movements are cased up and the watches powered by them have earned the chronometer designation on the dial.

Geneva Seal or poincon de Geneve on a caseback of Vacheron Constantin watch

Geneva Seal or poincon de Geneve on a caseback of Vacheron Constantin watch

Watch Quality Benchmark 2: POINÇON DE GENÈVE

More casually referred to as the Geneva Seal, this standard scrutinises and certifies movements on three levels: provenance, craftsmanship and reliability. Provenance is a key emphasis here. Only movements assembled in Geneva can be certified; after all, the seal was established by the State of Geneva as a guarantee of Genevan watchmaking excellence.

According to the certification criteria, movements submitted to the testing body will be gauged for an accuracy level of +1/-1 minute per week. Functions such as chronograph, calendar and repeater are tested to ensure operational functionality. The power reserve must also be correct as per the specification claimed by the manufacturer. While the above qualities are intangible, the craftsmanship is not. All plates and bridges must be chamfered and polished by straight or circular graining such that all machining marks are removed. For this reason, a Geneva Seal watch is invariably well finished. Today, only a handful of brands can boast the seal in the form of an engraving on a movement bridge or the caseback.

The Qualite Fleurier mark on a Chopard LUC

The Qualite Fleurier mark on a Chopard LUC

Watch Quality Benchmark 3: QUALITÉ FLEURIER

The Fleurier Quality standard was officially launched in 2004. It marks a joint project by Bovet Fleurier, Chopard, Parmigiani Fleurier and Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier. Taking the form of a foundation, the standard involves local governmental authority with auditing by a third party in the private sector. At the beginning of a lengthy process is the regular COSC chronometer certification. The movements are then subject to accelerated ageing and shock under what is called the Chronofiable Test. Subsequently, movements having passed the aesthetic quality criteria are cased and placed in a purpose-built Fleuritest machine for a period of 24 hours to simulate real-life wear, with alternation between more and less active periods. The required accuracy goal is +5/-0 seconds per day.

Although the foundation is located in Fleurier, the certification is technically open to watches from any other town in Switzerland, provided that the case, dial and movement are Swiss made.

Cyclotest machine at the Jaeger-LeCoultre facility

Cyclotest machine at the Jaeger-LeCoultre facility

Watch Quality Benchmark 4: JAEGER-LECOULTRE MASTER 1000 HOURS

Despite the respect earned from watch enthusiasts around the world, Jaeger-LeCoultre found it necessary to provide such customers with concrete assurances, resulting in the establishment of the Master 1000 Hours programme of rigorous testing. Assembled watches are put in a machine, which move and subject them to small shocks, not unlike when the watches are worn, to ensure that the watch components are firmly in place and to test the tension of the mainspring. The next tests concern balance spring adjustment, power reserve and reaction to Swiss room temperature (22°C), a lower temperature (4°C) and a higher temperature (40°C).

Test watches are then left on the cyclotest machine for three weeks to simulate wrist movements, both in motion and in repose. The entire test period of 1,000 hours is sufficient to serve as the run-in period. A technical glitch, if any, should manifest already and can be corrected while at the manufacture. And as a result, customer dissatisfaction is minimised.

Montblanc Laboratory Test 500 - here, testing water resistance

Montblanc Laboratory Test 500 – here, testing water resistance

Watch Quality Benchmark 5: MONTBLANC LABORATORY TEST 500

Having made a name with products other than watches, Montblanc had quite the task convincing traditional brand-conscious buyers of their watches’ technical virtues. One of the means used is the introduction of the Montblanc Laboratory Test 500. This comprehensive test program in a dedicated laboratory sees that each Montblanc watch to be released from the manufacture in Le Locle meets strict quality criteria, such that it can offer as long a service life as expected by the buyer.

Several procedures are carried out during the 500 hours of the test. For the first four hours, cased watches are tested for assembly quality and winding performance. This is followed by 80 hours of continuous accuracy control, 336 hours of functions control and 80 hours of general performance testing. In this process, daily wear and various environmental conditions are simulated by machines. The final test is two hours immersion in water to ensure perfect resistance.

At the METAS facility within Omega's HQ, an automated system alters positions of the watches and move them from one temperature zone to another.

At the METAS facility within Omega’s HQ, an automated system alters positions of the watches and move them from one temperature zone to another.

A photograph is taken for comparison with one from before the test process in order to determine the level of accuracy.

A photograph is taken for comparison with one from before the test process in order to determine the level of accuracy.

Watch Quality Benchmark 6: MASTER CHRONOMETER

This last example of in-house control comes with governmental oversight. Going beyond the regular chronometer certification, Omega has developed the Master Chronometer standard in collaboration with the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology (METAS) as the next level of timekeeping performance.

First, COSC-certified movements are cased-up for a series of tests. Chronometric accuracy of the watches is monitored for a period of 24 hours after they have been exposed to a magnetic field of 15,000 gauss. Following demagnetisation, a machine the size of a (small) room arranges watches in six positions in two alternating temperature zones. Accuracy is rechecked at the end of the 4-day period to arrive at a daily average. Deviation in accuracy between when the watch has 100% and 33% power reserve is determined as well. A test watch must be accurate to +5/-0 seconds per day in order to be certified.

Everything is done under Omega’s roof at the firm’s facility in Biel but a room is allocated to METAS so their personnel can audit the watch company’s test results using their own equipment. This is why the certification is official and the red certificate card can bear the METAS emblem with Swiss national flag on it.

More brands are diligently working in the area of quality control. With competition being more intensive, everyone is fuelled by the need to offer added value, which is always beneficial to end users. At the close of the day, it is realistic to remember that mechanical watches do not stay accurate forever. Their performance theoretically can be affected by the knocks and bumps from everyday usage, as well as from their natural service life. This is why reasonable care should be used when wearing and handling your watches, and why you should have them serviced at the interval suggested by their respective manufacturers.

New Luxury Watch: Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra collection

15 years ago, in designing the ultimate ‘everyday’ watch (thus avoiding the faux pas of a dive watch wearing spy in tuxedo), Omega sought muse in two Latin words “Aqua” and “Terra”. A descriptive moniker which evoked imagery of a luxurious lifestyle on the decks of ships yet capable of plumbing the depths of oceans should the mood (or situation) arise, thus the Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra became synonymous as a “complete lifestyle watch”.

Aqua Terra expresses the versatility of a dress watch while carrying aloft the heritage of the Seamaster range, over time, it became one of Omega’s quintessential pieces and today, after a limited production of a Master Co-Axial Chronometer model made specially for James Bond during his Spectre mission, a wide selection of new Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra models has been produced for 2017, aesthetically and technologically updated with a refreshing new look and a new series production Master Co-Axial Chronometer calibre.

New Luxury Watch: Seamaster Aqua Terra gents’ collection

Omega’s Seamaster Aqua Terra has always provided the perfect balance between sophistication and ocean spirit. In terms of design, the blend of city chic and ocean robustness was seamless; ever stylish, the Aqua Terra cases were crafted with twisted and facetted lugs that recalled the OMEGA designs from the 1960s.

The launch of the Seamaster Aqua Terra in 2002 also marked the first time that a Co-Axial movement had been used in a collection other than the De Ville family and therefore represented a major new development in the Seamaster collection.

In 2008, the “teak pattern” marketed as features inspired by the teak floors of luxury yachts but seriously, a subtle homage to the vintage 1950s Seamaster Geneve, entered the Aqua Terra collection’s design lexicon. By 2013, Omega saw fit to introduce the Seamaster Aqua Terra >15,000 gauss, a model which eschewed the traditional “faraday cage” of magnetic protection and now instead, made use of selected non-ferrous materials in the movement itself, guaranteeing magnetic resistance up to 15,000 gauss.

In this new Seamaster Aqua Terra collection, some of the most popular features have been subtly transformed: the teak patterns on the dial now run horizontally, as opposed to vertically, And all new Aqua Terra watches are now certified Master Chronometers, available in 41mm or 38 mm.

Other notable features of the new Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra include:

  • A new symmetrical case design for a beautifully balanced look
  •  New conical crown
  • A cleaner dial,with the “water-resistance” indication now moved to the caseback.
  • Date window has been moved from 3 to 6 o’clock for better symmetry
  • Some 41mm models feature a rubber strap, new to the Aqua Terra, which is integrated to the case by an additional stainless steel or 18K Sedna™ gold link.
  • Metal bracelets have also been redesigned to achieve a better integration with the case.
    This suits wearers with slimmer wrists. They also include hardened links and a patented screw and pin system.
  • New wave pattern on the caseback.
  • All Driven by the Master Chronometer calibre 8900 I 8901(41mm) or 8800 (38 mm), all certified at the industry’s highest standard for precision, performance and magnetic resistance.

Pricing and availability for Seamaster Aqua Terra Gents

Available at all Omega authorised retailers, Seamaster Aqua Terra 41mm Gents Price Ranges from S$7,600 for steel on leather – S$40,500 for gold on gold bracelet

 

Seamaster Aqua Terra Ladies 

Seamaster Aqua Terra 38mm  Ladies Price Ranges from S$8,850 for steel on steel bracelet – S$32,850 for gold on bracelet

 

Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Worldtimer Master Chronometer Limited Edition

Delivered in platinum, the Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Worldtimer Master Chronometer Limited Edition is rumoured to be the first in a potentially new series of Aqua Terra Worldtimers.

If the majesty of the “grand feu” enamel world map in the centre of the dial doesn’t immediately define this new Seamaster Aqua Terra as something beyond the realm of the standard Aqua Terra collection, the exposed frosted dial fringing the world map in vitreous enamel, will. The platinum case made distinctive with contrast 18K yellow gold hands and hour markers are.

Equipped with a cal. 8939 calibre with patented alloys and a magnetic resistance of over 15,000 Gauss, Omega’s new Aqua Terra Worldtimer is similarly Master Chronometer certified like the other models in the series. Within this latest platinum Aqua Terra, many of the components have been changed to meet the material requirements of the new platinum Aqua Terra Worldtimer – a reflection of its ultra-luxurious settings, Omega has opted to replace some of the brass components like the distinctive balance wheel bridge with an 18K gold version.

Aesthetically, the new Seamaster Aqua Terra beckons you to dive into the lush enamel dial with sand blasted platinum-gold and features 18K yellow gold indexes and hands that are coated in Super­ LumiNova. In terms of functionality, a circle of global destinations printed in red (GMT), black (+1h in summer) or blue (places without daylight savings) functions as a fixed cities disc while the 24-hour home time wheel rotates. Omega also performs some branding ‘sleight of hand’ by swapping Paris and Geneva, cities which traditionally represent GMT +1 and instead, replaced it with Bienne, the home of Omega.

The 43 mm symmetrical case is made from platinum-gold and includes a mix of polished and brushed surfaces. On the reverse side, there is a wave-edged design and several engravings including each unique Limited Edition number. The timepiece is water resistant up to 15 bar (150m I 500ft) and comes presented on a brown leather strap with a platinum-gold foldover clasp.

Aqua Terra Worldtimer Master Chronometer Limited Edition Price and Availability

Only 87 editions of this watch have been produced, the Aqua Terra Worldtimer Master Chronometer Limited Edition is priced SG$67,500 and is available on request at any authorised Omega retailer.

Omega Singapore invited a crew of astronauts to officiate the 60th anniversary of the Omega Speedmaster. The astronaut stands amidst the "Crystal Universe", a 2015 Interactive Installation of Light Sculpture, Endless Artwork & Sound by teamLab.

Omega Celebrates Speedmaster 60th Anniversary at Singapore Art Science Museum

Omega Singapore invited a crew of astronauts to officiate the 60th anniversary of the Omega Speedmaster. The astronaut stands amidst the "Crystal Universe", a 2015 Interactive Installation of Light Sculpture, Endless Artwork & Sound by teamLab.

Omega Singapore invited a crew of astronauts to officiate the 60th anniversary of the Omega Speedmaster. The astronaut stands amidst the “Crystal Universe”, a 2015 Interactive Installation of Light Sculpture, Endless Artwork & Sound by teamLab.

For one night, the Singapore Art Science Museum was transformed into a time travelling exhibit of space exploration and high-art as Omega Singapore celebrated the 60th anniversary of the legendary Speedmaster. Space and Time took literal form, embodied in trio of venues which celebrated Speedmaster’s 60th birthday: First, the re-opening of Omega Singapore’s latest flagship boutique at The Shoppes At Marina Bay Sands; second, just a stone’s throw down the mall’s “watch alley”, a standing exhibit extolling the provenance and virtues of the collection as well as displaying vintage Omega Speedmaster “Moonwatches”, a vivid exhibition in tribute to the 60th milestone date of such an iconic chronograph.

The Omega Speedmaster which started it all. 60 years of epic provenance, more so than almost any other chronograph on the market today.

The Omega Speedmaster which started it all. 60 years of epic provenance, more so than almost any other chronograph on the market today.

Spacemen assemble at an exhibition of vintage Speedmasters a walk down from the Omega Singapore boutique at Marina Bay Sands

Spacemen assemble at an exhibition of vintage Speedmasters a walk down from the Omega Singapore boutique at Marina Bay Sands

Omega Celebrates Speedmaster 60th Anniversary at Singapore Art Science Museum

Attended by over 130 guests, mostly VIP watch collectors, members of Singapore watch media and local Mediacorp celebrities (Omega Singapore calls them ‘Friends of the brand’), the attendees were invited to travel to planet Omega through the halls of the Singapore Art Science Museum where we encountered a literal “curtain of stairs”, a high-tech art installation comprised of strings of blinking LED lights which led attendees to the main event hall for Omega Speedmaster’s 60th Anniversary.

The march of astronauts, reminding us that a journey to the moon is not the endeavour of one but a joint effort of men (and one important watch - the Speedmaster Moonwatch)

The march of astronauts, reminding us that a journey to the moon is not the endeavour of one but a joint effort of men (and one important watch – the Speedmaster Moonwatch)

Dubbed “Crystal Universe”, the 2015 Interactive Installation of Light Sculpture, Endless Artwork & Sound by teamLab was turned into an expanse of white, blinking and flashing stars in a variety of patterns. Conceived as an interactive artwork by teamLab, the concept was to place one at the heart of the universe to enable astrophysical phenomena such as planets, stars, galaxies and gravitational waves. The artwork adopted by Omega Singapore utilises teamLab’s Interactive 4D Vision technology allowing users to directly affect 178,200 LED lights giving the illusion of stars moving in space. Given the obvious space-inspired synergy, passage through the starfield on the way to Planet Omega was especially emotive since it expressed Speedmaster’s legacy in NASA space explorations.

Freeze dried astronaut ice-cream sounds amazing but to this editor, it was like eating concentrated marshmallow cubes, nevertheless, it added literal and metaphorical flavour to the epic 60th anniversary bash for the venerable Omega Speedmaster

Freeze dried astronaut ice-cream sounds amazing but to this editor, it was like eating concentrated marshmallow cubes, nevertheless, it added literal and metaphorical flavour to the epic 60th anniversary bash for the venerable Omega Speedmaster

Kicking off the festivities was a march in by NASA astronauts and then an opening address by President Swatch Group South East Asia, Jose de Cardoso and entertainment by up and coming Singapore Singer, Tabitha Nauser. Food options consisted of a bevy of Butler served canapes including Snow Queen Crab salad, Orzo Pasta with Crustacean Bisque, Lobster Ravioli and official NASA ice-cream!

Head of Product Management Gregory Kissling was on hand to present Omega Baselworld 2017 novelties

Head of Product Management Gregory Kissling was on hand to present Omega Baselworld 2017 novelties

As part of Speedmaster 60th Anniversary celebrations in Singapore, Head of Product Management Gregory Kissling was on hand to present Omega Baselworld 2017 novelties as well

Gregory Kissling, Head of Product Management was on hand at the Omega Singapore Marina Bay Sands flagship boutique to present Luxuo with Baselworld 2017 novelties including:

A true to life (shape and form) facsimile of the original 1957 Omega Broad Arrow Speedmaster.

A true to life (shape and form) facsimile of the original 1957 Omega Broad Arrow Speedmaster.

The “Broad Arrow” was not only the first Speedmaster, it was also the first chronograph wristwatch in the world with its tachymeter scale on the bezel as opposed to printed on the dial. With its perfect match of the original ’57 tachymeter, this 2017 Speedmaster stays true to this design. That said, it comes powered by the 1861 calibre instead of the calibre 321.

Captain Eugene “Gene” Cernan left his mark on history with three historic missions in space as the pilot of Gemini IX, the Lunar Module pilot of Apollo X, and the commander of Apollo XVII. Omega Speedmaster Apollo 17 45th Anniversary 'Tribute to Gene Cernan' Limited Edition bookends mankind's story of space exploration.

Captain Eugene “Gene” Cernan left his mark on history with three historic missions in space as the pilot of Gemini IX, the Lunar Module pilot of Apollo X, and the commander of Apollo XVII. Omega Speedmaster Apollo 17 45th Anniversary ‘Tribute to Gene Cernan’ Limited Edition bookends mankind’s story of space exploration.

Cernan passed earlier this year, January 16, 2017. This Speedmaster is a tribute to his accomplishments and his dramatic place in history as the last time mankind was on the moon.

Cernan passed earlier this year, January 16, 2017. This Speedmaster is a tribute to his accomplishments and his dramatic place in history as the last time mankind was on the moon.

 

Where the Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch Apollo 11 40th Anniversary told the story of man’s first step on the moon (2:56 GMT on the 21st of July to be precise), the Omega Speedmaster Apollo 17 45th Anniversary ‘Tribute to Gene Cernan’ Limited Edition bookends mankind’s story of space exploration with the milestone of the last man to walk on the moon.

Captain Eugene “Gene” Cernan spent 20 years as a Naval aviator, including 13 years with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). He left his mark on history with three historic missions in space as the pilot of Gemini IX, the Lunar Module pilot of Apollo X, and the commander of Apollo XVII. He flew to the moon not once, but twice, and also holds the distinction of being the second American to walk in space and the last man to have left his footprints on the lunar surface. 05:34 GMT marks the last footsteps on the moon. Cernan passed earlier this year, January 16, 2017.

Omega Baselworld 2017 novelty: Omega Speedmaster Chronograph Moonphase Co-Axial Master Chronometer "Blue Side of the Moon"

Omega Baselworld 2017 novelty: Omega Speedmaster Chronograph Moonphase Co-Axial Master Chronometer “Blue Side of the Moon”

Kissling also presented the Baselworld 2017: Omega Speedmaster Chronograph Moonphase Co-Axial Master Chronometer “Blue Side of the Moon”: A blue, 44,25 mm chronograph with full blue ceramic case. The watch also features a ceramic dial and a bezel with a brushed Liquidmetal Tachymeterscale.

With 6 decades on its belt, the story of Omega’s Speedmaster is told not just from the perspective of the many real life heroes who wore them, nor the missions they were utilised in but also in the many variations that they have embodied; a testament to the versatility and utility of one of the world’s most iconic chronographs.

Omega's Speedmaster collection is as versatile as it is storied. Here, the Mark II model is configured for racing.

Omega’s Speedmaster collection is as versatile as it is storied. Here, the Mark II model is configured for racing.

 

Omega sponsored Emirates Team New Zealand won the 35th America’s Cup

26/06/2017 – Bermuda (BDA) – 35th America’s Cup 2017 – 35th America’s Cup 2017 Presented by Louis Vuitton, Day 5 – Emirates Team New Zealand wins the America’s Cup

The Omega sponsored Emirates Team New Zealand has just won the 35th America’s Cup in Bermuda 26 June, defeating holders the United States; and so, this billion US dollar event will return to Asia-Pacific waters for the first time since 2003.

17/06/17 Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Match Racing Day 1. Emirates Team New Zealand vs. Oracle Team USA races 1 & 2. Copyright: Richard Hodder / Emirates Team New Zealand

It will be a tremendous boost here for luxury brands like much-involved Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy and many other watch, bank, car, jewellery and wine and spirits companies that are traditionally part of the enormous America’s Cup entourage.

“Everyone at OMEGA is thrilled with this incredible result. We’ve followed ETNZ’s America’s Cup journey from the start and always believed they could win. They came to Bermuda with an inspiring team spirit as well as the best innovation possible and it was my personal pleasure to spend time with them and cheer them on. It’s a privilege for our brand to have played a part.” – Raynald Aeschlimann, the President and CEO of OMEGA

Omega sponsored Emirates Team New Zealand won the 35th America’s Cup

Emirates Team New Zealand has made sailing history by winning the 35th America’s Cup in Bermuda After 22 decade famine, the Kiwis finally reclaimed the sport’s oldest trophy. As a proud sponsor and Official Timekeeper for the crew, Swiss watchmaker Omega is celebrating the victory and congratulating the team on their fine performance as well.

The New York Yacht Club held the famous silver trophy for a sporting record 132 years until Australia won it in 1983, but then lost in Fremantle in 1987 to Dennis Conner, who moved the venue to San Diego on America’s Pacific Coast.

26/06/2017 – Bermuda (BDA) – 35th America’s Cup 2017 – 35th America’s Cup 2017 Presented by Louis Vuitton, Day 5

The Kiwis first captured it in 1995 and successfully defended in Auckland in 2000, but lost the 2003 match to Swiss yacht Alinghi which, as Switzerland is land-bound, elected to defend in Valencia in Spain.

They retained “the auld mug”, as it is affectionately called, but next time around American computer billionaire Larry Ellison triumphed, sailing in catamarans rather than traditional monohulls. He chose to defend it in San Francisco in 2013, again in catamarans now up on foils and achieving incredible speeds. Superb TV coverage went worldwide for the first time. It seemed Ellison’s US$100 m investment had been lost when the Kiwis went 8-1 up in a first-to-nine series, but then incredibly the Americans made a comeback, race by excruciating race, to win 9-8.

26/06/2017 – Bermuda (BDA) – 35th America’s Cup 2017 – 35th America’s Cup 2017 Presented by Louis Vuitton, Day 5 – Emirates Team New Zealand Prize Giving

This month, in mid-Atlantic Bermuda, still a British dominion, the Omega sponsored Emirates Team New Zealand finally got their own back, winning 8-1 on the water and 7-1 because the defenders had a one point advantage, for complicated reasons, going into the final.

The Omega sponsored Emirates Team New Zealand are expected to defend the 36th America’s Cup in Auckland again, which will mean many more big boats plying Asia-Pacific waters to reach distant New Zealand, and luxury brand campaigns throughout the region starting almost straight away in the years-long lead-up to the event.

Japan was one of the challengers in the present event, and China is said to be considering entering for the first time. Australia, which has been missing recently, is also a likely participant in next-door New Zealand.

As well as co-sponsoring the Emirates team, Omega also equipped the crew with a specially-made Regatta watch for racing. The Speedmaster X-33 Regatta ETNZ included an ingenious Regatta function allowing the team to keep track of the critical five-minute countdown to the start of each race. Once racing was underway, the X-33 enabled the crew to measure progress.

The Speedmaster X-33 Regatta ETNZ included an ingenious Regatta function allowing the team to keep track of the critical five-minute countdown to the start of each race.

The Speedmaster X-33 Regatta ETNZ included an ingenious Regatta function allowing the team to keep track of the critical five-minute countdown to the start of each race.

 

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

Omega and James Bond: For Your Eyes Only

GoldenEye (1995) did more than introduce Pierce Brosnan as the new James Bond – the film also marked the beginning of the film franchise’s partnership with Omega. Before this, the fictional British Secret Service agent has worn watches as diverse as Rolexes and Seikos. With this brand loyalty, however, Bond has had the opportunity to wear several Seamasters over the next seven films. Here’s a quick look at them.

GoldenEye (1995)

Bond’s first experience with Omega watches came in the form of a Seamaster Professional 300M (Ref 2541.80.00), which had a quartz Calibre 1538 in it. 

Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), The World Is Not Enough (1999)

For his second film as the spy, Pierce Brosnan upgraded to Ref 2531.80.00 instead. This Seamaster Professional 300M featured a mechanical chronometer movement in the form of Calibre 1120. James Bond would continue wearing this watch in 1999’s The World Is Not Enough…

Die Another Day (2002)

…and for the third consecutive time in 2002’s Die Another Day. Despite the consistency of having a single watch across three movies, Bond’s hidden gadgets in his watch differed in each film. In The World Is Not Enough, his Omega Seamaster had an inbuilt remote detonator, whereas Die Another Day’s Seamaster came with a grappling hook. 

Casino Royale (2006)

Casino Royale saw a change from Pierce Brosnan to Daniel Craig as Agent 007, and the upgrade of his watches to Co-Axial movement equipped ones, in this film Calibre 2500. 

James Bond Limited Series

Casino Royale also saw Omega’s release of the James Bond Limited Series, which features the spiral motif on its dial a la the rifling of a gun’s barrel. 

Quantum of Solace (2008)

Quantum of Solace marked a change from the Seamaster Professional 300M to the Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M, although the movement inside remained identical with Calibre 2500.

Quantum of Solace Limited Edition

To tie in with the film’s release, a limited edition Quantum of Solace series of watches was released by Omega. The watch had a limited production run of 5,007 pieces, and had a black dial with a textured surface inspired by Bond’s trademark Walther PPK pistol’s grip.

James Bond 007 Collector's Piece

Along with the Quantum of Solace Limited Edition, Omega also released the James Bond 007 Collector’s Piece, which had a limited run of 10,007 pieces. 

Skyfall (2012)

Skyfall was the most prolific Bond film in terms of Omega tie-ups yet. Bond himself wore the Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M, with the new Calibre 8500 which was designed and assembled in-house by Omega.

Skyfall (continued)

Bond aside, the character Severine played by Bérénice Marlohe also wore an Omega, in this case a De Ville Prestige.

Skyfall (continued)

Bond’s associate Eve, played by Naomie Harris, wore a Seamaster Aqua Terra instead.

James Bond 007 50th Anniversary Collector's Piece

To mark 50 years of Bond in film, Omega released the limited edition James Bond 007 50th Anniversary Collector’s Piece, which came in either 41mm (11,007 pieces) or 36.25mm (3,007 pieces). 

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.