Lunar landings, butterfly motifs, anti-magnetic movements – Omega's collection at the 2014 Baselworld Watch and Jewellery Show in Switzerland showcased the beauty of time.
Swiss luxury watchmaker Omega unveiled its new collection at the 2014 Baselworld Watch and Jewellery Show, and featured timepieces that were both aesthetically pleasing and full of technological advancements. A number of important pieces were highlighted including the Master Co-Axial, an updated version of the Seamaster, and the Deville Prestige ‘Butterfly’.
Evolution of the Revolution
“We have one important theme this year and it’s the Master Co-Axial,” said Omega president Stephen Urquhart, referring to the brand’s latest movement. A revolutionary combination of Omega’s own co-axial and anti-magnetic movements, the Master Co-Axial comes with four calibres (8400/8401, 8500, 8511 and 8520) and will be rolled out to the entire collection in two to three years, says Urquhart.
Thus, not only will Omega watches possess a more fluid and silky movement, with less friction and enhanced chronometric performance, they will now be able to resist 15,000 Gauss of magnetic field as well. Two truly Omega traits in a single timepiece.
However, the Omega stalwart opined that anti-magnetism hasn't gained much traction in the watchmaking industry and believes this will be the defining property looked out for by consumers in the near future. What magnetism – a force more potent in our day and age – does to a watch is essentially disrupt its mechanical workings, rendering it to move slower. Or in some cases, stops it altogether.
“About a year and a half ago, the CFO of Omega went to Japan to make an audit. Almost 50% of the watches at the customer service needed adjustment due to magnetism. Of course, demagnetising a watch is not a big deal but imagine all those people sending their watches back because it’s not running well. They don’t need to. It can be avoided,” Urquhart said.
As such, he strongly reckons that very soon the anti-magnetic movement will become a proviso of sorts for watch buyers. “Consumers will eventually ask if a watch is anti-magnetic, and hopefully one day they will ask if it’s a Master Co-Axial because this actually means something. And we are going to make sure that we knock the nail on the head for this,” he asserted.
For Urquhart, the timepiece from the 2014 collection that truly embodies Omega is the Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial (above). This classic diver's watch, with its unidirectional rotating bezel and diving scale, makes a comeback after more than half a century, all upgraded and enhanced for a new generation of adventurers.
“The Seamaster 300 really represents Omega today since its aesthetics are 100% inspired by the original 1957 model. Moreover, the quality of the watch is enhanced by the new technology. This is truly Omega – a fantastic design from the past, without going crazy about it, and a fantastic movement making it a better watch,” Urquhart said.
The Seamaster 300 still retains the classicism and masculinity of its predecessor, and the impressive selection of materials – stainless steel, 18K Omega Sedna gold, grade 5 titanium and 950 platinum – and bi-colour options promise to draw enthusiasts in like moths to a flame.
The white gold hour, minute and seconds hands, coated with SuperLumiNova (which illuminates the hands even in the absence of light) and set against the black ceramic dial, complemented by a sleek and polished black ceramic bezel ring, emanates dynamism and vigour. The broad arrow of the hour hand and the rack-and-pusher clasp of the bracelets also give the timepiece a classy look.
I was particularly drawn to the Seamaster Aqua Terra Master Co–Axial. Bold and polished, the watch is all classical elegance, with a lacquered dial, five colours (black, silvery, blue, grey and champagne), in the striking ‘Teak Concept’ vertical lines associated with the Aqua Terra collection.
The timepiece looks exceptionally handsome in a blue dial as it complements the elegant leather strap, the polished bezel, and the faceted hour, minute and seconds hand. This sporty, classic watch exudes both style and confidence for debonair collectors.
Shades of Grey
Omega, besides being the trusted companion of Agent 007, is synonymous with the first lunar landing in 1969. The Speedmaster Professional chronograph followed Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to Earth's moon and became part of space history. Celebrating the 45th anniversary of that astronomical event, Omega has rolled out 1969 pieces of the Omega Speedmaster Professional Apollo 11 45th Anniversary Limited Edition timepieces (above).
Inspired by the different shades of grey seen on the moon, the watch features a brushed titanium case – an element found in abundance on the moon - with a touch of gold. The 18K Omega Sedna gold bezel and the matt black ceramic ring with a tachymeter scale are defining elements of the Speedmaster collection, and endows the Speedmaster Professional Apollo 11 with a singularity of design.
Adding a touch of nostalgia to the timepiece and completing the charming, rugged look is the NATO-inspired fabric strap, first designed by the British Ministry of Defence in 1973.
Elegance in Motion
While Omega's men’s watches are bold and daring, the women's collection is alluring, enchanting and brimming with grace and elegance. Omega’s Constellation Pluma timepiece (above) combines style and technology beautifully with its mother-of-pearl dials in natural white (or blue) and 11 diamond indexes set in 18K gold holders. The design traces the gentle lines of a pluma – that's Latin for feather. And the watch comes with a full four-year warranty for its reliable Omega Co-Axial calibre 8520.
Even more arresting is the demure De Ville Prestige ‘Butterfly’ (below). Like a bright shining star, this timepiece is resplendent with its polished or diamond-set bezel, and the champagne or silver dial. Available in a polished bi-colour or stainless steel Prestige bracelet, the petite watch looks opulent in a satin-brushed leather strap option, exuding dazzling purity.
The defining feature of the Prestige ‘Butterfly’ is the beautiful butterfly motif, created by using a decorating technique known as "ramolayage" or pounced ornament. Besides, there's something very calming and majestic about Omega's butterfly design, inspired by popular Chinese culture of love and longevity.