Did you know…?
Since 1932, Omega has been an official timekeeper at the Olympic Games. This honour and responsibility was given to the Swiss brand thanks to its exceptionally precise watches. Omega launches a special model for the Olympic Games 2016 in Rio de Janeiro–More on this. What you should know about Omega is shown in our fact check.
Fact #1 about Omega: the name Omega
In 1848, Louis Brandt founded a so-called Comptoir d ‘ etablissage in La Chaux-de-Fonds. In this workshop he produced silver precision pocket with key lift, which he then sold on his travels throughout Europe. Shortly before his death, he brought his sons Louis-Paul and César to the company, now under the name “Louis Brandt & Fils”. 1891 renamed “Louis Brandt & Frères”, the brothers produced pocket and wrist watches in ever larger numbers. The year 1894 becomes one of the most important of the company’s history.
The Manufactory presented a 19-liniges Omega pocket watch caliber that had attained production maturity. It was convincing with its simple but very reliable design as well as the interchangeability of all components. A novelty at that time. This movement was named Omega. In the spring of 1894, the company “Omega” reported as a trademark and became the first watch brand whose name comes from a caliber. When the sons of Louis-Paul and César 1903 took over the management of the company, they converted it into the Stock corporation» Societe anonymous Louis Brandt & Frère – Omega Watch Co. «. 1947 the brand name came to the fore in the company name and since 1982 the company is simply called “Omega SA”.
Fact #2 about Omega: Master of Precision
1919, Omega Chronometers won the Neuchâtel Observatory’s accuracy competition for the first time. Around 30 further victories followed in the year 1971. Also in Geneva and Kew-Teddington convinced watches of Omega. 1933, 1936 and 1946 even achieved precision world records. To this day, Omega is one of the leading watch brands to have a large part of their mechanical timepiece tested by the official Swiss Chronometerprüfstelle COSC.
The high accuracy of the movement has been achieved since the turn of the millennium, among other things thanks to the built-in co-axial inhibition. First introduced in 1999, the inhibition developed by the British watchmaker George Daniels represents a real alternative to the Swiss anchor inhibition. The co-axial inhibition runs with less friction, makes better use of the energy available to it and thus achieves lasting chronometric performance. 2013, thanks to Amagnetischer components such as a silicon balance spiral, Omega introduced a» Master co-Axial «caliber that is insensitive to magnetic fields of up to 15,000 Gauss. Today almost all omega-calibers are equipped with co-axial inhibition, which is currently available in addition to the silicon balance spiral from a silicon wheel, a titanium balance and an anchor made of Nivagauss. In the future, they should all be antimagnetic as well as at least 15,000 gauss.
But there is also a new generation of Omega watches. The first representative is the Globemaster. This watch received the certificate from the COSC and went through eight rigorous tests at the Federal Institute of Metrology (Metas). The lettering» Master Chronometer «On the dial indicates that the watch, in addition to the high magnetic field resistance and the chronometer-speed values, also offers a tested waterproofness and the designated gear reserve.
Fact #3 about Omega: Omega and the Sea
While Rolex 1927 presented the world’s first waterproof watch with an oyster model, the Omega Marine of 1932 is considered the first dive watch – even if it was not conceived as such.
A second housing was pushed over the dial, which was protected by sapphire crystal, and provided for the necessary water resistance. 1957 finally appeared the first Seamaster 300. This was the beginning of the diver’s watch story at Omega.
1970 wrote the Swiss brand history with the Seamaster Professional 600, today better known as Ploprof. Their characteristics are the crown and the Red safety button, which releases the rotating bezel on the left side of the housing. A year later came the Seamaster 1000, which remained until 100 bar-tight – at that time a record. A five millimeter thick mineral glass contributed to the enormous water resistance. 2009 Omega brought the Seamaster professional quite officially as Ploprof back to the market, it holds water pressure up to 120 bar stand.
The latest version, launched 2015, is made of titanium and shows the co-axial caliber 8500 thanks to sapphire glass bottom. The Seamaster 300, which is similar to the original model from the 1950s, is also present in the Omega Dive Watch collection. Lastly, Daniel Craig wore a limited edition of the classic with NATO and 12-hour scale on the rotating bezel as James Bond.
Fact #4 about Omega: the link to space
The story is well known to Omega fans. NASA employees bought 1962 Ten chronographs from various manufacturers, including Omega, to find a suitable watch for space use. The clocks had to meet the catalogue of requirements set up for the Lunar cruise program. After numerous, demanding tests, the Speedmaster was the winner.
In March 1965, she received the “flight-qualified by NASA for all manned space missions” predicate and became the official equipment of the astronauts. Since then, the Speedmaster has completed some memorable missions. With Edwin» Buzz «Aldwin, she succeeded on the moon on July 21, 1969 as the first watch and has since been named Moonwatch.
At the famous Apollo 13 mission in April 1970, she rescued the astronauts from a potential catastrophe: on the third day after takeoff, one of the two oxygen tanks exploded, the second was badly damaged. The oxygen not only served the crew’s air supply, but also produced electricity and water via fuel cells. Using their Speedmaster watches, the astronauts were able to measure the seconds of the missile ignition for a re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere–only a time window of 14 seconds was available with a maximum of ten percent error deviation. Apollo 13 returned to Earth and for the outstanding performance of the Speedmaster, the astronauts Omega awarded the Snoopy Award, the highest award from NASA. To date, the Moonwatch has hardly changed visually, numerous special editions complement the field of Omega’s space watches.
Fact #5 about Omega: Celebrities and professional killer
The most famous brand ambassador of the modern era of Omega is the fictitious agent 007 James Bond. Last November, the latest strip of the secret agent “Spectre” appeared. A Seamaster 300 saved his life in it. Since 1995, Omega has been the official partner of the Bond films. First Pierce Brosnan and now Daniel Craig fight with an Omega on his arm against the evil of the world.
1995 is also the year in which the Swiss brand began to search for personalities representing the brand. The Omega family includes, for example, Nicole Kidman, Cindy Crawford and George Clooney. From the swimming sport Michael Phelps or Chad de Clos like to wear an omega. Even Michael Schumacher was once an Omega brand ambassador.
But even without this marketing concept, the brand convinced many celebrities of their watches. For example, 1960 John F. Kennedy already wore an Omega» Ultra Thin «, which he had received as a gift from Grant Stockdale. Pope John Paul II was photographed with an omega on his arm. And Mikhail Gorbachev was also happy to be an omega bearer.
Continuously updated article, originally posted online in January 2015.
Tags: chronometer, James Bond Watch, Manufactory caliber, Omega Globemaster, Omega Moonwatch, Omega Ploprof, Omega Seamaster, Omega Speedmaster, Omega watches, Swiss watches, diver watches, watch with magnetic field protection