For The Love Of Omega Watches
The world of Omega watches is big. It is hard to know where to start, but after a couple of days of training in Boston last month, I figured I would let you in on a few things that really impressed me about the brand and why we are proud at IJL to align ourselves with such a great company.
A lot of people are aware of Omega's watch called Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch (ref #3188.8.131.52.01.005, as seen above) - it also happens to be their most popular timepiece in their collection. This watch became famous as the first, and only, watch to ever be worn on the moon. The story of how it got chosen is incredible, but more incredible is how it was used in the Apollo 13 mission. During this mission, an oxygen tank exploded crippling the spacecraft and making it impossible to land on the moon. In order to get back to Earth, they had to do a 'slingshot' around the moon, which required a controlled burn. This burn needed to last for 14 seconds and only had a margin of error of 10% (or 1.4 seconds). Timing was incredibly important, too long of a burn and you miss the Earth, to short and you hit the Earth straight on and burn up in the atmosphere. What did they use to time the burn you ask? Well, it was the Omega Speedmaster Professional that timed the burn perfectly and helped the astronauts get home safely.
If you haven't heard of the amazing work Orbis does, well hopefully I can enlighten you. Orbis is a flying medical hospital that brings sight to children all over the world, and Omega is a sponsor. This Flying Eye Hospital is specially designed so that doctors can perform eye surgeries to children and adults inside the plane itself. They fly to remote parts of the world where vision care is inaccessible and essentially cure people of their blindness. They also train local doctors in vision care so that the work can continue when they leave. In 2016 alone they performed over 80,000 surgeries and trained over 40,000 eye care specialists. Omega has been a partner with Orbis International since 2011 and has created 4 different timepieces in support of this amazing not-for-profit organization.
A chronometer watch is a watch that is extremely precise by mechanical standards. If a watch is COSC certified it means that the movement has been tested by an independent third party organization in Switzerland. These tests take place over 15 days; there are 5 different tests performed on the movement, each test running 3 days with the movement running in various positions at various temperatures. The movement must come in between -4 and +6 seconds per day in order to become COSC certified. This is not a simple test that just any movement can pass and few watch brands are actually capable of manufacturing COSC certified movements. To be clear, COSC only tests the movement outside of the case itself.
A Master Chronometer certified watch from Omega adds another 10 days of testing on top of the COSC certification, this time with the movement inside the case itself. This additional certification - known as METAS - is a series of tests, which have been approved by the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology, that test the watches resistance to water and magnetism. They submit the watch to incredible magnetic fields - 15,000 Gauss - and then test its capability to perform under the watches stated water resistance. Lastly, they also test the precision of the timepiece when the power reserve is at 100% and 33%. For the watch to achieve a Master Chronometer designation, it must be accurate to with 0 and +5 seconds per day at the end of testing.
In total, every Master Chronometer timepiece from Omega has undergone 25 days of testing, 15 from COSC and 10 from METAS. For a movement, and finally, a watch, to pass all these tests is an incredible feat of engineering and a consumer can be that much more confident in the quality and accuracy of their timepiece.
There is so much more to say about Omega, and indeed one could devote an entire blog to the brand. And there are so many other reasons to love Omega as well! I would encourage you to learn about any brand you might be interested in before buying it. Often times the hard work that brands put into their products and good that they do in the world gets overlooked.