As we announced last week, the three gold Omega Speedmaster Professional copy watches have been presented to the three winners at the Starmus Festival in Trondheim yesterday evening (local time).
This came in very late yesterday evening (thanks James for forwarding us the press release from the US agency), so it missed our regular Speedy Tuesday ‘day’. We always try to bring you Speedmaster related news on a Tuesday, but sometimes it doesn’t work out. Anyway, without further ado.
Winners of the Starmus Festival are musician Jean-Michel Jarre (no further explanation needed), Neil deGrasse Tyson (might not ring a bell for people outside the USA immediately, but he is an American astrophysicist, author, and science communicator. He also hosted a number of space related TV shows and known for TV Series Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey) and last but not least, the creators and cast of The Big Bang Theory. Both Jean-Michel Jarre and Neil deGrasse Tyson were able to receive the prize themselves in Trondheim last night.
The producers (Chuck Lorre and Steven Molaro) of The Big Bang Theory TV show were able to send a video message though, stating: “We are thrilled to accept this award on behalf of the show. Never in 14 billion years did we think The Big Bang Theory would become what it has and we are eternally grateful to Professor Hawking, the science community, and everyone who has embraced it as their own. For those we have inspired to pursue the sciences, we are deeply honored. To Stepen and everyone at Starmus –Thank you”.
Our colleague James Henderson from watch blog urges Omega to make Neil deGrasse Tyson a brand ambassador for black dial Omega fake watches, as he would be the perfect fit (There James, we said it). We obviously agree, as we rather see ‘real’ ambassadors than moviestars as watch ambassadors. Oh, and he already owns one of the coolest and rarest (gold) Speedmasters out there. Only 3 made.
More information on the gold Speedmaster for this occasion can be read in our previous article here.
From the “Fratello Friday” archives, we present this post focusing on five iconic Omega watches. Of course, many models from this brand could be considered iconic, but for the purposes of this list, I narrowed it down to five Omega watches that I consider most important to the brand or to the world of watches in general.
1. Omega Speedmaster Professional
I can’t think of an Omega watch that better fits the definition of an icon than the so-called “Moonwatch.” There are so many variations of it that we cover it weekly on Fratellowatches.com with our “Speedy Tuesday” posts. In the end, it doesn’t really matter which black dial Speedmaster Professional fake watch you own, have on your wish list or are about to purchase: they are all great, classical timepieces, starting with the very first one in 1957 to the modern models; a piece of history on the wrist, so to speak. If you want to learn more about this model and its variations, I urge you to pay Fratellowatches.com a visit.
2. Omega Constellation Grand Luxe
Once the flagship of the Omega brand, the rose gold Omega Constellation copy watch is a much-praised and beloved watch among collectors of vintage Omega watches. Even though the Constellation was already considered to be a luxury timepiece, the Grand Luxe editions were considered to be the most high-end model in the collection. The brick-like designed bracelet of the Constellation Grand Luxe inspired the bracelets later used on the De Ville Co-Axial models. These models were available in gold and platinum. In the 1970s, the Constellation models started to “drift” a bit in the area of design, and the collection was re-designed and reintroduced in 1982 as the Constellation “Manhattan,” with the famous “claws” that pressed on the sapphire crystal. Aesthetically, these models have little in common with those very first 1950s and 1960s Constellation watches.
3. Omega Seamaster Ploprof
The Seamaster Plongeur Professional, better known by the abbreviation “PloProf,” was developed by Omega in the late 1960s in close cooperation with the COMEX company and the famous ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau. Designed and developed solely for professional use, this watch was introduced on the market in 1971. Water-resistant to 600 meters and with a monobloc case construction, this watch was (and still is) huge. It featured a large, red button that was used as a safety lock for the bezel. The crown system was also an interesting part of the watch, using a crown-locking nut. In 2009, Omega introduced a re-edition of this famous model with a water resistance of 1,200 meters and featuring its in-house-developed Caliber 8500 movement (I wrote a review on it here). Like the very first Seamaster PloProf in 1971, this isn’t a watch that sells as well as other Omega watches do, but this has mainly to do with its unconventional dimensions.
4. Omega Marine
This is the first Omega watch designed for divers, debuting in 1932. A clever, rectangular case construction made it possible to use this watch under water during diving and swimming activities. The crown was located at 12 o’clock and was hidden in the case, as you can see in the picture. A little flip lock made sure the case pieces were tightly pressed towards each other. There have been some variations on the Marine model. In the 1970s, Omega used the “Marine” name for a marine chronometer timepiece with a so-called MegaQuartz (2.4 MegaHertz) movement. Besides the rectangular case and “Marine” name, these two models have little in common, however.
5. Omega Seamaster Professional 300M
The most modern watch on this list, this one was introduced in 1993. How is this watch an icon? As I see it, this is the watch that put Omega on the horological map again for a younger audience after Omega made it the choice of James Bond, starting in the 1995 film, Goldeneye. (The watch was replaced, however, by the Seamaster Planet Ocean in last year’s Skyfall). This 1993 Seamaster Professional 300M was the watch that inspired men to walk into Omega boutiques and ask for “the James Bond watch.” Also, except for the now slightly outdated bracelet design, it is a watch that probably will become an Omega classic. With its helium-release valve at 10 o’clock, screw-down crown, blue wave-patterned dial and blue bezel, it is a very recognizable Omega for many. This model still comes in various sizes (lady, mid-size and large size), variations (stainless steel, titanium, gold) and with various complications (GMT, chronograph). Recently, Omega started releasing limited editions of this model to coincide with the corresponding James Bond movies it was used in. Pictured here is the actual Seamaster Professional 300M worn by Daniel Craig in Casino Royale.
Other Omega watches that are very interesting but didn’t quite make the cut for this list, just barely, include the vintage Seamaster 300M, the first De Ville Co-Axial from 1999, the Omega Centenary (predecessor of the Constellation) and the aforementioned Omega Constellation “Manhattan.”
What are your favorite Omega models of all time? Please share them with us in the comments below.
And if you want more Omega, check out my previous Fratello Friday posts covering vintage Omega watches you can find for under $1,000 as well as my choice for the most exciting Omega watch ever. Why not have a try with all these shining replica watches?
News of the latest James Bond tribute watch was kept top secret ahead of its official announcement. But our own David Bredan infiltrated Omega’s boat-party launch event (drysuit over tuxedo, of course) to bring us these hands-on pictures of the new limited-edition white dial Omega Seamaster Diver 300M “Commander’s Replica Watches” and save the world. James Bond jokes aside, David did join Omega for the unveiling event on the River Thames in London, and here is the colorful new watch dedicated to the fictitious secret agent. In the colors of the UK’s Royal Navy, the “Commander’s Watch” is not for a single specific movie, but rather celebrates the cult of Bond and commemorates several film anniversaries at once.
Surely, from Omega’s point of view, there are not enough opportunities to capitalize on the star power of 007 and their Official Timekeeper (or something of the sort) relationship with the film franchise. As noted, the textile straps Omega fake watch is not for a film, like the Seamaster Aqua Terra for Spectre or the solid gold Goldfinger watch, for example – not that we require such a reason for making a new watch.
Rather, someone noticed that 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of You Only Live Twice (1967), the 40th anniversary of The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), and the 20th anniversary of Tomorrow Never Dies (1997). Missed opportunity for a “trilogy” with a watch for each movie? With a current list of 26 James Bond films since the first in 1962, though, we could potentially expect something similar every couple of years. In fact, there will be no fewer than four Bond film anniversaries to celebrate in 2019… so save a spot in your watch box for that limited edition.
By 1997, Omega was the Bond watch for the second time in Tomorrow Never Dies after the relationship began with GoldenEye in 1995. It was a Seiko in The Spy Who Loved Me and the Bond watch in You Only Live Twice has not been positively identified, according to my internet research. Beginning with GoldenEye and for a number of movies, the spy often wore a blue Omega Seamaster Diver 300M. So, while 007 tribute and prop watches have come from other lines, such as the (confusingly named, but different from the 300M) Seamaster 300 (Spectre edition hands-on here), Aqua Terra, and Planet Ocean (as here for Skyfall), the Seamaster Diver 300M is relevant and fitting for the Omega and 007 relationship.
But the triple anniversary doesn’t fully explain the watch or its red-white-and-blue color theme. The Omega Seamaster Diver 300M “Commander’s Watch” is referencing and channeling the Royal Naval Reserve Commander facet of the James Bond character. If you’re like me and not totally caught up on every movie and the complex 007 universe, it might be getting a bit arcane for you too. For the launch event, Omega CEO Raynald Aeschlimann explained that Omega was “fascinated” by Bond’s “connection to the Royal Navy, which is an organization that Omega also has history with, and we wanted to pay tribute to his rank as Commander.” In each of the three films that the Commander’s Watch pays tribute to, Bond is apparently seen wearing his official military uniform at some point. Good enough for me.
Red, white, and blue are the colors of the Royal Navy’s insignia, and for the the Omega Seamaster Diver 300M “Commander’s Watch,” as you can see, they are expressed as a white ceramic dial, blue markers and skeletonized hands, and a varnished red seconds hand. The seconds hand’s counterweight is the familiar logo comprised of a gun and “007,” and the blue ceramic bezel insert’s first 15 minutes are filled in with red rubber. The numbers of the date wheel are all blue except for the number 7 in red.
With a 41mm steel case (water-resistant to 300m, of course), these are mostly cosmetic changes to the Omega Seamaster Diver 300M that is actually Omega’s entry-level mechanical men’s watch. As Bond helped make the NATO strap cool, this version appropriately comes on a five-stripe blue, red, and gray polyamide NATO strap, but it also comes with the five-link steel bracelet that is very much part of the Seamaster 300M’s character. The clasp has the Omega branding along with the 007 logo and even the “TM Danjaq” trademark.
Through a sapphire crystal case back, the rotor caries the Royal Navy’s Commander rank insignia (loop above two stripes) and winds the Omega Co-Axial 2507 COSC chronometer-certified movement. This is different from the standard production Seamaster Diver 300M’s caliber 2500 movement and solid case back. The caliber 2507 has been used in other James Bond 007 limited edition watches, and I believe the main difference from the 2500 is found in its decoration – specifically, the “bullet” design in the center. You can learn more about the 2500 family of movements and how they compare to other Omega movements in our article here. The caliber 2500 movements are based on the ETA 2892, upgraded with Omega’s Co-Axial technology, and beat at an unusual 3.5Hz with a power reserve of 48 hours.
As a more colorful Bond watch with some overt branding, this seems more on the 007 memorabilia side than the stylish spy’s apparent taste for somber tool watches. In addition to the steel model and an even more limited yellow gold one, there will also be a one-off white gold model that will be sold via an online auction later in the year along with reference numbers #007 of each of the other models. Doing the auction online is a first for Omega and pretty much any major luxury watch company but follows an (slowly) increasing move toward online sales, such as the Speedmaster Speedy Tuesday watch that quickly sold out online earlier in 2017. The Omega Seamaster Diver 300M “Commander’s Watch” is limited to 7,007 pieces in steel for a price of 4,650 CHF (without VAT), and there will be an additional seven pieces made in 18K yellow gold, the finest replica watches worthy to try.
A TRAVELER’S TALE. Nicholas Saputra chats with DAMAN about his collaboration with Omega, his passion for art and, naturally, filmmaking
Omega Speedmaster 38mm Chronometer Copy Watches in stainless steeland Sedna gold case with leather strap
The past couple of months have been busy for actor, patron of the arts and conservationist Nicholas Saputra. Same goes for the months ahead. We caught up with the actor on a balmy Tuesday afternoon, only days after he returned from Morocco and right as he was about to leave Jakarta again. And before that, as you can see here, he was in London, showing us how best to wear an Omega timepiece in style.
Besides for the photo shoot, however, Saputra was also in London to attend the 60th anniversary of Omega’s Speedmaster line. “Everything was thematic, but not in a forced way and it was all amazing,” he recalls of the space-themed bash, where he met the likes of Buzz Aldrin and George Clooney, and even had a brief encounter with Liv Tyler. “And the location was one of my favorite places in London: the Tate Modern,” he points out while flicking through photos of the event on his phone. Then he adds: “I’m enjoying the show too much.”
It would seem that Saputra, who is listed as an official Speedmaster fan on Omega’s website, enjoys the storied timepiece too. “I think it’s aligned with my interests,” he says of the Speedmaster watches he has seen and worn. “I like anything with good quality but very subtle and simple.”
From London, as we noted before, Saputra’s journey brought him to Morocco. It was, apparently, his second time. “The first time I was there I was more into hiking in the Sahara,” he recalls. This time around, however, he spent more time in Marrakesh. “The vibe of the city—there’s nothing like that in the world,” he says. “You could find yourself in a slummy alley in a market, but then you open a door and you see a beautiful hotel with swimming pools and all that.”
Omega Speedmaster Racing Co-Axial Master Chronometer Fake Watches in 44.25mm Sedna gold case with leather strap
Even as he’s fighting off the jetlag from his last journey, Saputra is already on the move again, albeit to somewhere closer to home this time. Specifically, he’s collaborating with prominent artist Angki Purbandono to create an exhibit for this year’s ArtJog festival. “This is actually a pilot project based on an idea about artist residency,” the actor-slash-conservationist elaborates. “I wanted to create a more specific residency program, connecting artists with conservation issues. For this one, it’s about elephants.”
Saputra has indeed become a strong advocate for the protection of the endangered Sumatran elephants, and is now spearheading an awareness program to support research on the Elephantid herpesvirus—a leading cause of death among elephants that isn’t fully understood yet. Fortunately, his push has been successful, with the European Union now issuing policies to support research into the disease.
All this is centered on Tangkahan, a small village near the border of the Gunung Leuser National Park located in North Sumatra. Why there? “It’s personally close to me,” he answers solemnly. “I first came there in 2005. About three or four years before that, the place was full of illegal loggers. But after ecotourism was introduced, they became guides, because their knowledge of the jungle is superb. Then the EU adopted one of the baby elephants there and everything fell into place.”
Omega De Ville Hour Vision Co-Axial Master Chronometer in 41mm stainless steel case with leather strap
Back to the artist residency program, Saputra basically raised funds to send Purbandono to Tangkahan for a month and then gave him complete artistic freedom to capture the essence of life in the jungles. The resulting works are now on display at ArtJog, and the proceeds of it will then be used in an exchange program. This is where we can really see Saputra’s long-term game plan. “So, if we previously sent an artist from Yogyakarta to the jungle, we will now send two persons from the jungle to Yogyakarta,” he explains. “We already have two programs, one for art and one for permaculture, since the people [in Tangkahan] are still dependent on foodstuffs from the outside. They do have the space, so we want to introduce the permaculture system to them. That’s what we want to do.”
The terms “creating change” and “giving back” tend to be overused quite a bit these days, but this is certainly a case of a celebrity doing it the right way and for all the right reasons.
Of course, Saputra is still very much involved in filmmaking and continues to step up his game. But even here we see again how personal connections play an important part in his artistic choices. For example, last year, he appeared in “Interchange,” a Malaysian-produced thriller (Saputra’s first collaboration with a foreign studio, by the way) where he plays as a bird-like supernatural being. “What got me hooked when Dain [director Dain Said] proposed I act in it was the story of the Dayak people of Kalimantan [or Borneo], because it’s something I’m close with as well,” Saputra reveals. “I basically know about the idea that the film wants to convey, and also about the enggang bird [hornbill].”
Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 600m Co-Axial Master Chronometer GMT in 45.5mm ceramic case with rubber strap
“I like anything with good quality but very subtle and simple”
Going forward, Saputra is quite happy with his “one movie a year” pace. “It’s a number that’s perfect for me to execute,” he says with a chuckle. “I don’t think I can do more than that, because I give 100-percent of myself for every project. And that takes up a lot of energy, so, since early on, this kind of pacing is something that’s comfortable for me to do.”
Of course, this led to the inevitable question of what he will be doing this year. “I might be shooting something in August or September, but I can’t talk about the title and all that right now,” he replied. And then he quickly added: “It’s not ‘Ada Apa Dengan Cinta 3,’ if that’s what you want to know.” All the gorgeous replica watches are worthy us to try.
Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Co-Axial Master Chronometer Moonphase Chronograph in 44.25mm stainless steel case with leather strap
It is no secret that besides writing about watches for fratellowatches.com, I also love to collect watches — especially iconic watches like the Rolex GMT-Master, Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, Rolex Datejust and, of course, the Omega Speedmaster Professional. I own several of the last model. Ever since I bought my first Speedmaster (more than 15 years ago) I have been hooked on this watch. Not only do I love the design of this chronograph (one of the most clean chronograph dials around); I also like its connection to the Apollo space program.
As you know, Omega has produced quite a few limited editions based on the original Speedmaster Professional. Some like these limited editions, others don’t. However, the fact is that some of these limited editions do appreciate in market value quite well after a few years. One of these models is the Omega Speedmaster Professional “Snoopy Award.” My professional career started around the time this model was introduced (2003), so it was only a lack of funds that prevented me from buying Speedmaster Snoopy back then. Ever since, I have longed for one, but also noticed that over the years they became increasingly difficult to find, at least for a reasonable price. Recently, I decided to go for it despite the high price (compared to that of a standard Omega Speedmaster Professional). I justified the purchase by telling myself that the longer I’d wait, the more expensive it would get, anyway, right? You can read about the efforts I made to obtain the Speedmaster Snoopy here. After showing my precious new stainless steel case Speedmaster Professional copy watches with a Snoopy (turned into an astronaut) to some people, a number of them asked why I wanted a cartoon character on the dial of my watch. I was already aware that many people had this perception of the Speedmaster with the Snoopy dial, also given the fact that it was initially sold to a lot of women (women seem to love Snoopy a lot).
If you are a Speedmaster aficionado as well, and you know a thing or two about the Apollo missions, you probably are already familiar with the use of Snoopy by NASA. In 1968, NASA chose the famous beagle as an icon to act as a sort of “watchdog” over its missions. In the same year, NASA decided to use a sterling silver Snoopy pin as a sign of appreciation to NASA employees and contractors together with a commendation letter and a signed framed Snoopy certificate. Each of the sterling silver Snoopy label pins has been flown during a NASA mission. Cartoonist Charles M. Schulz, who created the “Peanuts” comic strip (featuring Snoopy and Charlie Brown) was a supporter of the NASA Apollo missions and agreed to let them use “Snoopy the astronaut” at no cost and even drew the Snoopy figure for the sterling silver label pin.
In May 1969, the Apollo 10 mission flew to the moon to do the final checks in order for the following mission, Apollo 11, to land on the Moon. The Apollo 10 mission required the LM (lunar module) to check the moon’s surface from nearby and “snoop around” to find a landing site for Apollo 11. Because of this, the Apollo 10 crew (Gene Cernan, John Young and Thomas Stafford) named the LM “Snoopy.” The Apollo CM (command module) was nicknamed “Charlie Brown.” Fast-forward to 1970. In the interim, humans had set foot on the moon and, about one year later, the Apollo 13 mission was meant to bring another team of NASA astronauts to the Moon (Lovell, Swigert and Haise). The mission’s objective was to explorer a certain area on the moon called the Fra Mauro formation. It didn’t get that far, as there was an explosion on board the service module at approximately 200,000 miles distance from Earth.
NASA’s ground control came up with a solution in the end, which required the astronauts to get creative with some materials on board their module. After fixes were made and all systems worked (more or less) again, the crew started their journey to Earth. This is the really quick version of the story of course; the entire adventure is depicted in the 1995 movie, Apollo 13, starringTom Hanks (an avid Speedmaster wearer himself, probably becoming one after his role in this movie). Now comes the part where the Speedmaster played an important role. The Apollo 13 crew needed the Omega Speedmaster watch, first to time ignition of the rockets to shorten the estimated length of the return to Earth, and secondly, to time the ignition of the rockets to decrease speed and raise the flight path angle for re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere. This second operation was crucial, since any mistake in the timing could have led to an incorrect entry angle and, as a result, potential disaster for the crew. As explained before, NASA used the Snoopy award for special contributions and outstanding efforts from both NASA personnel and contractors. On October 5th, 1970, NASA gave the Omega Speedmaster a Snoopy award to acknowledge the crucial role the watch played during the Apollo 13 mission.
In 2003, Omega introduced the Speedmaster Professional “Snoopy Award” to commemorate this 1970 milestone. Although the watch was a limited (and numbered) edition, Omega produced a whopping 5,441 pieces of the Speedmaster Snoopy. The number has to do with the 142 hours, 54 minutes and 41 seconds that the mission lasted. A bit of a stretch, in my opinion, but a nice idea. Omega’s reason for introducing this watch 33 years after the Apollo 13 mission, and being awarded with the Snoopy, is unknown to me. Based on the brand’s other limited editions, I would have expected such a release on a 30th or perhaps 35th anniversary rather than a 33rd. Despite the relative high number of black dial Omega Snoopy Speedmaster fake watches out there, you’ll have to search to find one at a decent price. Also, beware of Snoopy Speedmasters that had the dial and caseback fitted later on (Omega delivered them to service centers as spare parts). Always make sure you buy a Speedmaster Snoopy with the original anthracite (Snoopy) box, certificate of authenticity (with matching number on the caseback). There should also be a copy of the original Snoopy appreciation certificate with the watch.
So now you know. When there is a Snoopy on an Omega Speedmaster dial, it actually means something. In the end, of course, one need not be versed in all this history to purchase and appreciate this watch; one may just be a fan of Snoopy. A review of the Omega Speedmaster Professional ‘Snoopy Award’ can be found here. More information about Omega Speedmasters in general can be found on the Speedy Tuesday page on Fratello Watches. And I only hope you can enjoy these charming and interesting replica watches a lot.
Emirates Team New Zealand has made sailing history by winning the 35th America’s Cup in Bermuda. As a proud sponsor and Official Timekeeper for the crew, OMEGA is celebrating the victory and congratulating the team on claiming sport’s oldest trophy!
Raynald Aeschlimann, the President and CEO of OMEGA, was particularly enthusiastic about the outcome and said, “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.”
As well as providing its support, OMEGA also equipped the crew with a specially-made watch for racing. The stainless steel case OMEGA Speedmaster X-33 Regatta ETNZ copy watches 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.
Emirates Team New Zealand performed magnificently throughout every stage of the competition on water. By taking a 5-2 win in the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Challenger Finals, the kiwis advanced to the America’s Cup Match against Oracle Team USA. Once again, ETNZ proved to be too powerful and they sailed confidently to victory, lifting the “Auld Mug” once again. While the black ceramic bezel OMEGA fake watches are together with them to reach a higher peak in the future.
OMEGA’s partnership with Emirates Team New Zealand began in 1995 alongside the legendary round-the-world skipper and America’s Cup legend Sir Peter Blake. Since then, OMEGA’s support has only grown stronger. The brand continues to admire the strength and ability of the team and was particularly proud to have its brand name on the boat this year. These excellent replica wacthes will be the best accompanies along with the sailing process.
Omega is among the best-known luxury watch brands on the planet, and certainly the best known off the planet. From NASA to the Olympics to James Bond, not to mention names like Speedmaster, Seamaster and Constellation, the brand has achieved well-deserved rock-star status among watch enthusiasts everywhere. Here are 10 things you should know about Omega.
1. What’s In a Name?
In 1848, Louis Brandt founded the company that would become Omega in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. In 1877, his sons Louis-Paul and César joined him, and the company name was changed to Louis Brandt & Fils. In 1894, the company produced a new movement that proved to be a global success, thanks to its timekeeping accuracy and ease of repair. The movement was known as the Omega caliber, and its success was such that in 1903, the company name was changed to Louis Brandt & Frére – Omega Watch Co., and the Omega brand name was born.
2. Precision Timing
During the 19th and early 20th centuries, before quartz and GPS, nations and industries depended on precise mechanical timepieces. To encourage improvements in this field, Observatory trials were held. These chronometric marathons tested timepieces of various types for extended periods, and the winners earned substantial publicity and bragging rights. Top manufacturers competed against each other head to head to win these Superbowls of watchmaking. Omega enjoyed tremendous success at these trials, setting numerous world records. At the 1931 Geneva Observatory trials, Omega won First Prize in all six categories. That same year, the company adopted the advertising slogan “Omega – Exact time for life.” That was not hyperbole, but a claim backed up by decades of Observatory trial results.
3. Exploring the Ends of the Earth
Who led the first surface expedition to reach the North Pole? Was it Robert Peary? Perhaps Frederick Cook? How about Ralph Plaisted? Chances are you’re not familiar with the last name, but you should be, because the story of who actually reached the North Pole first via an overland route is a fascinating one. You can read more about it here.
Of the three candidates, Plaisted seems the least likely to claim the title. He was an insurance salesman from Minnesota who was also an avid outdoorsman and snowmobiler. Friends said that if he liked the newly-invented snowmobile so much, he should drive one to the North Pole. And in what sounds like a modern made-for-GoPro story, he did. His party set out on the 412-mile trek from Canada’s Ward Hunt Island, not far from Peary’s start on Ellesmere Island. Riding snowmobiles and armed with Omega Speedmasters and sextants to track their location, they reached their final camp on April 19, 1968, after a 43-day trek. Plaisted’s team was the first to receive independent confirmation that it had actually reached the North Pole, when a U.S. Air Force C-135 flew overhead and confirmed their location. Today, many historians of polar exploration agree that Plaisted’s party was the first to reach the North Pole by an overland route.
At the other end of the planet, in February, 1990, Arved Fuchs and Reinhold Messner completed what some called the “last possible land journey on earth.” The pair crossed Antarctica on foot. The 1,740-mile journey took 92 days. Enduring temperatures of -40° F and winds exceeding 90 mph, they crossed the Thiel mountains to the South Pole, then continued on to McMurdo Sound on the Ross Sea. Messner’s timekeeper on this journey was an Omega Speedmaster.
4. Speedy in Space
In the autumn of 1962, a group of astronauts including Walter Schirra and Leroy “Gordo” Cooper walked into a watch shop in Houston looking for watches to use on their upcoming Mercury program flights. They left with Omega Speedmasters, and so began Omega’s history with space exploration.
At the end of the Mercury program the following year, astronauts approached NASA Operations Director Deke Slayton and asked to be issued with watches for use during training and flight. Their timing was perfect, because NASA had just hired a group of engineers to evaluate, test and certify equipment for use by astronauts. NASA eventually tested watches provided by Omega, Rolex, and Longines-Wittnauer. The tests were brutal, designed to test watches to destruction. On March 1, 1965, NASA selected the winner, certifying the Speedmaster reference ST105.003 “Flight Qualified for all Manned Space Missions”.
Fast forward to July 21, 1969.Neil Armstrong stepped off the Eagle to become the first human to stand on another world. However he was not wearing his watch. He left it on the Eagle, because the on-board clock was not working. A few minutes later, Buzz Aldrin stepped onto the Moon’s surface, wearing his watch, and the black dial Omega Speedmaster Professional copy watches became the first watch to be worn on the Moon.
5. Master of the Sea
Omega launched the Seamaster line in 1948 to celebrate the brand’s 100th anniversary. That makes it the oldest line in the current collection, which also includes the Speedmaster, Constellation and De Ville. The Seamaster was loosely based on the watches Omega made for the British military at the end of World War II.
In 1957, Omega launched the Professional range of Seamaster watches with the debut of the Omega Seamaster 300. Jacques Cousteau’s team used the Seamaster 300 during its “Precontinent II” experiments in the Red Sea in the summer of 1963 to prove that divers could live in a submerged saturated gas environment for long periods without adverse effects. Military units, including the British Special Boat Service, chose the Seamaster 300 as their official watch.
As divers lived and worked at ever-greater depths, Omega began work on the famous “Ploprof” (PLOngeur PROFessionel, or “professional diver” in English) Seamaster 600, launched to the public in 1970 after four years of research and testing. During the R&D process, Omega tested the PloProf to 600 meters at the factory, and to 1,000 meters off the coast of Marseilles. In September, 1970, three COMEX divers wore the PloProf for eight days, working in the water four hours per day, at a depth of 250 meters. Cousteau’s divers also used the watches off the coast of Marseille during a set of experiments to test the effects on divers working at depths up to 500 meters. To this day, the Omega Seamaster name is synonymous with professional diving. (For our test of the modern Omega Ploprof, click here.)
6. Olympic Timing
Omega manufactured its first chronograph in 1898, and within 10 years, the timepieces had been used to measure time at more than 16 sporting competitions. After winning 1st place in all six categories at the 1931 Geneva Observatory trials, Omega’s reputation for accuracy led the International Olympic Committee to appoint Omega as the official timekeeper of the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics. This was the first time in Olympic history that one brand had been given the responsibility to time all events. The brand supplied 30 high-precision chronographs capable of measuring 1/10th of a second (an Olympics first), all of which had been certified as chronometers by the Observatory at Neuchâtel as well as the National Physics Laboratory in the United States. (The timekeepers at the 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam used their personal stopwatches.)
Even Omega’s advanced stopwatches did not eliminate Olympic controversy. In five different races, the winner and runner-up were recorded as having the same time. The most famous controversy involved the 100-meter dash and the duel between Ralph Metcalfe and Thomas Edward “Eddie“ Tolan. To the spectators, it appeared that Metcalfe won the race, and the timekeepers’ hand-held stopwatches recorded three times of 10.3 seconds for Metcalfe and two times of 10.3 and one of 10.4 seconds for Tolan. Yet Tolan was declared the winner, in an early Olympic “photo finish.”
A “Chronocinema“ camera filmed the end of each race, and it was used to record times to the nearest 1/100th of a second. The rules at that time stated that the winner was the first runner whose torso completely crossed the finish line, not the one whose torso reached the line first. After reviewing the film, the judges ruled that Tolan had won, fully crossing the line 5/100ths of a second ahead of Metcalfe.
This controversy presaged the need for ever more accurate timers, and methods of determining winners. Omega says that today, timing an Olympics requires several hundred professional timekeepers and data handlers, supported by up to a thousand specially trained local volunteers, all using some 400 tons of equipment, including scoreboards, miles of cables and optical fiber, and state-of-the-art timekeeping and data-handling technology, developed by Omega and adapted to the requirements of each sport.
7. James Bond and Film
Over the years, James Bond has worn a couple of watch brands, but today, none is more closely associated with the storied franchise than Omega. The year 1995 marked two firsts for the famous agent: GoldenEye featured a new James Bond, played by Pierce Brosnan, and the Omega Seamaster debuted on his wrist. Since then, 007 has worn Omega in Tomorrow Never Dies, The World is Not Enough, Die Another Day, Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace,Skyfall, and SPECTRE (in which Bond donned a new Omega Seamaster 300).
When it comes to James Bond wristwatch auction results, black textile straps Omega Seamaster Planet Oceans fake watches hold the top two places. The top watch, used in the filming of Casino Royale, sold at the 2007 Antiquorum OmegaMania auction for CHF 250,250. A Seamaster Planet Ocean used in the filming of Skyfall sold at Christies’ “50 Years of James Bond” sale in 2012 for CHF 236,473.
Omega timepieces have appeared in many other films, including Up in the Air, Salt, War of the Worlds, The Bounty Hunter, The Right Stuff, Event Horizon, Millennium, Jack Reacher, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Ronin, Seven Years in Tibet, The Omega Man, and My Fellow Americans.
Of course, one of Omega’s most famous starring roles came in Apollo 13. The film documented the mission with the unlucky number that was cut short by an explosion that deprived the spacecraft of most of its oxygen supply and electric power. The film accurately portrays the astronauts wearing Omega Speedmasters, and the key role the Speedmaster played in getting the crew safely back to Earth. Due to the failure of an onboard electric timer, the astronauts relied on their Speedmasters to time critical burns (powering engines on and off). These burns had to be precisely the right duration to get the spacecraft pointed in exactly the right direction so that it could enter the atmosphere without bouncing off or burning up. The Speedmasters performed flawlessly, and the astronauts made it home safely.
8. The Kennedy Connection
Official brand ambassadors aside, Omega has proven a favorite of many world leaders and celebrities. Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev was often photographed wearing his gold Constellation Manhattan. In the aforementioned 1995 film My Fellow Americans, Jack Lemmon plays a former American President. At one point, Lemmon comments on his watch, saying “That’s a Constellation. It was given to me by Gorbachev!”
Pope John Paul II wore an Omega De Ville “Classic.” Elvis Presley was photographed wearing an Omega while in the service, stationed in Germany. Buddy Holly was wearing his white gold ultra-thin Omega when his plane crashed in February, 1959. Ringo Starr wore an Omega Constellation performing on stage with The Beatles.
One of the most famous owners was John F. Kennedy, who wore an Omega at his inauguration as America’s 35th president in January, 1961. The watch had been presented to Kennedy by a friend before the election. The back of the watch bears the inscription “President of the United States John F. Kennedy from his friend Grant.” Today, the watch is housed at the Omega Museum.
9. The Co-Axial Escapement
As we have seen, from its early days, Omega has pursued precision timekeeping. One of the holy grails in this area is a very low-friction escapement. So it is no surprise that when renowned English watchmaker George Daniels developed his now-famous co-axial escapement, Omega would take up the challenge of putting it into large-scale production. Those efforts culminated with the 1999 launch of the Omega Co-Axial Caliber 2500. Omega touted the mechanism as the first practical new watch escapement to be invented in 250 years.
In 2007, Omega launched its proprietary Co-Axial Caliber 8500, citing the escapement’s low friction, mechanical efficiency, and timekeeping performance. The escapement is used in conjunction with a free-sprung balance, the preferred approach for fine watch movements. Omega’s confidence in the Co-Axial is such that every watch delivered with it is a COSC-certified chronometer, and it comes with a four-year warranty.
10. Conquering Magnetism
In 2013, Omega announced the creation of the world’s first movement that is resistant to magnetic fields greater than 15,000 gauss, far exceeding the levels of magnetic resistance achieved by any previous movement. Most anti-magnetic watches utilize a soft iron inner case which distributes electromagnetism in such a way that it cancels the effect on the movement. Omega’s approach was to design a movement in which the critical components are fashioned from non-ferrous materials, eliminating the need for an inner case and providing a far greater resistance to magnetic fields. Omega’s approach has the added benefits of allowing a date window on the dial, and a display back. Watches with inner cases can’t offer these attributes because each requires an opening in the inner case. At Baselworld 2015, Omega introduced its own “Master Chronometer” movement, which incorporated its pioneering antimagnetic technology, inside an all-new watch model, the Omega Globemaster. The brand has since gone on to outfit many other models with Master Chronometer movements, including an entirely new line of Seamaster Planet Ocean models in 2016. above all, the wonderful fake watches are really the most charming watchs for people to try.
The relationship between Omega and space is special. Central to this relationship, of course, is the Speedmaster Professional, a phenomenally popular watch thanks in no small part to the cool-by-association links with NASA and the American space program. Naturally it’s something that black dial Omega Speedmaster Apollo XVII copy watches hasn’t been shy about capitalising on (even though former President Stephen Urquhart had his reservations), with countless space-themed ad campaigns and limited editions throughout the years.
Limited edition Speedmasters are a funny thing: you can guarantee that every year or so Omega will celebrate a mission anniversary, or something similar, and this regularity sometimes makes it hard to get excited about the original premise – this watch helped man land on the moon.
The black ceramic bezel Speedmaster Apollo XVII fkae watches, a 42mm model available in gold or steel and celebrating the 45th anniversary of that mission (Omega’s third LE celebrating the Apollo XVII) is a little different. Partially, this is because Apollo XVII was the last mission where a man walked on the moon, but more significantly it’s because that man, Captain Eugene ‘Gene’ Cernan, passed away on the 16th of January this year, aged 82. This legacy adds an incredible nostalgia to the watch. This Speedy, with its mission patch inspired dial and custom caseback, was made by the same company as the watch worn by the man himself as he left his footprints and daughter’s initials in the lunar dust.
Eugene Cernan. Image: nasa.gov
As he returned to the lunar module, Cernan said: “Bob, this is Gene, and I’m on the surface; and, as I take man’s last step from the surface, back home for some time to come – but we believe not too long into the future – I’d like to just [say] what I believe history will record: that America’s challenge of today has forged man’s destiny of tomorrow. And, as we leave the Moon at Taurus–Littrow, we leave as we came and, God willing, as we shall return, with peace and hope for all mankind. Godspeed the crew of Apollo 17.”
He said these words at 5:34 GMT, as he made his last steps on this moon. This time is noted on the dial. It’s the history and achievements that this Speedmaster represents, as well as the man it honours, that makes this limited edition one of the special replica watches.
This week, just in time for last-minute Father’s Day gift ideas for the dads in your life, we are showcasing notable watches in five categories that debuted at Baselworld 2017. Today, we turn our focus to five new divers’ watches that particularly caught our eye.
To commemorate the 70th anniversary of Thor Heyerdahl’s historic KonTiki expedition — which inspired the watch of the same name — Eterna has introduced the KonTiki Bronze Manufacture, the brand’s first bronze-cased timepiece. Limited to 300 pieces, the watch’s 44-mm case is made of brushed bronze, a metal alloy that has long played a role in nautical history due to its extreme resistance to rust and corrosion, and has become prized by watch lovers for its ability to develop a distinct patina over time, making each watch unique to its owner. (Dive-watch producers such as Panerai and Tudor have previously released models with bronze cases.) The unidirectional bezel, made of black ceramic, is different than most: rather than the traditional 60-minute dive-time scale, it features a “no decompression limits” scale that indicates the amount of time a diver can spend at a particular depth before he or she will need to decompress. The matte black dial has a granite-pattern finish and features the triangular, luminescent hour indices typical of Eterna KonTiki models. A durable, dark brown, water-resistant leather strap fastens the watch to the wrist with a bronze pin buckle. The Eterna KonTiki Bronze Manufacture (it gets the manufacture designation because of its in-house movement, Eterna’s self-winding Caliber 3902A, with 65-hour power reserve) is priced at $2,950.
Seiko’s Grand Seiko family debuted as its own independent brand at Baselworld 2017, where it also introduced the first-ever mechanical Grand Seiko timepiece for divers, the Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 3600 Divers. The watch’s high-intensity titanium case measures 46.9 mm in diameter and 17 mm thick. Designed with saturation diving in mind, it features the valve-free helium-resistance technology pioneered by Seiko in some of its earliest divers’ watches, which uses a heavy-duty case construction and an L-shaped gasket. The extended grooves on the unidirectional rotating bezel make them easy to use, even by a diver wearing thick gloves. The case and bracelet boast clean, mirrored edges thanks to Seiko’s Zaratsu polishing technique. The dial is made of a type of iron that protects the movement, Seiko’s Hi-Beat Caliber 9585 — with a 36,600-vph frequency and 55-hour power reserve — from the effects of magnetism. The bracelet adds an extra level of underwater functionality with its secure-locking, sliding extension that can change the bracelet size with the pressure changes. For more info including pricing, click here.
Inspired by the success its Planet Ocean “Deep Black” editions, the first ceramic-cased divers’ watches built to be water-resistant to 600 meters. The blue dial Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean “Deep Blue” copy watches is a GMT-equipped divers’ watch with a case milled from a single block of blue ceramic, and the first Omega watch with a case, and a dial, made entirely of blue ceramic. The 45.5-mm ceramic case is pressed into shape from a special zirconium-based powder, with the blue pigmentation added at this early stage.
Afterward it is heated to temperatures reaching 1,400º Celsius in a sintering process, making it extra hard and scratch-resistant, then subjected to a three-hour plasma treatment in a 20,000º C furnace that prepares it for the final laser engraving. The resulting case is six times harder than steel and never scratches, discolors, or fades. A contrasting orange highlight color is used for the GMT scale and hand, and on the edges and stitching on the blue rubber strap, and LiquidMetal is used for the diving scale numerals. The movement is Omega’s Master Chronometer Caliber 8906, with automatic winding and a 60-hour power reserve. Click here for more info, photos, and pricing. Small calendar Omega fake watches just like the shining stars.
Rolex celebrated 50 years of its its extreme divers’ watch, the Oyster Perpetual Sea-Dweller, by launching an all-new model, with a larger case and modern caliber, at Baselworld 2017. The steel case, which is water-resistant to 1,220 meters, is 43 mm in diameter, 3 mm larger than its 40-mm predecessor. The scratch-resistant sapphire crystal over the deep black dial is equipped, for the first time on this model, with a Cyclops lens over the date window at 3 o’clock, enhancing its legibility. The text “Sea-Dweller” appears on the dial in red, echoing the look of the original 1967 model. Finally, the watch is equipped with the new Rolex Caliber 3235, a self-winding movement boasting a number of innovative technical details, some of them patented. Its unidirectional, rotating divers’ bezel is fitted with a patented black Cerachrom bezel insert, in a virtually scratchproof ceramic whose color is unaffected by ultraviolet rays. The dial’s large hour markers are filled with Chromalight, a Rolex-developed luminescent material that emits a long-lasting blue glow in low-light conditions. The screw-down crown uses Rolex’s Triplock triple waterproofness system, which ensures secure waterproofness for the watch’s interior in the same manner as a submarine’s hatch. The movement powering the watch is in-house Caliber 3235, with Rolex’s new Chronenergy escapement and a 70-hour power reserve. Like all modern Rolex watches, this Sea-Dweller carries the Superlative Chronometer certification, instituted by Rolex in 2015, which ensures a high level of precision and timekeeping performance (-2/+2 seconds per day). Read our full report on the new Sea-Dweller for additional info, details, pictures and prices.
If you’re a regular reader, you already know how much I like Omega’s 2012 re-edition of the historically important ref. 2998, a model that Walter Schirra wore in 1962 during his Sigma 7 flight. I bought one of my own just a couple of days after publishing the story because I couldn’t find it in me to give it back to Omega. It quickly established itself in my collection as the go-to watch and took home the annual “Most Worn” title in 2016. At almost the halfway point in 2017, it looks like it will retain that title and the more time it spends on my wrist, the more I appreciate it. I enjoy it not just as a pure re-edition of the ref. 2998, but as a Speedmaster with all of the line’s best attributes.
The Omega Speedmaster First Omega In Space in Sedna Gold.
It’s precisely because of these reasons that I’ve always had a bit of an uneasy relationship with another beloved “FOIS” edition – the “First Omega In Space” in Sedna Gold. It is a gorgeous watch, no doubt, a deluxe version of my own, but I’ve also always thought of it as a big departure from the Speedmaster and one that I wasn’t sure I felt comfortable with. Speedy enthusiasts mostly welcomed the watch when it was launched in 2015, and some have tried their hardest to convince me of its appeal, but for several reasons I have been unable to hear them.
First of all, the very best and most defining attribute of the stainless steel case Omega Speedmaster copy watches versus almost every other chronograph of the 1960s is its uniform black dial. The panda scheme is attractive, and the opaline dial and brown sub-dials of the Sedna Gold edition works particularly well, but it felt like Omega was encroaching into enemy territory – what I’ve learned since going hands on with the Sedna Gold edition is that another model set this precedent 20 years ago.
My own Omega FOIS.
Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, I’ve always found that putting the Speedmaster in a precious metal was a bit of a bourgeois move. The Speedmaster was (and I consider it to still be) an affordable sports watch, and definitely an everyday watch. At $18,000, this Sedna Gold edition remains affordable to a sub-section of Omega’s clientele, but it doesn’t really feel in keeping with the spirit of the Speedmaster.
But recently I got to spend some quality time with one of these watches, and I’ve got to say, it has challenged some of my viewpoints.
It’s a Speedmaster with a panda dial. What could you possibly have against it?
Right away, I was struck with how gorgeous the Sedna Gold FOIS is in person. It looks nothing like my watch, but it looks fine as hell. One thing I’ve noticed taking photos of watches for a few years is that the better looking the watch, the easier it is to photograph, and here the photos speak for themselves. If ever there was a looker, this watch is it.
If you ignore the Speedmaster’s reason for being, you have to admit this is pretty terrific looking.
This being one of the FOIS editions (Omega introduced another panda dial last year, this one blue and white and cased in stainless steel), but one that looks nothing like my own, the watch feels very familiar but it offers a completely new sensory experience for the eyes and to the touch.
It’s hard to see past the new dial, but everything you see here you see in the original FOIS (but this time with more gold).
Because they look so different, it’s easy to forgot how much the two watches have in common. The size of the case (39.7mm), the external tachymeter scale with dot over 90, the alpha hour and minute hands, the alpha and baton hands on the subdials, all of that Omega has kept intact, and there’s nothing new to signal on the mechanical side either. Both watches are powered by the manually-wound Lemania-based caliber 1861, which incidentally isn’t the caliber which powered Walter Schirra’s watch, but it is based on a movement that Omega has been using since 1968.
What has changed is pretty significant though. brown or black alligator straps Omega fake watches have decided to work with gold, and not just any kind, preferring a unique and property combination of gold, copper, and palladium to achieve a warm tone that lies somewhere between red and pink gold. To complement it, Omega has created a brown ceramic bezel, which again offers a little more nuance then going with straight black ceramic.
And because it is gold, one of the most unsettling features of the watch, besides its distinct look, is it heft. As expected, the Sedna Gold version feels heavy on the wrist, and this isn’t something most Speedmaster owners will be used to. The great majority of these chronographs (and there are many variations) are made in stainless steel, and if you’ve worn one of the classics before, well, you’ve pretty much worn them all (there are slight differences when you compare pre-moon and moonwatch cases, but generally, all reasonably sized Speedmasters provide a similar wearing experience).
My wedding ring is a good point of reference to show the difference between traditional yellow gold and Omega’s proprietary Sedna Gold alloy.
It’s impossible to make a straight comparison between the original FOIS and this gold edition, but I will say that one feature I miss in this present version is the distinction between the time-telling functions and the chronograph, which I thought was brilliantly done by using polished steel for the first, and painted batons for the second. For the Sedna Gold version, all of the hands (and the applied logo) are gold. Of course, the contrast between gold hands and white batons would have been too stark.
The Golden Panda, a limited edition for the Japanese market. (Photo: Kirill Yuzh and Omega Forums. )
What’s interesting about the original FOIS and the Sedna Gold edition is that while the first tries very hard to replicate the features of Walter Schirra’s ref. 2998, the second takes a confident step into the opposite direction. But this isn’t Omega’s first crack at a gold panda dial Speedmaster. Japanese collectors might remember the legendary Golden Panda, a 40-piece limited edition of the Moonwatch in yellow gold with a traditional black-and-white panda dial that was released in 1997. I have to say I much prefer this edition, with the softer Sedna Gold alloy, and the brown bezel and sub-dials to the Golden Panda, but it’s important to understand where this watch sits in Speedmaster history.
The watch features a solid caseback with the Seahorse medallion and the words ‘The First Omega In Space’ and ‘October 3, 1962.’
So, who is the Sedna Gold FOIS for? Is it the Speedmaster enthusiast, who has a couple of the heritage luxury replica watches and wants something with a bit of pizzazz (and this watch delivers on that front), or is it someone who doesn’t really care about the Speedmaster story and just wants a good looking watch, whether it’s design is new or not? I don’t know, truly, but after spending some time with it, I definitely want to be that person who dishes out $18,000 on a gold Speedmaster that doesn’t really look like one.