Celebrating its legendary history of precision and the magic of its movements, OMEGA showcases its watchmaking excellence through two of its newest masterpieces.
OMEGA introduces two of its newest masterpieces, the extraordinary Olympic 1932 Chrono Chime and the Speedmaster Chrono Chime, the first a ringing tribute to the exceptional skills of the Swiss brand’s watchmakers, and the second inspired by the second generation Speedmaster, a commemorative piece as the CK 2998 was the first watch worn in space 60 years ago.
The Olympic 1932 Chrono Chime
According to the brand, “This striking new numbered edition links the world’s first minute repeater wristwatch produced by OMEGA in 1892 to the pocket chronographs used to time the Los Angeles 1932 Olympic Games, which marked OMEGA’s debut as Official Timekeeper.”
In a press release, the brand adds: “Many great designs emerged in the transition period between the pocket and wristwatch, and the look of the watch draws its cues from that inventive era.
The movement, however, is the first of its kind. A cutting-edge calibre destined to make its own mark on watchmaking history.
Here is a power source unlike any other. As it was not possible to modify existing components, OMEGA’s watchmakers were compelled to create the calibre from scratch – and by hand.”
To elaborate, the brand shares that OMEGA’s Co-Axial Master Chronometer Calibre 1932 is a fully integrated chronograph and minute repeater and is produced not by layering, tinkering or fitting new parts to old, but by fusing both functions together in one watch movement.
“It is in fact the most complicated calibre OMEGA has ever made. In order for a wearer to chime the elapsed time, safely and seamlessly, it requires its own mechanical “brain” to merge the functions perfectly,” the press release states.
It took six years to complete the 1932 movement, developed with sister company Blancpain, with various challenges in the process. For instance, before beginning the work the watchmakers had to look for a way to expand the existing boundaries of the famous OMEGA Co-Axial escapement, an essential component in all OMEGA movements which was developed by the brilliant Georges Daniels.
The brand explains, “Designed to operate at a relatively standard frequency (between 3 and 4 Hz), it presented a major constraint when developing the new movement, which must beat at 5 Hz to display 1/10th of a second, like the pocket chronographs used to time the Los Angeles 1932 Olympic Games.
In addition, the watchmakers would also have to add three chime cams to the already complicated chronograph mechanism, include two security functions to prevent mal-manipulation, and integrate a split-seconds function. What’s more, to achieve Master Chronometer status, the calibre would have to withstand external magnetic fields of 15,000 gauss, requiring the use of 50 non-ferrous components.”
OMEGA shares, that fortunately, the dedicated technical team thrived on finding solutions, adding that the precision and regularity of OMEGA’s watch parts, and the exceptional skill of its watchmakers “have made the seemingly impossible, possible.”
Creating a calibre from scratch required multiple innovations which is proof of the Chrono Chime’s complexity, which can be seen and counted: OMEGA’s extraordinary invention required up to 17 patents, related to the function of the Calibre 1932, its antimagnetic technology, and the external parts of the watch.
Aside from being a technological marvel, it is a thing of beauty: satin-brushed and mirror polished, it is a luxurious handmade calibre with 46.44 grams of gold that is both easy on the eye and the ear.
The press release also states that the extraordinary 14-ligne Ø 32.5 mm 1932 calibre powers a masterpiece in 18K SednaTM Gold. It has a “Grand Feu” enamel dial, graced with a 925 Silver hand-made guilloché inner bezel and subdials in OMEGA’s unique “exclusive acoustic waves” pattern: an exact visual representation of the sound waves produced by the watch’s chimes.
Beyond being strikingly good looking, the 18K SednaTM Gold produces a beautiful sound when struck. Double hammers, fitted with an insert of hardened steel, hit pitch-perfect 18K SednaTM Gold gongs, hand-tuned by OMEGA’s watchmakers. “These gongs, fixed to the case body to produce maximum chime, are a respectful nod to the bells used by OMEGA to signal the last lap at the Olympic Games and other sporting events. Bronze-age timekeeping technology still in use,” the brand shares.
In addition, the brand explains: “On the dial, the 18K SednaTM Gold central hour/minute hands are in blued PVD, as are the subdial hands on the small seconds at 6 o’clock and 15-minute recorder at 12 o’clock and for easy readability, the display includes a blued CVD central seconds hand and red-varnished split-seconds hand. There is a further tribute to 1932 in the Arabic numerals and minute track in black “Petit Feu” enamel.”
While pushers are primarily functional, in customary OMEGA style, the brand has added an extra touch of elegance, creating the action of timing as an aesthetic experience. The brand explains, “The chime pusher at 5 o’clock sports a charming polished and embossed music note. The split-seconds pusher at 11 o’clock has a polished ring filled in with red hybrid ceramic to mirror the look of the split-seconds hand.”
To be found on the caseback are the beautifully engraved words Official Timekeeper of the Olympic Games, Co-Axial Master Chronometer, as well as the watch’s number. The brown leather strap with 18K SednaTM Gold buckle includes OMEGA’s new Quick-Change patented system, for a very practical reason. The special presentation box includes an additional leather strap and two leather cords, allowing the “timekeeper” to wear it as a discreet pocket watch or a stopwatch around the neck.
Meanwhile, the walnut presentation box thoughtfully features a resonance plate made of spruce to amplify the precise rhythm, tone, harmony and length of each chime.
The Speedmaster Chrono Chime
The Chronograph Chime for everyday wear and for those who prefer their watches fixed firmly to the wrist, OMEGA has presents the Speedmaster powered by the 1932 Calibre. The brand shares, “The classic 45 mm “Numbered Edition” Chrono Chime has an 18K SednaTM Gold case inspired by the 2nd generation Speedmaster, making it a commemorative piece in its own right, as the CK 2998 was the first watch worn in space 60 years ago in 1962.”
In addition, the dial, in blue aventurine “Grand Feu” enamel, features an inner bezel and subdials in the same 18K SednaTM Gold “exclusive acoustic waves” as the Olympic Games tribute. Other noteworthy features include the hour markers and hour/minute hands in diamond-polished 18K SednaTM Gold with blued CVD subdial hands, with a red tipped dial hand adding extra touches of color to the display.
The press release elaborates, “Although the movement is the same for both watches, the functional and decorative pushers are in different positions, with a chime at 8 o’clock and split seconds at 2 o’clock. For the Speedmaster, OMEGA’s ingenious watchmakers turned the calibre around to suit the configuration of the case, accommodating the two subdials. A bracelet and buckle in 18K SednaTM Gold complete the look.
Speedmaster collectors will also receive the special walnut presentation box with resonance plate.
Photos courtesy of OMEGA.