Sunday, 14 July 2013

Omega On My Mind ~ 2013 Basel Novelties, An Exhibition in August and the Omega Dark Side of the Moon

Onega Dark Side Of The Moon ~ Ceramic Case and Dial
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first off, my thanks to the fine marketing folks in Omega Singapore for getting these watches to me for this review of some of the 2013 novelties but before getting to that, I would like to inform readers about an Omega Co-Axial exhibition coming to Paragon from Aug 23 to Sep 1 (1030am-8pm) so mark your calendars. Some press release info:

The nine-day exhibition will celebrate the innovative technology found within each of OMEGA’s exquisite mechanical timepieces and give members of the public an opportunity to witness the level of precision involved in creating each component. Invented by the late master watchmaker, Dr. George Daniels, in the 1970s and industrialized by OMEGA’s engineers and technicians in the 1990s, the Co-Axial escapement was a vast improvement on the Swiss lever escapement and addressed the problems of lubrication that had perplexed watchmakers for centuries.

It was the first practical new watch escapement in some 250 years – featuring an intermediary wheel, a double coaxial wheel, an escapement wheel and its components- and signaled a revolution in mechanical watchmaking. OMEGA enthusiasts along with watch connoisseurs will be able to enjoy an informational guided audio tour through the evolution of the escapement from its revolutionizing debut in 1990s, to its integration into present-day OMEGA Co-Axial calibers.  

OMEGA De Ville Co-Axial of 1999, numbered “0” and dedicated by OMEGA “To our friend George Daniels”. That watch represented the industrialization of the Co-Axial escapement and of the technology that has become such an important part of OMEGA’s story.
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Omega Speedmaster that Daniels himself fitted with an early version of the Co-Axial escapement. Daniels had chosen this watch without influence from Omega and had used it to persuade the watch industry to use the new escapement
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OK now to business! the 2013 novelties featured some interesting new additions so here's a quick run down on some of the new watches with a bit more info and comparisons for the speedys which are my fave watches in their range :)
 
first up, ladies first ;) I liked the look of these 2 watches from the 2013 lineup and took some pix of them. wonderful dials and dazzling diamonds make these cool watches for the elegant lady
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Ladymatic with Omega Co-Axial Calibre 8520 Shaded grey supernova pattern on dial... Snow setting 184 diamonds totalling 1.04ct on bezel (Retail: S$21,700)
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Boutique Exclusive De Ville Prestige White MOP with butterfly pattern on 18k gold (Retail: S$36,450)
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 Next up Aqua Terra Annual Calendar in RG and Seamaster Planet Ocean GMT
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Seamaster Planet Ocean GMT ~ OMEGA has committed a portion of the proceeds from its Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M GoodPlanet to fully funding a project to preserve the mangroves and seagrasses in Southeast Asia and educating the local population about the conservation of these important natural resources that are such a critical part of a balanced ecosystem. (Retail: S$10,550)
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Aqua Terra Annual Calendar in RG ~ Heavy Metal! Love the heft of all gold watches even if it will make you walk lop sided :) not sure about practicality but it's a looker in a nice shade of red gold (Retail: S$48,750)
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wrist shot of the good planet
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  Moving on now to the Seamaster Chrono GMTs
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In steel... Omega Co-Axial Calibres 9605, Tech-blue dial with lacquered blue subdials. Rhodium plated indexes, hands and logo (Retail: S$11,850)
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the red gold is really wonderfully executed and the color is very warm with a very rich tone.  (Retail: S$35,700)
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movement shots of the Omega Co-Axial Calibres 9615 ~ "Si14" balance spring on Omega free sprung-balance. 2 barrels mounted in series with 60 hrs of power reserve. NIVACHOC Omega column wheel chronograph mechanism
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I wish more of the movement was visible and not hidden under the well decorated bridges.
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and the main event :) the speedys! meeting up with its older brethren without the co-axial movement... from Left to Right then: 321 speedy pro, 57 speedy, modern speedy pro with the 1861, dark side
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the first thing you notice about the new speedys are that they are bi-compax instead of the three register format of the original Speedy models and that they house the co-axial movement. it does seem that Omega is trying to move more of its production away from non-co-axial movement watches but I do hope they can come out with a tri-compax chrono version so that if they do choose to stop using the non-co-axial movement, the original moonwatch three register dial design will not be phased out. with the bi-compax design, the subdial at 3 o’clock serves as both the 12-hour and 60-minute counter 
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speedmaster 57 and dark side... other differences between a speedy pro moonwatch vs the newer speedys are (1) date vs no date (2) automatic vs hand wound and in the case of the dark side, ceramic vs steel [sufficient differences for a moonwatch owner to buy the dark side perhaps? ;) ]
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Speedmaster 57 with 2 registers. it would seem that the rest of the 57 broadarrow design dna has been retained (Retail: S$11,650)
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57 Speedy etched on the case
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Omega The Dark Side of the Moon ~ The black zirconium oxide ceramic dial, complemented by a matching ceramic 44.25 mm case with a brushed and polished ceramic casebody, features striking 18K white gold applied indexes and hands as well as two blackened sub-dials that distinguish the timepiece from its legendary predecessor, OMEGA’s “Moonwatch”. it also has a matt chromium nitride tachymeter scale and ceramic pushers (Retail: S$15,500)
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omega symbol on the crown as with most models
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engraved on the polished ceramic caseback in matt chromium nitride, above the bevelled scratch-resistant sapphire crystal...
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Zr02 for zirconium oxide can be seen on the middle of the dial so folks know that it's ceramic... and looking at the chrono counter it's running at 1hr 29mins and 45.5seconds ;)
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movement shots... 9300 co-axial same as those found in the other bi-compax Speedys. note this watch does not have a quickset date so to adjust the date u will have to go to the 1hour jump setting and click through the 1 hours for 24 times to change to the next date... not ideal but not winding it through mins and hours...
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the calibre 9300 is equipped with a Si14 silicon balance spring. Silicon is non-magnetic so it is not influenced by magnetic fields. This quality combined with the excellent resilient coefficient of silicon allows the balance springs, which are etched on a silicon wafer, to deliver improved chronometric performance.
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Silicon also has a very low fatigue influence and ages slowly. The outstanding reliability delivered by the combination of Co-Axial technology and the silicon balance spring is such that OMEGA delivers its Co-Axial watches equipped with silicon balance springs with a full four-year warranty.
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The method to create this piece was to carve the case out from a single block of ceramic rather than inject it into a mould. This process is said to take 20 times longer than injection moulding, so production has been limited to 3,000 pieces a year. What this also means is that deliveries to dealers may be slower which may result in some build up demand if folks are fine on the price point and willing to be on waitlists...
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the pic above and below show the interesting look of the dial under different lighting conditions... the case, dial, bezel all reflect light in a very nice way
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 overall a great addition to the speedmaster lineup and a watch that will give current owners of the speedy pause in their consideration for their next sports watch purchase. main pros are that it's a good sized case for a black watch and the ceramic dial and case was done really well. the price point may cause folks to consider other alternatives though(in the black and/or sports chrono range) but if one has their eyes set on an Omega, than this would be a great choice to go with impo.  
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all in all, a good showing from Omega. thanks for making it this far and hope you enjoyed the post ;) cheers, raph

2 comments:

Stefano said...

Omega came out with a strong lineup this year, many nice pieces. For me the star is the Dark Side of the Moon. A unique Speedmaster with impressive high tech materials used for the case, dial, pushers, crown and even the tang buckle. Seems Omega wants to show they are ready for 21st century space missions. If only the list price was more 20th century....sigh

raphael too said...

thanks for your comment Stefano! :) in full agreement that the dark side was their star in the lineup and echo the sentiment on the pricing. cheers

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