Omega’s core collection has steered clear of grand complications and horological fripperies in recent decades.
Not because they couldn’t, and not because they haven’t further back in their history; it it is simply that Omega has been more about master chronometers in mainstream luxury sports watches since the Swiss watch industry’s revival after the quartz crisis.
That has changed today with the unveiling of two exquisite chiming watches that remind us that the world’s very first minute repeater wristwatch was produced by Omega back in 1892.
There is also a nod to the stop watches used at the 1932 Los Angeles 1932 Olympics, Omega’s first year as Official Timekeeper for the Games.
A brand new movement, the Omega Co-Axial Master Chronometer Calibre 1932, has been created for two watches that fully integrate a split second chronograph and minute repeater.
The movement took six years to create, and the combined expertise of Omega and its Swatch Group stablemate Blancpain, to bring to life.
“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,” the company states.
The movement, which is beautifully finished and uses 46.44 grams of gold, combines a split-seconds chronograph with a chiming mechanism that audibly reads out the chronograph’s elapsed time to the nearest second.
Omega is showcasing the Calibre 1932 in two watches that launch this month, The Olympic 1932 Chrono Chime, inspired by the stop watchers of the Los Angeles Games, and Speedmaster Chrono Chime, which the brand amusing describes as an everyday wear chronograph. Given the price of $450,000 for the Speedmaster, it will take some nerve or very deep pockets to wear it every day.
Omega Olympic 1932 Chrono Chime
The Olympic 1932 Chrono Chime comes in 18ct Sedna Gold with a bright white grand feu enamel dial with a silver hand-made guilloché inner bezel and subdials decorated with what Omega describes as an acoustic waves pattern — a visual clue to the watch’s chimes.
It has blued hands made from gold for central hours and minutes, plus for the small seconds and 15 minute subdials. One of the central split seconds chronograph hands is blued, the other is red.
Chiming hammers are exposed, almost cradling the subdial at 6 o’clock.
These gongs, fixed to the case body to produce maximum chime, are a link to the bells used by Omega to signal the final lap in a distance race at the Olympic Games.
It is expected to sell for $420,000.
Omega Speedmaster Chrono Chime
Your everyday option is the 45mm numbered edition Chrono Chime in 18ct gold for its case and bracelet, with its design inspired by the CK 2998, released in 1959 and the first watch worn in space 60 years ago in 1962.
The dial looks almost black, but is actually dark blue aventurine grand feu enamel.
Its golden panda subdials have the same acoustic waves design as the Olympic 1932 edition, with the chiming hammers on the left hand counter.
Hour markers and central hour and minute hands are in diamond-polished gold. Blued CVD subdial hands and a red tipped dial hand bring extra touches of colour to the face.