Despite the unprecedented popularity of the Omega Speedmaster these days (thanks in no small part to the ongoing hype around the Omega x Swatch MoonSwatch collab) there’s much more to Omega than its history as the official timepiece of the Apollo missions.
While models like the new colourful Seamaster Aqua Terra have helped to draw attention to other corners of Omega’s portfolio of late, after rolling out METAS-certified Master Chronometer movements throughout its collection the brand seems intent on re-establishing its image as a maker of leading-edge movements as well. This campaign took a major leap forward recently, as Omega unveiled a pair of complicated chiming watches, seemingly out of the blue. As a bold statement of intent, these two watches provide an interesting glimpse at where Omega is headed and, for a very lucky few, a chance to own one of the brand’s most ambitious creations thus far.
Revealed in Los Angeles with the help of olympian Michael Phelps, the Omega Chrono Chime is said to be inspired by two historic creations: the world’s first minute repeater wristwatch — produced by Omega in 1892 — and the pocket chronographs used to time the Los Angeles 1932 Olympic Games, which marked Omega’s debut as Official Timekeeper. The retro-inspired Olympic 1932 Chrono Chime and the Speedmaster Chrono Chime are both are executed in 18k Sedna gold and powered by the same new calibre. Reportedly 6 years in the making, requiring 17 patents, and containing 45 grams of gold apiece, the Co-Axial Master Chronometer Calibre 1932 is a fully integrated chronograph and minute repeater which was developed in partnership with Swatch Group stablemate Blancpain. A hybrid chronograph and minute repeater, it features a set of hammers attached to the movement which hit a pair of hand-tuned 18K Sedna gold gongs to sound the elapsed time, seconds with a high-pitched ring, minutes with a low-pitched ring, and intervals of ten seconds with a double ring. Check out the demo here to see it in action. Equally impressive, and in keeping with the rest of Omega’s top-tier creations, it’s also a Master Chronometer that’s able to withstand external magnetic fields of 15,000 gauss.
The Olympic 1932 Chrono Chime is a luxurious take on the brand’s 1930s stopwatches, with the aforementioned gold case and a slew of fine details like a “Grand Feu” enamel dial with a hand-made silver guilloché inner bezel and subdials in OMEGA’s unique “exclusive acoustic waves” pattern (which, the brand says, is an exact visual representation of the soundwaves produced by the watch’s chimes. Neat!). The Speedmaster Chrono Chime features a 45mm Sedna gold case inspired by the 2nd generation Speedmaster (aka the first watch worn in space) and is elevated by a blue aventurine “Grand Feu” enamel dial, and gold inner bezel and subdials. And, of course, those beautiful gold hammers proudly displayed at eight and 10.
Released as a numbered edition with an estimated price well over half a million dollars Canadian, these two watches will be produced in highly limited quantities and will set a new bar for luxury at Omega. Their scarcity and price assure that the closest most people will get to one will be ogling the photos on Omega’s website, but that’s by design, too. There, they’ll find the rest of Omega’s diverse model family, including a growing number of Master Chronometer Seamasters and Speedmasters — including ones in Sedna gold – which have never looked like a better value by comparison.