From restaurants and cocktail bars to Broadway shows and museums, it’s never difficult to find a reason to visit New York City. This goes double for anyone with an interest in watches, for whom The Big Apple contains some of the biggest and most impressive retail locations of the world’s top watch brands. Omega has just added another compelling reason to that list in the form of Planet Omega, a new exhibition on display at the Chelsea Factory from November 9th to 19th.
The exhibition is dedicated to Omega’s long and storied history in watchmaking and culture and is filled with pieces that are rarely displayed in public. Condensing the world of Omega watches is no small feat, and the exhibition has been split into five distinctive areas spanning sports, the ocean, James Bond, and – of course – NASA’s space missions.
The first section celebrates Omega’s proud legacy as the Official Timekeeper of the Olympic Games, as well as America’s Cup sailing, professional golf, swimming, and myriad other athletic events. Watches on display include one of the original split-seconds chronographs used to time the Olympic Games in 1932 — a heritage piece that has since become the inspiration for the brand’s recently-released Chrono Chime, which is also on display, and houses the most complex OMEGA movement ever made.
Doing justice to Omega’s seagoing bona fides, the ocean section includes an original 1932 Marine, a little-known piece that is believed to be the first divers’ watch available to civilians. Its double case design was a revolution for its time, and it was the first of many elite diver’s watches to come, most recently the Omega Seamaster “Ultra Deep” watches. The Omega Seamaster Ultra Deep on display illustrates how far the brand has come, with an incredible depth rating of 6,000 meters.
The James Bond section is dedicated to the world’s favourite spy, and the Omega watches he’s worn in every film since 1995’s GoldenEye. Among other noteworthy pieces, visitors are sure to be drawn to the Seamaster Diver 300M 007 Edition from Daniel Craig’s final appearance in No Time To Die, as well as two timepieces crafted for the franchise’s 60th anniversary featuring animations from the famous James Bond opening sequence on their case backs.
The space section pays tribute to the Omega Speedmaster’s role in NASA’s Apollo program, including the first lunar landing of 1969. The story begins with the CK2998 model worn by astronaut Wally Schirra in 1962 aboard the Mercury Sigma 7 mission and known as the first Omega worn in space. Many other NASA-dedicated Speedmaster models are also on display, including the latest Speedmaster “Silver Snoopy Award”, and one accented with real pieces of polished meteorite.
Also on display is the Omega worn by Elvis Presley. Gifted to Presley by RCA Records when he returned from his army service in 1960, it features an 18K white gold case double-signed by Tiffany & Co. Set with 44 brilliant-cut diamonds on the bezel, engraved with, “To Elvis, 75 Million Records, RCA Victor, 12-25-60,” on the case back, it’s a priceless piece of watchmaking history. It’s also just one of many good reasons for any watch fan to get on a plane to NYC this season.