“On one side of the street we have the brand’s metic­u­lously pre­served past; on the other, we see how it leaps for­ward”

DA MAN - Caliber - - SPECIAL REPORT -

The first room I saw was where mag­netic re­sis­tance tests are car­ried out on new move­ments. Es­sen­tially, a Mas­ter Chronome­ter watch can re­tain its ac­cu­racy after be­ing sub­jected to mag­netic fields of up to 15,000 Gauss—roughly equiv­a­lent to an MRI ma­chine. Nat­u­rally, I asked why Omega has set such a mind­bog­glingly high stan­dard. The an­swer, un­sur­pris­ingly, was a proud “Be­cause we’re Omega!”

After the chuck­les died down, our tour guide re­counted a story of an Omega cus­tomer who com­plained about his watch reg­u­larly los­ing time. So, they brought the watch to their ser­vice cen­ter, de­mag­ne­tized it (which is part of the SOP), ser­viced it and re­turned it. But after a short while the cus­tomer came back with the same com­plaint. After this went on sev­eral times, the Omega staff learned that the man would rou­tinely put his watch in his gym bag and then drive to and from the gym in his Tesla, with the bag sit­ting close to one of the car’s elec­tric mo­tors—which, of course, con­tained a pow­er­ful mag­net. Up­grad­ing to a Mas­ter Chronome­ter watch (a Globe­mas­ter, if mem­ory serves me right) solved the prob­lem.

The point was: We are now by in­creas­ingly pow­er­ful mag­nets and mag­netic fields: Ev­ery­thing from the mag­netic clasp of a bag, smart­phones, speak­ers (an­other story in­volved a watch owner who reg­u­larly rested his Omega on top of his home the­ater’s uber-pow­er­ful speak­ers), anti-theft de­tec­tors at de­part­ment stores, etc. Sud­denly, “mag­netic re­sis­tance to fields of up to 15,000 gauss” starts sound­ing rea­son­able.

As hinted at ear­lier, this cut­ting edge test­ing process was done right across the road from the Omega Mu­seum, which I also had the op­por­tu­nity to see. So, on one side of the street we have the brand’s metic­u­lously cu­rated and pre­served past; on the other, we see how it makes leaps and bounds for­ward. If any­thing, this jux­ta­po­si­tion per­fectly en­cap­su­lated what Omega is all about.

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