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