MAS­TER OF ALL

Since 2015, Omega has sub­jected its watches and move­ments to rig­or­ous test­ing by METAS for “Mas­ter Chronome­ter” cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. Omega ex­pects al­most all of its watches to at­tain this high stan­dard by 2020. We were on-site at Omega to find out how this ambi

WatchTime - - TABLE OF CONTENTS - By Martina Richter

| Omega ex­pects al­most all of its watches to go through rig­or­ous test­ing by METAS to at­tain “Mas­ter Chronome­ter” cer­ti­fi­ca­tion by 2020. We were on-site at Omega to find out how this am­bi­tious project is be­com­ing re­al­ity.

— The 1.5-ton per­ma­nent mag­net is marked with a spe­cial sign: a black horse­shoe inside a bright yel­low tri­an­gle that warns of the strong mag­netic field – 1.5 tes­las lie within a ho­mo­ge­neous mag­netic field, equal to 1.2 mil­lion am­peres per me­ter (A/m). Bet­ter not get too close if you’re wear­ing a “nor­mal” me­chan­i­cal wrist­watch! As a com­par­i­son, a time­piece with a con­ven­tion­ally pow­er­ful an­ti­mag­netic shield (e.g., a soft-iron cage) can with­stand a level of 80,000 A/m. And even that seems like quite a lot.

Omega has been mar­ket­ing watches with in­creased an­ti­mag­netic pro­tec­tion with real re­sults in mind. It’s a brand strat­egy the com­pany has pur­sued con­sis­tently for al­most two decades. e be­gin­nings of this project reach back to 1999 when Omega in­tro­duced its coax­ial es­cape­ment – an al­ter­na­tive to the Swiss lever es­cape­ment. e co-ax­ial es­cape­ment is no­table for its low fric­tion, high me­chan­i­cal ef­fi­ciency and ex­cel­lent, ex­tended chronome­ter level per­for­mance. It was used for the first time in 2007 in Cal­iber 8500 and 8501. e next step in the cre­ation of an an­ti­mag­netic watch move­ment was com­pleted one year later with the Si14 sil­i­con bal­ance hair­spring. Be­cause the ma­te­rial is an­ti­mag­netic, the per­for­mance of the hair­spring is not af­fected when it is near mag­netic ob­jects.

In 2013, Omega in­tro­duced the Sea­mas­ter Aqua Terra > 15,000 Gauss, which re­sisted mag­netic fields of more than 1.5 tes­las. e in­no­va­tive technology in its co-ax­ial Cal­iber 8508 was de­vel­oped in col­lab­o­ra­tion with ETA, ASULAB and Ni­varox FAR and of­fered new ap­proaches to­ward solv­ing the prob­lem of mag­netic fields and watch move­ments – be­cause just a sil­i­con hair­spring wasn’t enough. Staffs, piv­ots and bear­ings in the Cal­iber 8508 are par­tially made of “Ni­va­gauss” – an al­loy that also ex­hibits an­ti­mag­netic prop­er­ties. It is the re­sult of many years of re­search and de­vel­op­ment work. Also, the spring on the Ni­va­choc shock ab­sorber is made of an amor­phous ma­te­rial that is es­pe­cially ro­bust and non-fer­ro­mag­netic. It is made first by heat­ing and then rapidly cool­ing a zir­co­nium-based al­loy. e steel plates used in the co-ax­ial es­cape­ment were re­placed with non-mag­netic plates that are man­u­fac­tured us­ing the LIGA process. In just one year Omega suc­cess­fully be­gan mass-pro­duc­ing this an­ti­mag­netic technology and in­te­grat­ing it in var­i­ous move­ments and time­pieces of dif­fer­ing sizes and de­signs. e Mas­ter Coax­ial Chronome­ter cal­ibers in­clude move­ments with the num­bers 8400, 8500 and 8600.

This per­ma­nent mag­net has a mag­netic field of 1.5 tes­las for test­ing the move­ment and watch.

This Speedmaster with Metas-cer­ti­fied Cal­iber 9900 was in­tro­duced in 2017.

The Metas-cer­ti­fied Omega Mas­ter Co-ax­ial Chronome­ter move­ment 8901

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