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
| 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