“We get a lot of feed­back that peo­ple who buy this watch are fas­ci­nated by the move­ment”

The Australian - Wish Magazine - - Arts -

Lady­matic col­lec­tion and the one launched in 2010 are the ma­te­ri­als and the colours. There is a new bi­colour model that blends steel and 18-carat gold in the case and comes with a choice of dial colours in ei­ther a deep brown or white mother-of-pearl. There’s also a new leather strap with a sat­in­brushed fin­ish in pale blue, brown and pur­ple. Ac­cord­ing to Urquhart, gold watches are ex­tremely pop­u­lar with women. “A gold watch is maybe what most ladies want to buy, but it’s not al­ways pos­si­ble be­cause the price of gold has gone through the roof.” The new leather strap there­fore cre­ates an en­try into the brand at a much more at­trac­tive price. The Lady­matic col­lec­tion starts at about $7600 and goes up to $97,025 for an all-gold model set with di­a­monds. Given the suc­cess of this line for Omega, it’s fair to as­sume there will be many more colour and ma­te­rial vari­a­tions to come.

Omega, which was founded in 1848 by Louis Brandt in La Chaux-de-Fonds in Switzer­land is part of the Swatch Group, which also in­cludes brands such as Longines, Rado, Tis­sot and Breguet, mak­ing it the world’s largest watch­maker. The com­pany can list many watch­mak­ing firsts in­clud­ing be­ing the first watch on the Moon (the Speed­mas­ter was worn by both the US and Soviet as­tro­nauts), the first of­fi­cial time­keeper of the Olympic Games (1932) and the first mass-pro­duced cal­i­bre (1885). But the brand’s rep­u­ta­tion took a beat­ing in the 1970s when the in­dus­try shifted from me­chan­i­cal move­ments to quartz, or bat­tery-op­er­ated, mech­a­nisms. It was thought that quartz move­ments, which never need wind­ing and are al­ways ac­cu­rate, would be the fu­ture of the in­dus­try. Keen to be at the fore­front of in­no­va­tion in watch­mak­ing, Omega went head­first into this new tech­nol­ogy.

When Omega fi­nally emerged from the quartz cri­sis, the dam­age to its brand had been done. Then in the early 1990s, Swatch Group chair­man Ni­co­las G. Hayek ac­quired the rights from the English mas­ter watch­maker Ge­orge Daniels to his pro­to­type of the coax­ial es­cape­ment that he in­vented in the 1970s. The first prac­ti­cal new watch es­cape­ment to be in­vented in about 250 years made its de­but in 1999 in the Omega DeVille watch and re­placed the tra­di­tional Swiss lever es­cape­ment. Of­ten de­scribed as the beat­ing heart of the watch, the es­cape­ment trans­fers en­ergy to the time­keep­ing com­po­nents of the watch in pre­cisely mea­sured and reg­u­lar in­ter­vals. The prob­lem with the Swiss lever es­cape­ment is that it needs lu­bri­ca­tion to run smoothly and as the lubri­cat­ing oil thick­ens over time it leads to a slower move­ment and there­fore in­ac­cu­rate time­keep­ing and more main­te­nance.

“It [the coax­ial move­ment] has be­come syn­ony­mous with Omega and it has taken us back to our roots be­cause Omega has al­ways been de­voted to what is in­side the watch,” says Urquhart. “I think the coax­ial has be­come an in­her­ent part of our cul­ture and has al­lowed us to of­fer a bet­ter prod­uct and com­mand a higher price be­cause there is in­trin­sic value there, and that, for me, will play a key role in ev­ery­thing we will do. We get a lot of feed­back from our stores around the world that peo­ple who buy this watch are fas­ci­nated by the move­ment. It might not be the thing that brings them into the store but it is the thing that makes the fi­nal de­ci­sion. They have to like the watch, sure, and it has to be pleas­ing to the eye, but the fact that there is a beau­ti­ful move­ment in­side and the sales staff will ex­plain that and talk about it, there is a lot more in­ter­est in watch move­ments from women than you can imag­ine. There is a heart and you can lis­ten to it and you can see it, which is why we put sap­phire crys­tal backs on our watches as much as we can.”

Lady­matic is not only a pure women’s me­chan­i­cal watch, it is the pri­mary timepiece Omega can sell to women. Given that the fe­male mar­ket is a ma­jor fo­cus for watch com­pa­nies and that brands such as Omega have myr­iad col­lec­tions for men, could this be the first of many fe­male-fo­cused mod­els? The short an­swer is yes. “We have more ideas in ladies’ watches, but we have to be care­ful,” says Urquhart. “I think there is room and we have some ideas for some­thing in be­tween a sports watch and some­thing more fash­ion­able and con­tem­po­rary.’’

In the mean­time, Urquhart is look­ing at other bas­kets to put some eggs in and all roads seem to lead to boom­ing Brazil. Af­ter the event in Vi­enna, Omega opened three stores in Brazil, two in Rio and one in Sao Paulo, in prepa­ra­tion for the Olympics. “Brazil is a no-brainer,” says Urquhart.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.