More brands are setting themselves apart with their own quality standards.
With more brands looking to set themselves apart using their own quality seals, Omega and Glashutte Original are the latest names to roll out a regimen of chronometric tests.
Watchmakers consistently try to outdo one another in the quest for supreme precision – and an increasing number of them, including Patek Philippe, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Richard Mille and Grand Seiko, have implemented their own quality certificates to prove it. This year, Omega launched a whopping 46 models bearing the Master Chronometer designation, following the launch of a newly devised quality standard last year. This certification was jointly established by Omega and the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology ( Metas), the country’s national metrology organisation.
Still the best-known seal for precision, the Controle Offic iel Suisse des Chronometres (COSC) certification is a 14-day process that involves testing the accuracy of the movement in five positions at two temperatures, and allows for a maximum deviation of only - 4/+6 seconds a day. Omega’s new quality standard goes beyond that, even though the COSC certification remains an integral part of its testing process.
The main purpose of the eight tests established by Metas is to determine the functionality of both the movement and watch in the presence of strong magnetic fields: more than 15,000 gauss, or – probably not coincidentally – what 2013’s groundbreaking Seamaster Aqua Terra was resistant to. The movements are tested in six positions (one more than the COSC’s) and must remain accurate to - 0/+5 seconds a day after exposure to powerful magnetic fields – again, more gruelling than the COSC’s.
Across the German border, Glashutte Original premiered its new high-performance base calibre, Calibre 36, and along with it, a more stringent system of tests that run for an astounding 24 days. Like the Metas tests, the movements are tested in six positions, as well as when they are cased.
The brand’s new Senator Excellence models are the first to be equipped with Calibre 36. Each watch comes with a certificate that outlines the test results, and owners can even refer to a dedicated Glashutte Original website detailing their watch’s performance as recorded during the entire procedure.
The COSC remains a badge of honour for most watchmakers, but companies increasingly appear to be leapfrogging it with ever more rigorous tests. As they push the envelope for mechanical watchmaking, consumers ultimately get better products. And that can only be a good thing.