More brands are set­ting them­selves apart with their own qual­ity stan­dards.

The Peak Selections: Timepieces - - Contents -

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.

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