Baselworld 2016 First Impressions — Omega

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Speeding In

Let’s speed into this one.

There are two stars of the hour in the lineup of Speedmasters this year: one, the reissued Speedmaster CK 2998 and the other, the Speedmaster Master Chronometer Chronograph Moonphase – one, the blue one (that we’re sure you’ve already seen on multiple Instagram wrist shots already) –  and the other the Grey Side of the Moon with the meteorite dial.

BUT, check out this one that we got to put on our wrist during the presentation.

Speedmaster Master Chronometer Chronograph Moonphase

How cool is that British racing green against that slate grey dial?

This is one of the first instances in which Omega has used their Ceragold technology in a bezel. For those not familiar with the technology, Ceragold is a special method developed by Omega for decorating ceramic replica watch parts with 18K gold.

A little bit of detail that would be a crime not to mention with this replica watch is that moon on the moonphase indicator. If you were to use a loupe to inspect the rather realistic moon, you’d see a tiny bootprint imprinted on it – this little detail is intended to replicate Neil Armstrong’s historical step onto the lunar surface.

Speedmaster Master Chronometer Chronograph Moonphase

And then, of course, there is the reissued Speedmaster CK 2998 with the lollipop seconds hand, in which Omega has demonstrated their sharp mastery for mixing vintage codes with modern codes.

Speedmaster CK 2998

2998 pieces are going to be made of this reissue in commemoration of the Speedmaster’s 40th anniversary – exclusively for the Japanese market (better book that ticket to Tokyo before it’s too late).

The Ploprof

Bringing in the heavy hitters, we’ve got a reissued Ploprof. Grade 5 titanium case, grade 5 titanium dial and a grade 2 titanium mesh bracelet. So, pretty much a full on titanium Ploprof, except for the bezel, which is in ceramic. Nice.

Ploprof 2016

This thing seems to be on a mission to sort of redefine what a tool replica watch of heft really ought to look like. Again we see the vintage codes used here, but obviously with all the modern materials used – this is clearly a replica watch for the here and now.

Bi-Color GMT Bezel

The concept sounds incredibly familiar. But this is Omega’s own approach and execution of the bi-color. This isn’t like the other technology  we are familiar with, where the bezel is first created in one color and there after treated for it to take on the second color.

Omega has created a special mold that is able to receive the black and the white ceramic at the same time. They also had to develop a ceramic border to contain the two different colors on the bezel, because the sintering method used, results in a shrinkage of the material used for the bi-color.

Planetocean GMT

The Pie

The Globemaster Annual Calendar isn’t new to us. This was after all a piece that Omega offered up to us as a pre-Basel taster. But this particular execution of the replica watch that we saw at the presentation is greatly worth talking about.

Globemaster Annual Calendar

Burgundy red enamel indexes on this one, set against the familiar opaline silver “Pie Pan” dial.

A Story of Value

Basel, it seems, is playing out this year with an underlying theme of bringing value back to buyers. Brands both big and, not so big, all seem to be singing this song of value in unisence. Some are doing this with revised price propositions and others, like Omega, are doing so with redefined assurance for buyers.

Specifically for Omega, this has come in the form of 6 new calibers that bear their Master Chronometer rating. These 6 calibers have been worked into 46 new timepieces that are part of Omega’s Basel highlights.

An outstanding demonstration of these new standards is a new chronograph caliber that maintains its anti-magnetic rating (more than 15000 gauss) even while the chronograph mechanism is engaged. Now that, is spectacular.

Speaking on the subject earlier today in an exchange with Revolution, Stephen Urquhart (president and CEO of Omega) really summed it up best, “To use  a very common word, that isn’t so common in our industry, and put it into our context: a replica watch has to be user-friendly. The Master Chronometer requirements are stringent – but they are not unreachable. What the stringency does is that it makes our replica watches a lot more relevant to everyday. We’re not making replica watches that are meant to be kept on your bookshelf. We want you to wear them, everyday.”