Omega just launched a slew of new watches to kick off 2021 and not a single Speedmaster was in the lineup. Why? CEO Raynauld Aeschlimann told select journalists in a press conference Tuesday that the brand wanted to highlight its big new Snoopy release as a single drop earlier in January. But stay tuned: the Swiss watch company is expected to release more new timepieces later this year.
While it might be putting the brakes on its speediest market crusher, Omega still had a few noteworthy releases that should pique collectors’ interests. The highlights were mostly in the Seamaster collection with an interesting Seamaster 300 in a new bronze-gold alloy that was two years in the making, and a sleek all-black Seamaster 300M diver.
But the product wasn’t the only fresh news the brand was delivering. The company also announced that all of its watches will be Master Chronometer Certified going forward, with completion of the process expected to reach every corner of its merchandise by 2022. The certification is an in-house quality-control procedure requiring a series of eight tests for waterproof function, resistance to magnetic fields up to 15,000 gausses and precision, to name a few. The movements are still certified by the Swiss standard COSC procedure, but afterward, the cased and finalized product is put through the in-house process and ultimately approved by the Swiss government-controlled METAS agency (or the Federal Institute of Metrology in English).
Aeschlimann says most clients don’t necessarily know everything about the process, but the brand feels it’s an important matter of transparency for those that do. “I think transparency is one of the key issues of today’s new generation,” he told Robb Report. “They want to know, because everything is transparent today on the internet. We don’t really expect people to know [about it], but in our stores and in our communication we very much insist on this because we want to tell the client, ‘Listen, look at what we have done for you.'” He also expects it to raise quality standards in the industry as a whole and act as a distinguishing factor for the brand.
But in the end, the product speaks for itself. Here are 13 new watches you might consider putting to the test.
The Seamaster 300 has been a brand pillar since it was introduced in 1957 during an era when recreational diving was becoming increasingly popular. Fast forward 64 years and many of the original elements are just as stylish today as they were in their infancy. The latest editions tip their hat to the earliest models with vintage-style open Arabic numerals, which first appeared in the ’60s. And a small but charming retro detail is the reintroduction of the lollipop design from 1959 on the central-seconds hand on the stainless-steel editions.
Unlike previous iterations, however, are the new sandwich dials which include a base layer of Super-LumiNova (albeit of the vintage variety) and a second plate over the top with hollowed recesses for the hour markers and numerals. The new 41 mm pieces are also slimmer than more recent editions at 14.4 mm tall. Using domed sapphire crystal glass—a popular construction of the past that was used as the solution to withstand water pressure at profound depths—made this possible. Despite a slim profile, the dial opening has been enlarged to 30.4 mm from 29.5 mm by decreasing the width of the case body and the bezel ring so that the new lineup of Seamaster 300s look larger on the wrist than the previous generation, despite the fact that the 41 mm diameter remains the same.
The stainless-steel bracelets have also been updated, and now measure 21 mm between the lugs tapering to a thinner 16 mm for the polished and brushed clasp, with new finishes inspired by early models. With leather straps, it will set you back $6,150; on-bracelet versions will go for $6,500.
Highlight: The showpiece, which comes with an arrow-tipped central seconds hand instead of a lollipop, is the new bronze-gold cased version (pictured above left). In a nod to old diving helmets, for which the moveable features were made of bronze due to its resistance to saltwater corrosion, Omega created a new bronze alloy that combines 50 percent copper, more than 37.5 percent 9-karat gold and touches of silver, gallium and palladium. (It’s said to be inspired by ancient Corinthian bronze, which used a similar combination of materials to help prevent discoloration). The material, which has a patent pending and was over two years in the making, was created so that it could be worn directly on the skin without oxidizing and excreting toxic material. But it’s also claimed to age slower, retaining its natural patina for longer. While bronze watches are typically revered and collected because they develop a patina, Omega is confident collectors will be drawn to this alloy’s slower fade and unique hue that is less matte without the greenish undertones typical to standard uses of the alloy. It retails for $11,200, and while it is only available on a strap for now, Omega says it may produce a bronze-gold bracelet in the future.
Seamaster Diver 300M Black Black
A new watch for a new wave. While the Seamaster Diver 300M Black Black is likely meant to capture the street-savvy clientele that hits up Mad Paris and Bamford Watch Department for blacked-out customizations, it raises the obvious question: How do you read the time? And, more importantly, how do you read the time in the murky depths of a dive mission? The good news is that its black PVD indexes, skeleton hands and dot at 12 o’clock all glow in the dark in different shades to help distinguish the markings. During the day, the anthracite turns them a dark gray to contrast against the noir backdrop.
However, we suspect most clients will be rocking this for style more often on land than under the sea, so its fortunate that the design is something to behold. The 43.5 mm by 14.47 mm diver ($8,650) comes in a polished-brushed black ceramic case complete with a black ceramic crown and helium escape valve on a rubber strap. And, for the first time, Omega laser-ablated the unidirectional bezel, diving scale and dial for a design created in positive relief from a single piece for extra dimension. The caseback, also in black ceramic, features a view of the brand’s patented Naiad Lock system with a wave-edged design. You can also see Omega’s Co-Axial Master Chronometer Calibre 8806, which offers 55 hours of power reserve.
De Ville Trésor Power Reserve
Let’s not forget that Omega, despite being known for its sports watches, can make one hell of an elegant dress watch too. Two new editions to the De Ville Trésor collection present compelling examples of its design prowess in the arena. An 18-karat yellow gold model with a white dial on a gray leather strap comes with a domed sapphire crystal highlighting polished 18-karat yellow gold hands and applied domed indexes with a view of the 72-hour power reserve and small-second subdials ($17,500). The burgundy dial version, also with domed sapphire crystal, comes in the company’s proprietary 18-karat Sedna gold with a matching strap and one subdial for the small seconds at 6 o’clock ($16,900). In both cases, the subdials are new and each is equipped with a manual-winding Omega Co-Axial Master Chronometer Caliber. More additions to the collection are expected later this year.
The burgundy version is the standout with its striking combination of a rich wine hue paired with warm Sedna gold (Omega’s version of red gold). When the occasion arises for suiting up again, this will look sharp peaking out from under a light-blue-shirt-and-navy-suit combination, and should be reason enough to open your vault and your cellar.
Constellation Small Seconds
For women, the stars aligned to deliver four new models in the Constellation collection. Although the line was born in 1952, it gained solid ground with the introduction of its claws and half-moon facets in the early ’80s, and given the resurgence of the era in ready-to-wear it seems poised for a comeback. The big news here is the inclusion of a 34 mm case size and striking new dials in peacock blue on a stainless steel bracelet ($7,600), caramel on an 18-karat Sedna gold and stainless steel bracelet ($10,900), mother-of-pearl on a pink leather strap (price to be confirmed) and burgundy( $35,700 on an 18-karat Sedna gold bracelet or $22,800 on a burgundy leather strap). Each comes with diamonds either on both the dial and bezel or just the dial. Another 2021 addition: minute diamonds placed around the small-second subdial markers and, in the case of the models with diamond bezels the subdial also comes encircled in larger diamonds. Rings have also been added on the subdials and the central minute track (the burgundy dial comes with full diamonds on the ring).
The must-have is the 18-karat Sedna gold bracelet version with the burgundy dial and extra sparkle of diamonds. Gold is all the rage in women’s jewelry and the dial adds extra punch.
Seamaster Aqua Terra
Like the new Constellation models, the Aqua Terra offering for women also comes in a new 34 mm size (with a thickness of 11.8 mm) and is offered in either stainless steel on a leather strap ($15,800) or on an 18-karat Sedna gold and stainless-steel two-tone bracelet ($20,500). But the marquee feature is the dials, which are encrusted with round diamonds on the bezel and either 11 marquise-cut diamonds or rubies for the hour markers. The gems accent new wave-embossed dials in either a saccharine cotton-candy pink, for the rubies, or a champagne hue, for the white diamonds. And while some women might appreciate the useful date window at 6 o’clock, it feels like a rather sporty touch for such dressy gem-set offerings. However, going the extra mile for its female clientele, Omega offers a view of the Co-Axial Master Chronometer Caliber 8800 through the sapphire crystal, for those who appreciate a view of the mechanics in addition to the sparkle of the gems.
Highlight: While the pink dial with rubies on a raspberry leather strap is striking, the more elegant option is the Champagne-colored dial with white diamonds on a taupe leather strap. It’s more versatile, sophisticated and understated without forgoing a touch of glamour.