Omega Globemaster: the return of the “Ora Exacta” to your wrist
Nothing less than perfect reliability and elegance was accepted for this first model following the requirements of the deliberately rigorous Master Chronometer certification. Time for tests, analysis and opinions, but above all, for some history.
In 2014, the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology (Metas) and Omega collaborated to implement the Master Chronometer certification that aimed to set up new precision standards. Revealed in 2015, the Globemaster was the first model to be implemented with this new precision standard required by Omega but also democratically open to all watch brands, thus confirming the validity of a universal precision-calculating label.
Our contributor, Eric Othenin-Girard, already revealed the scope of this revolution at BaselWorld 2015, together with the presentation case chosen for the introduction of the Globemaster to the public. The main develpment this new standard introduced towards a Certified Chronometer label – in comparison to the COSC criteria – were that the multiple tests recreated, as precisely as possible, the watch's real conditions of use and its resistance to a magnetic field of 15,000 gauss.
"The World has Learned to Trust Omega": the quest for precision
Omega's determined willingness to increase the precision standard was not at all surprising. Indeed, it highlighted the significant headway the brand has made in its modern quest for chronometric excellence since 1999 with the development of the Co-Axial escapement caliber 2500. From a historical point of view, this positioning is also deeply coherent for a watchmaking brand which, for the best part of the 20th century, focused its communication strategy on its excellent results at international chronometry competitions. The brand’s slogans are ultimate proof that Omega has devoted to honing its skills by producing reliable and powerful chronometers. Some examples: "Omega Ora Exacta", "The World has Learned to Trust Omega", "Omega, Haute Précision - 3 Prix" "Omega the right time for life".
I should warn you, though, that I am probably the best person to give an objective account of Omega's chronometric quest. Indeed, I happened to start my personal collection with a 30 T2 RG Chronometer I picked at a secondhand shop in Neuchâtel in the early 1990s. Its Art-Deco dial and modern middle appealed to me as I had a special interest in functionalist design at the time.
It never changes: the industrial challenge at the service of precision
Henri Kneuss' Caliber 30mm is a kind of civil version of the racing beasts introduced at chronometry competitions. Incidentally, he is a self-taught watchmaker who did not undergo formal watchmaking training. His unconventional approach to problems brought about the design of a solid and reliable movement. As funny as these adjectives may seem, they are the very foundation of industrial engineering, except for planned obsolescence, obviously. This foundation thus generated a large family of Chronometers with a particular focus on regulating systems driven by an "engine" that met everyone's requirements. In other words, it was a war machine designed to measure short times with precision while withstanding long-term use.
In the early 20th century, Omega released three limited editions in gold (yellow, white and pink) that were equipped with the Co-Axial escapement invented by George Daniels. The Bienne-based brand had just then acquired the escapement's intellectual property. With its pie-pan dial and case inspired by the Constellation models from the 1960s, the decor was set for the first of a long series of Co-Axial escapement movements.
Inthe last 16 years, Omega has gradually introduced its Co-Axial escapement in its ranges by developing 10 new calibers as well as numerous complements that have led to increased reliability. To give but an example, we could mention silicon springs or non-magnetic components. Just like it happened with the Caliber 30mm in the 1940s, the quest for precision required a consequent adaptation of production equipment and the implementation of numerous innovative methods. The industrial verticalisation of the whole production chain is the ultimate guarantee of Omega's Co-Axial movements' reliability.
15,000 minutes with the Omega Globemaster
The Omega Globemaster is representative of the brand's continuous efforts towards excellent precision. Thus, it is the first timepiece to fulfill the requirements of the Master Chronometer certification. Just like it did with the three limited series equipped with the Co-Axial escapement in 1999, Omega transcended its old codes successfully to introduce a unique and traditional design.
Inspired to some extent by the Constellation model launched in the mid 1960s, the Omega Globemaster houses an elegant 39-mm curved case. While its historical references are immediately recognizable, its general proportions are very contemporary. The watch's general volume is reassuring in the reliability and robustness it exudes. The brushed finishes of the case are enhanced by the polished stoppings outlining some curves. The fluted bezel with polished stoppings highlights the whole and contrasts with the brushed surfaces.
The dial is a good blend of elegance and functionalism and sports the simplicity required for good readability thanks to its sober yet luxurious finishes. As a tribute to the Constellation models from the 1950s, the pie-pan dial with the subtle tilts exudes and emphasizes the seconds indexes whilst providing clear reading of the hands. We chose to test the 18K Sedna™ gold model. Said material is also used in appliques and hands that discreetly stand out from the silver dial. The date is also perfectly readable from its discreet aperture at 6 o'clock.
For the great pleasure of its owner, the Omega Globemaster's sapphire back reveals the bright Côtes de Genève decorations on the plate, the bridges and the oscillating mass of the Co-Axial Master Chronometer 8901 caliber. Incidentally, the oscillating mass is also crafted in 18K Sedna™ gold. The famous medal representing an observatory in a starry sky background has been placed at the center. It reminds us of the epic times of international chronometry competitions by displaying the same back decor of the historical models in the Constellation collection.
After spending eleven days with the Omega Globemaster on my wrist, I admit that I was seduced by this contemporary interpretation of precision. Its curved shape and short lugs make the watch extremely comfortable to wear. Its ergonomy is further enhanced by an elegant brown leather strap and a subtle and effective deployment buckle. The first ergonomic quality of this watch is that it could almost make its owner forget that they are wearing it on their wrist.
The Omega Globemaster's functionalist design is mainly driven by a certain rigor following precision calculations. Thus, it is first a chronometer and then a traditional and elegant watch. But this aesthetic characteristic also allows it to become a daily companion, regardless of the wearer’s outfit. While the 18K Sedna™ gold version is available at the advised selling price of CHF19,400, the Omega Globemaster is also available in different steel versions from CHF6,800. That guarantees that the Master Chronometer certification's high precision is not only accessible to a handful of watch lovers.