When nothing else is certain, you can rely on the fact that the Swiss are over there, in the shadow of some dead-quiet mountainside, assembling watch movements in white gloves, making micro adjustments and fine-tuning some of the most valuable trinkets on earth. So it has always been and so it shall always be. Or at least for 105 years, the age of the movements in Omega's new collection, the First Omega Wrist-Chronograph Limited Edition.
Bit of a mouthful, but we’ll take it, because the collection consists of just 18 pieces in total, each with an original 1913 Omega movement.
The movements are sourced from heritage timepieces that have have been in the OMEGA Museum Bienne, Switzerland and were supplied for this project. All the antique components underwent expert refurbishing at the company’s own Atelier de Tourbillon, before being built into the 47.50mm timepieces you see below. After the makeover, the “new” movements have been dubbed Omega calibre 3018. And if OMEGA is taking anything seriously, it's a future that is manually wound.
The face is easy to read, with its hollowed numerals and 15-minute counter, details that made it a favorite of WWI aviators. The riveted leather strap and blued “Empire” hands are also true to the look of the circa-1915 OMEGA wrist chronograph the collection references. Same with the logos used: all vintage. Modern additions include the 18K white gold face and 18K Sedna gold (a patented rose-gold alloy) for the crown. Open the back to admire the sapphire-cased movement. Marvel, gaze, what have you. It has a power reserve of 40 hours and is water-resistant up to 100 feet.
Hodinkee also notes its historical interest to watch collectors:
“The Omega 18 CHRO caliber represents a fascinating opportunity to experience horology as it was when wristwatches were just starting to become more widespread, and with its split, bimetallic temperature-compensating balance, is an unmodified and direct representation of the best watchmaking had to offer in the years just before the First World War.” Not to mention that they made the first watch on the moon, the official watch of the Olympics since 1932 and the watches that many a well-coiffed gent have worn over the decades.
Omega (3 images)
Hodinkee reports the price at about 120K Swiss francs, which is nearly 1:1 with USD, although pricing also depends on region. For more information, contact a boutique directly.
Each purchase comes with a free handcrafted leather trunk, two additional straps, tools, a loupe and a travel pouch.