The Omega Co-Axial Master Chronometer development in retrospect

The 15.000 Gauss saga started January, 17th in 2013 when Omega presented its newest development in Geneva. It was all about magnetism and how to fight the today biggest enemy of the mechanical wristwatch.

Omega decided to build non-magnetic calibres instead of protecting a fragile calibre with a inner soft iron case.

This was a very good and wise decision as we all know today.

Meanwhile Omega offers 11 certified movements in 20 executions manufactured as anti-antimagnetic Co-Axial Master Chronometer calibres. 

Let us look back when everything started …

The pictures above show new 2017 Omega Co-Axial Master Chronometer wristwatches and their prices in Euro including 20 % VAT.

Underneath you can watch the two videos I taped in Geneva January, 17 in 2013. This was the day when Omega presented us its newest 15.000 Gauss technology …

The first video shows how we measured the strength of the magnet that should disturb/destroy the new 15.000 Gauss watch …

Then we applied the magnet on the watch and absolutely nothing happened …

This was the interview I taped with Jean-Claude Monachon on that day.

Jean-Claude is an Omega-VP and head of product development and head of after sales service.

The pictures underneath was taken only a few days ago when Jean-Claude reopened the modernized Omega boutique in Laos at the Lao Plaza Hotel in Vientiane. The boutique was opened already in 1999.

Listening to the interview you will hear that I played an important role in the development of the antimagnetic watches of Omega. Something I am really proud of today!

But this was only the beginning!

Omega decided to standardize the testing procedure and to let The Federal Institute of Metrology (METAS) – an independent Swiss institute – certified the watches.

Who is METAS?

The Federal Institute of Metrology (METAS) serves as the federal center of competence for all issues related to measurement and for measuring equipment and measuring procedures. It is the Swiss national metrology institute. As such, its mandate is to ensure the availability in Switzerland of measurement and testing facilities with the degree of accuracy needed to meet the requirements of the economy, research and administration. It fulfills its mandate in collaboration with third parties: In legal metrology with the verification laboratories as well as the cantons and their verification officers; in the dissemination of units with its designated institutes. The METAS headquarter is located in Wabern (Commune of Köniz) near Bern.

The new METAS laboratory located in Biel at the Omega headquarter The Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology (METAS) has ensured that testing for the Master Chronometer leaves no room for doubt. Including exposure to a magnetic force of 15,000 gauss, each watch is subjected to eight separate examinations, with every step carefully checking for function and accuracy. It goes without saying, that the margins for passing these independent tests are much tighter than those set by Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres (COSC).

Any brand can submit its watches for this intensive 10-day process. But today it is only Omega to present a certified Master Chronometer.  

These are the 8 METAS approved tests. Before the METAS testing can start the movement already successfully passed the 14 days of Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres (COSC) testing!

All the tests described underneath are additional to COSC testing!  

1. AVERAGE DAILY PRECISION OF THE WATCH This test runs over 4 days and checks the daily precision of the watch in real life wearing conditions. The watch is initially placed in six different positions and two alternating temperatures, then exposed to magnetism of 15,000 gauss, then demagnetized, then finally checked again in the same differing positions and temperatures. For each step, a photograph is taken of the watch and checked 24 hours later for accuracy against UTC time.

2. FUNCTION OF COSC-APPROVED MOVEMENT DURING EXPOSURE TO 15,000 GAUSS MAGNETIC FIELD This test examines the movement of the watch only, placing it in two different positions, and subjecting it to a magnetic force of 15,000 gauss. During a time of 30 seconds in each position, the functioning of the movement is audibly checked using a microphone.

3. FUNCTION OF WATCH DURING EXPOSURE TO 15,000 GAUSS MAGNETIC FIELD This test is similar to the second. On this occasion, instead of just the movement being tested, the entire watch is subjected to magnetic fields of 15,000 gauss, with the functioning being checked by way of audio. In today’s modern world, magnetism is all around us, in places such as tablets, phones, hairdryers and even the metallic clasps of women’s handbags. Mechanical watches without anti-magnetic innovation can suffer long-term effects in their accuracy when exposed to these magnetic fields.  

4. DEVIATION OF DAILY PRECISION AFTER EXPOSURE TO 15,000 GAUSS MAGNETIC FIELD This test works out the average deviation of the watch between day 2 and 3 of the first test. The result shows the daily precision of the watch before and after exposure to a magnetic field of 15,000 gauss.

5. WATER RESISTANCE This test submerges the watch underwater, gradually applying more pressure up the point of the stated water resistance. For certain watches, it also goes beyond. This ensures that each watch is properly tested for underwater conditions.

6. POWER RESERVE This test checks the power reserve of the watch by taking pictures at the beginning and end of the expected limit. Checking any deviation again, this proves that each watch functions accurately for its stated time. For wearers, it’s valuable to know that, even after a weekend on the bedside table, your watch will still be performing well.  

7. DEVIATION OF RATE BETWEEN 100% AND 33% OF POWER RESERVE This test puts the watch in six different positions, similar to each side of a dice. With the watch at full power, the watch spends 30 seconds in each position, with average precision recorded by way of audio. The power reserve is then reduced by two thirds and checked again, to ensure that precision is kept even when the watch is not at full power.  

8. DEVIATION OF RATE IN SIX POSITIONS This test is similar to the previous test, and checks for any deviation in the running time when the watch is placed in six different positions, similar again to each side of a dice. With 30 seconds in each position, the results are recorded through audio. By placing a watch in different positions, we can ensure a watch’s performance no matter what the wearer is doing, whether it’s sitting at a desk or actively playing sport. The ultimate goal of all that testing is to ensure that the Omega watch will keep 0 / +5 seconds a day under all conditions!

Pictures of the Omega laboratory in Biel to fulfill the METAS testing requirements.

In these two chambers the watches are tested in different positions and at two different temperatures: 23 and 33 degrees centigrade. 

Pictures of the official METAS office located at the Omega headquarter in Biel.

The METAS office is controlling the testing Omega does.

METAS has at anytime all rights to intervene and test any sample needed.

So Omega is under ongoing supervision of METAS during all testing procedures.

Attention! This is not self-adulation and of course not an in-house test done by Omega without official control!

Omega marks a new standard of quality, going well beyond the Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres (COSC) certification being applied so far.

Of course everything done here is transparent!

The client gets this red card certifying that his watch passed the Master Chronometer testing. Either through the Omega website or simply by scanning the card´s NFC chip with a smartphone you will get all relevant information about your watch and how the watch performed during testing…

Today Omega has become the leader in antimagnetic technologies applied in a modern wristwatch. No others manufacturer offers such an USP and real daily value. Magnetic fields are everywhere and definitively harming our gently ticking companions on our wrists.  

Keep this in mind when you buy a mechanical wristwatch!