Launching the new Speedmaster Chronoscope, Omega took to Milan to share the beauty behind the brand’s DNA and remodelled a signature classic to capture the phenomenon and the ever-growing possibilities of a watch, beyond measuring the time.
“In Milan, there is a great love for the Speedmaster,” share the charismatic Raynald Aeschliman, the CEO of Omega. So where better to launch the latest iteration of it in that in the bustling metropolis? The history books of horology define a chronograph as a precise time-measuring device, deriving from the word “chronos” to mean time and “graph” meaning to write. But Omega’s opts for something different with the latest launch: the Chronoscope.
It’s fascinating that in the general parlance of watchmaking, that these intricate dials that measure speed and distance, are referred to as acts of writing. Turning what we know on its head however, Omega draws on the word “scope,” which translates to the act of observing to introduce a model with three functions: a tachymeter, a telemeter, and a pulsometer.
In the age of the smartwatch, a watch serves a greater purpose than to tell the time. So how do these traditional brands, built on pillars of heritage, do more to compete with the voracity of digital world? By making mechanical watches do even more. For the brand’s latest offering, the Chronoscope sets itself the challenge of multi-tasking like never before. It can tell you how fast you’re going, based on how far you’ve travelled, how far you are from something visible and audible, such as an incoming storm. And should you need to work out the rate of your heartbeat, it’s all there.
Of course, for the next generation of consumers breaking into the luxury market, a purchase isn’t a simple exchange of money to obtain an object. It’s about the narrative and story behind it. New technology isn’t wholly embraced without knowing the arc of heritage that birthed it in the first place. At Omega, the novel timepiece does just that taking notes from the brands past, paying homage to the chronograph wristwatches from the 1940’s. Alluding to the leaf-shaped hands from 20th century models, the spiral track pattern that circles the dial, running beneath the Arabic numerals neatly nods to what the future of Omega looks like, all the while reflecting on what has been.
The newness doesn’t stop with just a new name and colourway either. Powering the Chronoscope, a visible case-back exposes a manual-winding co-axial calibre 9908, with a standout bridge and balance wheel, where the eponymous Geneva stripes flow from the heart of the watch.
It’s said with common frequency in the watch industry that the timepieces we decorate our wrists with are extensions of our personality and uniquely personal. Heeding this intimacy, Omega launches the model in various options to really make it your own. Boasting a comfortable 43mm diameter, six models in stainless steel include: two with silvery dials and blued hands, two models with blue dials and rhodium-plated hands and two models in the brand’s signature Panda appearance with black subdials.
And the show doesn’t quite stop there. The climatic delivery of the new collection welcomes an exclusive oxidized Bronze Gold model, with a ceramic bezel ring and dial in a vintage-style enamel, an aesthetic jibe to yesteryear. “It’s about working with the past one to one, to communicate your legacy,” shares Aeschliman
For the delight of Omega partisans, the brand is relaxing its limited-edition strategy going forward, which at first might seem a diversion away from targeting Generation Z and Millennials who lap up exclusivity. But, as Aeschliman points out, “limited edition became about making things very public. I think these times are over.” Instead, it’s about concentrating on the artistry, and the immense beauty that instead can be shared from wrist to wrist. It’s not about the chase anymore. It’s about appreciating the moment and treasuring it.