The 2018 Winter Olympics are about to start and Omega celebrates its 86th year as the official timekeeper of the Games. What’s more, the brand has announced that it will hold this position at least until 2032 – meaning an entire century of Olympic timing. After the gold collection introduced earlier this week, it is time to look at the other side of the price range, with the Omega Seamaster Olympic Games Collection – some nice, colourful, entry-level sports watches inspired by the Olympic Flag and vintage stopwatches.
This Omega Seamaster Olympic Games Collection is not dedicated per se to the 2018 Olympic Games, even if it will be launched almost coinciding with the official start of PyeongChang 2018. As such, this new collection is more of a celebration of Omega’s participation in the Games as the official timekeeper. The Biel-based brand has fulfilled this role since 1932 and it just announced that this will continue at least until 2032 – which will mean a centenary of participation (spoiler alert: expect some dedicated watches at Baselworld 2032…)
Several collections have been presented for this occasion, including the elegant and desirable vintage-inspired Seamaster watches. Crafted in gold, they are obviously more expensive than the models reviewed here. Still on the Olympic theme but with a totally different stylistic approach is the new Seamaster Olympic Games Collection: sporty, colourful, slightly vintage… Perhaps not the most appealing collection at first glance (in all fairness, the press images did not do justice to the watches), we were pleasantly surprised when we got to see the pieces on the wrist.
Based on a classic Seamaster design – with lyre lugs and a flat bezel – the watches in the Omega Seamaster Olympic Games Collection are reasonably sized with a diameter of 39.5mm and feature several interesting and unprecedented features. For instance, the crown is onion-shaped – something we’re not used to seeing at Omega. Covering the dial is a highly domed crystal, again something that references the 1970s design spirit of this collection. The case is nicely shaped and features the signature polished bevel that runs from one lug to another. The large diameter of the case back is also surprising and covers almost the entire surface of the watch. It includes an anodized aluminium ring with all the cities and dates of the Olympic Games where Omega was and will be the timekeeper – from Los Angeles 1932 up to Los Angeles 2028.
Moving to the dial, the Olympic theme is present but not in an overbearing way. The only clear mention of the Olympics is a small flag positioned at 6 o’clock. The rest is much more subtle and actually rather cool. Indeed, the Omega Seamaster Olympic Games Collection comprises five watches to match the five colours of the Olympic Flag – red, green, blue, black and yellow. These touches of colour remain rather discreet on the dial, with only the second hand, the circle framing the minute ring and the Seamaster logo picked out in colour. Of course, colour is more evident on the straps that match the dial – yet the colours are not too loud and give a fresh and sporty style to the collection.
The most surprising element of all is the design of the dial itself. It feels familiar. Omega has decided to push the Olympic theme further by using a signature design that was used on vintage sports stopwatches manufactured by Omega – at a time when electronics didn’t exist. Based on a central black area, surrounded by a highly legible minute/second track, these dials offer a great contrast to the hands.
Omega stopwatches from the Montreal and Innsbruck Olympic Games in 1976 served as inspiration for the design.
The central part includes large Arabic numerals, as well as a date window at 6 o’clock – a feature that will once again generate debate. To each his own. On the wrist, the relatively small diameter, as well as the contrasted dial make it a compact and comfortable watch that will suit just about every wrist size. The perforated leather straps are supple and complement the watch.
Inside the case is calibre 8800, an in-house movement with all Omega’s modern features: anti-magnetic; Master Chronometer certified; co-axial escapement; and a beefy 55-hour power reserve. The decoration is in the vein of Omega’s production with Arabesque Geneva stripes, blackened screws and bevelled bridges. The integration of the aluminium ring with the Olympic cities frames the huge movement that occupies the entire case.
Each of the five models in the Omega Seamaster Olympic Games Collection will be limited to 2,032 pieces, with a price of CHF 5,000. More details on omegawatches.com. The Limited Edition number will be engraved on the side of each case.
Continuing the celebration of OMEGA’s role in the Olympic Games, a special Limited Edition set will be available with all five models created in the colours of the Olympic Rings. All watches come in a special presentation box alongside a miniature last-lap bell, which has been crafted in the same Swiss foundry as the real Olympic bells. More details here.