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The story of OMEGA was on display at a special exhibition at the Chelsea Factory in New York City recently.
From November 9 to 19, Planet OMEGA showcased the unique DNA of the renowned Swiss brand and many of its most innovative and notable timepieces.
A special “Vintage” section revealed a variety of historic timepieces, on loan from the OMEGA Museum in Biel, Switzerland. These included:
* The OMEGA wristwatch worn by Elvis Presley – a gift from RCA Records in 1960. It features 44 brilliant-cut diamonds on the bezel, while on the reverse, it says: “To Elvis, 75 Million Records, RCA Victor, 12-25-60”. Elvis wore the watch both on and off stage for many years. It is perhaps the most historically significant Elvis-owned watch to ever appear on the market.
* The OMEGA Slimline timepiece worn by John F Kennedy at his presidential inauguration ceremony in 1961. Kennedy received this timepiece before the election from his friend Grant Stockdale, who added the engraved words - “President of the United States John F. Kennedy from his friend Grant.” Several months later, that prediction came true.
* An original Ladymatic watch from 1955 – considered at the time to be a revolution in women’s watchmaking. The idea was to create a timepiece that was both quintessentially feminine and as precise as any man's timepiece. Inside the watch was the Calibre 455, which became the world’s smallest rotor-equipped automatic calibre to obtain an official rating certificate with special mention.
Elsewhere, the spacious location at the exhibition was split into six distinctive areas related to OMEGA.
Sports and Olympics
For Sports and Olympic Games, the brand celebrates its proud legacy of Official Timekeeping, which encompasses a growing range of competitions, from America’s Cup sailing to professional golf, swimming, and athletics. Watches on display included:
* One of the original split-seconds chronographs used to time the Olympic Games in 1932 – a role that OMEGA still fulfils to this day. For that first occasion more than 90 years ago, one OMEGA watchmaker travelled all the way to Los Angeles armed with 30 stopwatches for the judges to operate. Each piece had been certified as a chronometer by the Observatory at Neuchâtel and was accurate to the nearest 1/10th of a second. Most impressive was the split-seconds function that allowed intermediate times to also be recorded.
* This heritage piece has since become the motivation behind the brand’s new and ground-breaking Chrono Chime watch, which was also on display. The watch houses the most complex OMEGA movement ever made.
For the Ocean section, the exhibition looks deep into OMEGA’s diving expertise and history of sea-inspired designs. This included:
* An original 1932 Marine – known as the first divers’ watch that was available to civilian divers. It was characterised by a clever double case design and was water-resistant to 135 metres. Due to its advanced and reliable innovation, the Marine became a very popular choice for early ocean explorers.
* Visitors could also view one of the recent Seamaster “Ultra Deep” watches. In 2019, the first of these models reached the deepest point ever recorded in the ocean. The model on display is an adapted version available to customers and is water-resistant to an incredible 6,000 metres (20,000 ft.).
James Bond section
The James Bond section was dedicated to the world’s favourite spy – who has worn an OMEGA in every film since 1995. Watches to look out for included:
* The Seamaster Diver 300M 007 Edition from Daniel Craig’s final appearance in No Time To Die. This authentic film prop is crafted from lightweight Grade 2 Titanium, it features military markings, and was even designed with help from the film’s leading man, Daniel Craig. His unique 007 knowledge and passion for classic timepieces helped to inspire some of the watch’s details.
* There are also two exquisite timepieces that were crafted for the franchise’s 60th anniversary. The animations on the casebacks of these models replicate the famous James Bond opening sequence.
No OMEGA exhibition would be complete without the essential Space display. Ever since the Speedmaster Moonwatch was qualified by NASA in 1965 for all manned missions, OMEGA has played a critical role in some of history’s greatest explorations, including the first lunar landing in 1969. Visitors were able to see:
* The same CK2998 model worn by astronaut Wally Schirra in 1962 aboard Mercury’s Sigma 7 mission. Known as the “first OMEGA worn in space” it represents the first chapter in the brand’s story beyond Earth.
* There are other models to discover too, including the latest Speedmaster “Silver Snoopy Award” timepiece, and those created with real pieces of meteorite.
Friends and Ambassadors
Today, OMEGA is also known for its global family of Friends and ambassadors. Each one represents the brand’s values of excellence and success, whether they are in the fields of fashion, entertainment, exploration, or sport. Within the exhibition, visitors were able to see:
* A Constellation model in 18K Sedna Gold – the same family adored by the brand’s longest serving ambassador, Cindy Crawford. This 34mm model features a sun-brushed burgundy dial and incremental diamond hour markers.
Finally, the theme that has been at the heart of OMEGA since the very start. Precision. In this section, visitors can understand some of the most important breakthroughs the Swiss brand has made during its lifetime. Watches included:
* This year’s new Speedmaster Super Racing - introduced as the world’s first watch to feature the revolutionary Spirate System. The system is built with a new patent-pending spiral that allows for ultra-fine rate adjustments, making it possible to achieve a certified precision of only 0/+2 seconds a day d.
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