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Omega's frontman hits the high notes

Master Chronometer, a new certification carried out by the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology, is the key feature of a new watch collection.
Friday, August 26, 2016 - 05:50
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Last year’s Globemaster also made an appearance in a new annual calendar complication.
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Speedmaster Chronograph Moonphase.
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The latest Grey Side of the Moon “Meteorite”.

THE year before it had the breakthrough Globemaster, which featured Omega's most advanced mechanical movement. The frontman in Omega's new watch collections this year is Master Chronometer - six new movements and 46 models that qualified as Master Chronometers were among the 105 new watches that the brand rolled out at the Baselworld 2016 watch show in the Swiss city of Basel in March.

The Master Chronometers included the entire collection of new Seamaster Planet Ocean timepieces, the new Constellation Small Seconds model for the ladies and the Speedmaster Moonphase watch. Last year's Globemaster also made an appearance in a new annual calendar complication.

Master Chronometer is a new certification carried out by the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology (METAS). While the test for the certification is done in Omega's factory in Switzerland, any watch may seek to qualify as a Master Chronometer.

But it must first pass the tests set by the Controle Officiel Suisse des Chronometres, or popularly known as COSC. Then at METAS, it has to go through tougher rounds to meet eight criteria that include surviving in a magnetic field of 15,000 gauss - 15 times stronger than what the strongest anti-magnetic watch in the market can withstand.

The Globemaster is the precursor to the Globemaster Master Chronometer, both sharing the same strong anti-magnetic movement. The difference is that the latter is METAS-certified.

You know its a Globemaster when you see the pie-pan dial and fluted bezel - even when it comes in the guise of a complicated annual calendar. The Globemaster Annual Calendar (S$12,100 to S$33,350) still sports the same giveaway dial, though around its rim there are in blue, the months, positioned between the hour indices and pointed to by a blue hand which moves at a more precise clip in instantaneous jumps - thanks to the new Co-Axial Master Chronometer movement.

Yes, the watch has been put through the METAS test and passed.

Another new Master Chronometer that's likely to be a winner is the Speedmaster Chronograph Moonphase (S$14,600). Unlike other watches with a moonphase display, which tends to have a black and white image of the moon, this one has a representation that never looked more real.

The high resolution image is as detailed as a Nasa photo - so detailed in fact that a closer look reveals an astronaut's footprint. The mechanism controlling the moonphase is so accurate that you need to adjust it only after 10 years - and all it takes is just a few turns of the crown.

The Speedmaster Grey Side of the Moon "Meteorite" was not METAS-tested - and thus not qualified as Master Chrononometer. Still, like the earlier models in the collection, it's likely to be popular.

The all-black ceramic Dark Side of the Moon was a big success when it kicked off the line in 2013. The first Grey Side of the Moon that appeared in the year after, in a grey dial, was also well-received. So was last year's chalk white "White Side of the Moon". The latest Grey Side of the Moon "Meteorite" (S$20,200) continued the series. The 44.25mm chronograph has a dial made of meteorite, its most telling feature - and an apt one, given the moon-theme of the watch. Omega says the dial comes from a slice of meteorite which fell to earth - in Namibia - during prehistoric time. The watch's tachymeter scale was created using Ceragold, the first time a tachymeter scale was created with this Omega-owned technology, which is a special way to decorate ceramic watch parts with 18K gold.