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Celebrating the ultimate feat
AS WITH humans, the name of a watch brand is usually given at its birth. But not with Omega. The Swiss watch company got its name only in 1894 - nearly 50 years after it was started (in 1848) by a young watchmaker Louis Brandt, who wanted to make the most accurate watches he could.
Omega was named after a watch movement known as the 19-ligne calibre, developed by Louis' two sons and successors, Louis-Paul and Cesar. The new movement represented a big leap forward for the brothers. It was produced in series using revolutionary new methods, which instantly set a new standard for watchmaking,
The movement, the 19-ligne calibre (ligne was an old-fashioned measure of the movement's diameter), was not only very accurate, but every component that went into making it could be replaced without modification by any watchmaker in the world. Its perfect combination of winding and time-setting via the stem and crown was also ground-breaking - and is still widely used today.
The brothers crowned their new achievement "Omega" which, like the last letter of the Greek alphabet, symbolises an ultimate accomplishment. When the 19-ligne calibre proved to be a great success, they changed the name of their company's name to OMEGA Watch Co in 1904. It was by then Switzerland's biggest manufacturer of finished watches.
This year, Omega celebrates its 125th anniversary by rolling out the De Ville Tresor 125th Anniversary Edition. The new timepiece, in a 18K yellow gold case 40mm in diameter, is very much in line with the popular unaffected design and classic styling of the Omega De Ville Tresor gents' collection. But it also features for the first time in an Omega wristwatch a red enamel dial, which is inspired by the brand's iconic colour. This is matched by a burgundy leather strap with tone-on-tone stitching,
The caseback marked the 125th anniversary of its name with a special 18K yellow gold medallion filled with red enamel. Around the medallion is a decorative engraving known as damaskeening - the same swirling pattern originally used to embellish some of the unique 19-ligne "Omega" movements which were once hugely popular in the US.
At the heart of the 125th anniversary edition is the new highly anti-magnetic Omega Master Chronometer Calibre 8929 - the first hand-winding Master Chronometer movement created to pay tribute to the 19-ligne calibre.
IN A similar vein, this year, the German high-end watch brand A Lange & Sohne is also marking the 25th anniversary of its iconic model, the Lange 1. Lange says it will launch a new limited edition take on the timepiece every month, until October. The first was the Lange 1 "25th Anniversary" Edition, introduced in January.
The Grand Lange 1 Moon Phase "25th Anniversary", in a limited edition of 25 pieces, is the next watch rolled out (before this issue of Wealth Magazine goes to print). The watch has already existed in Lange's collection since 2014.
The latest model has a bigger 41mm white gold case - 2.5mm larger than the original - and a slightly different dial layout. The moon-phase display, which is correct for 122.6 years, is also larger and the big date has grown by 4 per cent.
The hand-engraved lunar disc made of solid white gold is the first for a Lange timepiece.
CHOPARD'S LUC XPS Twist QF continues the brand's commitment to source from artisanal mining cooperatives that are friendly to the environment and fair to miners. The LUC Twist is so named because the movement is rotated in the case to an unsual position, putting the crown at 4 o'clock and the sub-seconds dial at 7 o'clock. The latest model, in a 250-piece limited edition, is made of ethically certified "Fairmined" white gold. The LUC XPS Twist QF is also the only model in the LUC collection without Arabic numerals at noon, as the figure 12 in this timepiece is replaced by a double facetted hour-marker.
Appearing below the name LUC on the spot of the watch's dial, where the chronometer inscription is generally placed, are the words "Qualite Fleurier", an indication that this slim high-precision timepiece is certified by the Fleurier Quality Foundation - a certification that's the hardest to get in Swiss watchmaking, according to Chopard.
VACHERON CONSTANTIN'S Collection Excellence Platine, dedicated to the precious metal platinum, which holds a special place in prestige watchmaking, has a new addition: the Traditionnelle manual-winding in a 75-piece limited edition.
The watch, which has a mechanical hand-winding movement housed in a 38mm platinum case, is a symbol of Vacheron Constantin's spirit which embraces elegant design and a respect for the values of fine watchmaking. With the exception of the hour-markers and hands crafted from white gold, the entire watch, including the strap buckle, is made of 950 platinum. Even the stitching of the dark blue alligator leather strap is created from interwoven platinum and silk thread.
BREGUET'S Classique 5177 Grand Feu Blue Enamel is the first timepiece in the Classique 5177 collection - a collection that's defined by elegant simplicity and inspired by neoclassical lines - that has a blue enamel dial.
The hue of the dial, encased in white gold, looks simple but to get it right throughout the production process, the development of the pigments called for extensive research. "The colour needs to remain perfectly stable during firing at over 800 degrees Celsius," Breguet says.
"This is required to create a grand feu enamel, lending it a unique grain." W