2019 Omega Masters In Crans-Montana: Innovation, Precision, And Celebrities
Beyond Omega's unquestionable expertise in the precise timing of sports, Omega also demonstrates its relevance in the world of golf. To better understand the brand’s impact on the fairway, Watchonista became immersed in this world of precision, passion, and celebrity.
The Official Timekeeper of the Olympic Games since 1932, Omega’s longtime involvement in sports extends into many disciplines. In 2001, the brand again extended their reach to golf with its sponsorship of the Omega Masters (originally called the Swiss Open). Through these associations, the Biel manufacture not only demonstrates its intrinsic innovation but promotes its values.
The Perfect Manufacture – Sportsman Collaboration
The brand’s commitment to golf already gave rise to a series of Seamaster Aqua Terra Golf models in 2018. However, this year Omega goes further, at all levels.
Rory McIlroy, the number two ranked golfer in the world and two-time winner of the prestigious FedEx Cup (the highest US championship in the world), first met members of the brand in 2008 at his first professional tournament in Crans-Montana. Over the years, their relationship developed naturally, and he has been a faithful Omega ambassador since 2013.
After years of working in collaboration with the Northern Irishman, this year’s Omega Masters features the debut of a new Seamaster Aqua Terra: the Ultra Light. But this watch is not simply "endorsed" by the golf champion. He actively participated in its creation. He explains: "I drew and designed golf clubs before, so I have a distinct idea of the necessary qualities of the tools that demand the practice of this sport. I can feel a difference of 1 or 2 grams in a club. Omega was very attentive to my comments. I was able to make my contribution in terms of weight, light reflection, and overall comfort, especially for the bracelet and the crown."
As a result of McIlroy's input, this Seamaster Aqua Terra Ultra Light weighs only 55 grams! A relatively new alloy, Gamma Titanium, was used for the case, caseback, and crown. Also called titanium aluminide, this alloy is harder and lighter than conventional titanium. These gains in resistance and impressive lightness allow for the Ultra-Thin's use in sports, even extreme sports.
But that's not all. The movement was improved as well. Based on the design of the renowned 8910 caliber, the bridges and main plate were manufactured in ceramised titanium for a 30% cut in weight.
Omega and Rory did not stop there. For optimum ergonomics, the crown becomes telescopic and retracts in one click between two contoured crown guards. Additionally, the NATO bracelet was replaced with an adjustable elastic strap.
The result? The pro golfers stated it best. Tommy Fleetwood, another great champion of the Omega team and winner of the prestigious Ryder Cup (the biannual U.S. v. Europe golf tournament and 4th most-watched sports event in the world), explained: "I played with the watch all day, and I completely forgot that I was wearing it! This is the best compliment I can [give]!"
Sergio García, the multi-time winner on the European and American circuits and the 2017 winner of the coveted Masters Tournament at Augusta National, agreed: "I usually do not wear anything on my wrist when I play. I played with the Ultra-Light all-tournament as if the timepiece was not there. It's impressive!" And, with a 72-hour power reserve, golfers will only need to wind it once during a 4-day competition.
The price of this sporty watch par excellence? $48,600. Although expensive for a Seamaster Aqua Terra, Raynald Aeschlimann, president & CEO of Omega, explained: "The technology is new, and the alloy is hugely complex to manufacture. Years of work were necessary to achieve the Aqua Terra Ultra-Light into a Master certified chronometer Omega offering unparalleled comfort. There is not a standard component in this timepiece. This is a significant technological innovation." McIlroy agreed: "The accuracy of the production process and the quality of the finished product makes a watch entirely apart. I love it!"
The Omega Spirit
To celebrate the launch of this innovative timepiece, Omega organized a grand event at the Cry d’Err restaurant. A Hollywood-style celebrity audience accompanied the Omega Team Golf Champions to Celebrity Pro-Am the day before the tournament.
Justin Timberlake, Michael Pena, and Dennis Quaid joined the ceremony in a relaxed atmosphere. Actors Anthony Mackie and Jessica Biel along with singer Niall Horan brought their own touches of humor and finesse to the proceedings. Mr. Aeschlimann was visibly moved during his acceptance speech before starting the festivities. The authenticity of the guests, the passion that drives the teams, and the quality of the watchmaking results was truly overwhelming.
All of the Omega spirit was summarized in this magnificent event at the Omega Masters. And this exceptional timepiece? A real hole in one!
(Images provided by OMEGA)