The limits of magnetic testing

Press Release

The limits of magnetic testing

OMEGA has always been a pioneer in the perplexing area of anti-magnetic watchmaking. Most recently, it is the Seamaster Aqua Terra that has been at the centre of the brand’s bold achievements.

Reaching 80,000 Gauss

The 15,000 Gauss milestone had been achieved by OMEGA and quickly became the defining standard of a new Master Chronometer certification, introduced by the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology in 2015. But in keeping with its history of pushing boundaries, OMEGA wanted to prove that its watches could withstand magnetic fields measured in not five, but six figure numbers. What is the true anti-magnetic capability of an OMEGA watch?

The first experiment to find out took place in 2013, when a prototype Seamaster Aqua Terra was subjected to 80,000 gauss at the Paul Scherrer Institut (PSI) in Villigen, Switzerland. Despite the intense levels of magnetism, the OMEGA functioned perfectly after the test was completed.

The limits of magnetic testing

Reaching 160,000 Gauss

The second stage of OMEGA’s high-intensity experiments took place in 2016 at the Laboratoire National des Champs Magnetiques Intenses (LNCMI) in Grenoble, France. At LNCMI, the only facility suitable for such a watch experiment, the prototype Seamaster Aqua Terra was subjected to an extraordinary 160,000 gauss (16 tesla). Incredibly, the timepiece functioned perfectly during and after exposure to this huge magnetic field. In fact, these levels of magnetism are more suited to fundamental research than everyday use. Just the electric power required to create the 160,000 gauss magnetic field was equivalent to that of 7,000 vacuum cleaners!

Seeing is believing

To emphasize OMEGA’s incredible achievements in the area of anti-magnetic watchmaking, a dedicated showcase has been installed at the OMEGA Museum in Bienne, Switzerland. It focuses on many of the brand’s breakthrough anti-magnetic timepieces and proudly displays the prototype Seamaster Aqua Terra models used during the recent experiments. 15,000 Gauss remains the promise of OMEGA’s Master Chronometer standard, but it’s these watches that prove the brand’s true capabilities can go much higher.

Better to innovate than to protect!

By Eric Othenin-GirardSpecialised journalist
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