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10 August 2006

OMEGA presents FROM THE MOON TO THE SUN in KaDeWe and sets milestone in solar energy

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OMEGA opened its special exhibition FROM THE MOON TO THE SUN, spread over 500m², in the foyer of the legendary deluxe Berlin department store KaDeWe. The exhibition, which runs until 16 September, presents OMEGA’s top pioneering achievements and its latest project – the partnership with SolarImpulse.

In a panel discussion, the project’s initiators and partners spoke about their unique venture: Nick Hayek, Swatch Group CEO, and Stephen Urquhart, OMEGA President, as well as Bertrand Piccard, President of SolarImpulse, and André Borschberg, CEO, both of which are also pilots of SolarImpulse, answered questions from the audience, which included renowned solar energy and aviation experts.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

As host, the Managing Director of KaDeWe, Patrice Wagner, first welcomed the guests and underlined the values which the legendary Berlin department store and OMEGA have in common: ‘Both names do not just stand for luxury and the highest elegance – we also share a pioneering spirit and the willingness to take on new adventures and this is integral to our success.’

Nick Hayek presented the latest OMEGA project to the German public for the first time: SolarImpulse is a solar airplane that is to fly day and night right around the world propelled solely by solar energy. ‘SolarImpulse is a project of great importance’, explained Hayek. ‘The challenge lies both in the technology and the message. We have to focus our efforts on research into alternative energies and spread these around the world,” the Swatch Group CEO went on to say. The company is investing a total of around 15 million Swiss francs in the project as well as providing staff and benefits in kind.

Stephen Urquhart, OMEGA President, explained why the company got involved: ‘The Omega brand is predestined for this project – everyone talks about luxury, but the greatest luxury of all is our planet Earth. We must increase awareness for our natural resources otherwise we run the risk of destroying them forever for future generations’.

The future pilots Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg thanked the guests for their lively interest in this visionary project. “New technologies are the basis for every modern adventure, because projects like SolarImpulse go far beyond pure self-realization. They are now measured by whether they help humankind achieve and secure a better future’.

A 1:13 model of the airplane is on display to show the scale of SolarImpulse. The exhibition also traces the various stages in the development of the project and visualizes the steps remaining before the maiden flight scheduled for 2011. OMEGA is supporting SolarImpulse as main sponsor and technical supplier for microelectronics and micromechanics.

Since the early days of the company, OMEGA has undertaken pioneering projects and developed extremely precise and contemporary timepieces. These are also on display at the KaDeWe exhibition. Timepieces exhibited include the Speedmaster Moonwatch, which in 1965 passed the NASA tests and thereupon selected for use in manned space flights. A further highlight presented by OMEGA is an ‘Ultra Thin’ wristwatch, which belonged to American President John F. Kennedy. In addition, OMEGA is showing Lawrence of Arabia’s flyer chronograph from the year 1915 and various timepieces that were used during the Olympic Games.

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