He knows the significance of a split second like no other, a fact that made Michael Phelps, the 22-time Olympic medallist, the ideal person to help Swiss prestige watch brand OMEGA celebrate the opening of an exhibition at the internationally renowned KaDeWe department store on 4 June 2013 dedicated to the Co-Axial calibre, an innovation that has revolutionized mechanical watchmaking in recent decades.
When the exceptional athlete arrived at the KaDeWe department store at 12:30, he was met by OMEGA President Stephen Urquhart, KaDeWe CEO Petra Fladenhofer and presenter Tanja Bülter and given a short guided tour of the exhibition. The winner of 18 Olympic gold medals then donned a watchmaker’s coat and, with the help of an OMEGA specialist, checked the precision of the OMEGA Ladymatic worn by Ms Bülter. No surprise: the specialised timing device showed that the watch had a running accuracy well within the chronometric parameters set by COSC, the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute. The world’s most celebrated swimmer then met with a group of young but ardent fans: a class from the swimming school in Neu-Kölln had the opportunity to meet and speak to their hero and to be photographed with him in the OMEGA Boutique.
In the evening, numerous guests and prominent friends of the brand including Jessica Schwarz, Florian David Fitz, Natalia Wörner, Till Brönner, Mariella Ahrens, Lisa Martinek and Ingo Naujoks went on an exciting and entertaining “journey through time” in the truest sense of the word.
To kick off the evening, the most successful Olympian of all time was warmly welcomed by Petra Fladenhofer and Stephen Urquhart. The OMEGA president outlined the theme of the exhibition saying, “Our Co-Axial calibre has set new standards. Beyond its undeniable technical qualities, this calibre is also the expression of our ultimate pursuit of perfection and the determination to make dreams come true. As you will discover in this exhibition, these are the characteristics that have underscored the development of our brand from its very beginning.”
And who could better personify the pursuit of perfection and precision than Michael Phelps? Asked about the greatest moment of his life, the outstanding sportsman who has been an OMEGA brand ambassador since 2004 said, “There have been so many highlights in recent years. I’ve been lucky enough to reach the goals that I set for myself and to meet a lot of amazing people along the way. Obviously, the last three Olympic Games were very special but I know I still have a lot of other great moments to look forward to.” Phelps, who was wearing an OMEGA Seamaster Planet Ocean Chronograph in red gold, described the timepiece as among his favourite in the brand’s collection.
Following the official part of the evening, also moderated by presenter Tanja Bülter, the invited guests and the press were given a chance to explore the exhibition, which will be open to all KaDeWe visitors until 29 June 2013, on their own. Along with the historic exhibits including the earliest Seamaster Ploprof models and an original Speedmaster Professional “Moonwatch”, a number of contemporary pieces are on display. The latest models are, of course, equipped with the OMEGA Co-Axial calibre the movement that has redefined mechanical watchmaking forever.
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