News detail

1 February 2007

Omega and the world of sailing


Long before anyone even dreamed of today’s sleek high-tech boats, on-board computers and satellite navigation systems, Omega was known to the world’s sailors as a maker of precision marine chronometers used to navigate the high seas, and was the only instrument-maker to produce a wristwatch officially certified as a marine chronometer. The Omega Marine Chronometer wristwatch earned its place in history when it helped French sailing legend Eric Tabarly to victories in the OSTAR east-west transatlantic race in 1964 and again in 1976. Today, Omega remains closely associated with the world of sailing in a variety of ways, ranging from its role as Official Timekeeper of such notable events as the Transat 2004 to the Swiss prestige brand’s sponsorship of the America’s Cup competitor, Emirates Team New Zealand. Omega is also well represented by such exceptional sailors as Ellen MacArthur, Russell Coutts, Dean Barker and Mateusz Kusznierewicz, all of whom serve as Omega brand ambassadors, and the Omega Seamaster remains a popular choice among sailors in need of a highly precise, robust and reliable timepiece.

Ellen MacArthur — Omega Ambassador Extraordinaire

On 7th February 2005, Ellen MacArthur achieved what many had thought impossible: she broke Francis Joyon’s solo round-the-world sailing record, with a time of 71 days, 14 hours, 18 minutes and 33 seconds. Omega is particularly proud to have been the official timekeeper of Ellen’s record-breaking voyage, with the on-board Omega clock counting down every nail-biting second. Her astonishing achievement earned her the title of Dame, which was officially bestowed upon her by Queen Elizabeth II. In 2006, Ellen set a new overall record on her Asian circuit from the North to the South of Asia, beating 12 different records in all. Omega has supported Ellen MacArthur’s extraordinary endeavours since 2002, when she became an ambassador for the brand.

Omega and the America’s Cup

Omega’s association with the America’s Cup, the most prestigious event in match race sailing, began in 1995 in San Diego with Omega’s support for the Edmund Hillary of the seas, Sir Peter Blake. The New Zealander’s success in San Diego paved the way for the Swiss prestige brand to become official timekeeper for the America’s Cup 2000 in Auckland, where Sir Peter and Team New Zealand successfully defended their title. In 2003, the brand once again served as official timekeeper of the America’s Cup. When Sir Peter retired from professional sailing, Omega continued to support him as one of the main sponsors of his blakexpeditions project, and the brand upholds Sir Peter Blake’s legacy today with its support for Emirates Team New Zealand skipper, Dean Barker.

Omega’s sponsorship activities in sailing date back to the early 1990s. From 1992-1995, Omega was title sponsor of the Omega Match Race Sailing Circuit, which grouped together 10 international events and served as the initial training ground for today’s top match race sailors. Omega was Official Timekeeper of the 1993-1994 Whitbread Round the World Race and watch supplier to the winning yacht, NZ Endeavour. The brand sponsored the 1994-1995 BOC single-handed around the world challenge and has been Official Timekeeper of the Swedish Match Cup since 1996. Omega served as Official Timekeeper of the Nioulargue from 1995-1999, the Voiles de St. Tropez from 2000-2002, the UBS Regatta in Newport, USA, and was title sponsor of the 2003/04 Asian Yachting Circuit, which comprised four events covering six countries. Omega served as Official Timekeeper of the America’s Cup in 2000 and 2003 and as Official Timekeeper and Principal Partner of the Transat 2004, the single-handed east/west transatlantic race. Omega remains the official partner for Transat 2008, coming up next year.  Omega is the Official Watch of Emirates Team New Zealand, one of the top teams competing in the 32nd America’s Cup.

The Omega Seamaster

Omega, the Greek letter for perfection, is a perfect symbol of every match race sailor’s secret ambition—to perform to perfection. Omega is proud to be the preferred choice of such magnificent sailors as Ellen MacArthur, Russell Coutts, Olympic gold and bronze medallist Mateusz Kusznierewicz and Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker. In 2007, the 17 crew members of the Emirates Team New Zealand will wear the Omega Seamaster Chrono Regatta watch, an elegant and fitting symbol of Omega and its long relationship to the world of sailing.