The Seamaster Aqua Terra >15,000 gauss was introduced at a press conference in a penthouse at The Setai building in New York City today. OMEGA President Stephen Urquhart opened the press conference, welcoming the media and introducing his colleagues: Jean-Claude Monachon, OMEGA Vice President and Head of Product Development, Michel Willemin, CEO of ASULAB, and Thierry Conus, the Director of Research & Development at ETA.
In his opening remarks at the press conference, Mr. Urquhart gave credit to Swatch Group’s unique ability to benefit from the contributions of the best engineers and researchers from all of its brand and companies. He added, “OMEGA has a long history of creating technologies that have allowed the mechanical watch industry to evolve. This watch marks another milestone for OMEGA and for our industry.”
Magnetism has always been an issue for watchmakers and magnets, from iPad cases to handbag closures, are more present in daily life than ever before. As Michel Willemin explained during the press conference, watchmakers have to regularly deal with watches whose performance has been compromised by exposure to magnetic fields, a problem that will be solved with the Seamaster Aqua Terra >15,000 gauss.
Thierry Conus detailed how watch brands had dealt with magnetism previously by using inner cases designed to limit a magnet’s effect on the watch’s internal components. However, such an approach is limited: these attempts couldn’t withstand stronger magnetic forces and, from an aesthetic standpoint, the inner cases blocked the view of the movement.
Tasked by the CEO of Swatch Group, G. N. Hayek to create a totally non-magnetic watch, OMEGA, with engineers, scientists and metallurgists from its sister companies at the Swatch Group, met the challenge. The technology developed by the team led to the first prototype of the movement, but unlike past efforts, the OMEGA movement does not rely on a protective container inside the watchcase to protect from magnetism. The new movement succeeds by relying on selected non-ferrous materials in the movement itself. Several patents are pending for the new movement.
The prototype is being launched in the Aqua Terra model, but OMEGA plans to roll out the technology to its larger collection.
Jean Claude Monachon reminded attendees at the press conference of OMEGA’s long history of technological innovation, dating back to 1894. Two of the most recent introductions include Liquidmetal® technology, which allows a bond between ceramics and Liquidmetal®, a zirconium-based alloy, and OMEGA Ceragold ™, which is the first product to allow the decoration of ceramic watch parts with 18K gold, a technology that took years to master. The brand’s Co-Axial escapement, introduced to the collection 13 years ago, has allowed OMEGA to produce some of the most accurate and efficient mechanical watches on the market.
OMEGA expects to present the technology behind the Aqua Terra >15,000 gauss at the Baselworld trade fair in April.
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