To celebrate OMEGA's longstanding partnership with the America's Cup, the prestige Swiss watchmaker is launching a new collection dedicated to the pinnacle of competitive sailing. The new watches, the OMEGA America's Cup Chronograph and the America's Cup Racing Chronograph, will be proudly worn by Team New Zealand as their watch of choice.
The OMEGA Seamaster Professional Chrono-Diver already has a considerable pedigree. Launched in 1993, it represented the top of the range in the new Seamaster Professional 300m line – a collection of divers watches guaranteed water resistant to a depth of 300m. All the watches in this collection are equipped with OMEGA's helium escape valve, which can be opened during resurfacing to allow helium molecules to escape from the watch and thus prevent the crystal from being pushed out during decompression. Furthermore, the Chrono-Diver was the first chronograph in the world with pushbuttons that could operate at a depth of 300m. Its qualities were tested in 1993, when French freediver Roland Specker set a new world freshwater freediving record in Lake Neuchâtel at a depth of 80 metres with a dive time of 2 minutes 33 seconds. Freshwater is much colder and darker than the sea and is therefore a much greater challenge for the diver... But not a problem for the robust Seamaster Professional Chrono-Diver, which easily coped with such extreme treatment. The quality and reliability of the Chrono-Diver was confirmed when it received the award "Uhr des Jahres 1994" [Watch of the Year 1994] from the renowned German trade publication Armbanduhren International. It accompanied Specker again in 1996 when he set another new world record at 60 metres in Lake Neuchâtel in the variable weight category, in which divers must resurface using their flippers alone. A test of stamina for the diver; just a normal day's work for the OMEGA Seamaster Professional Chrono-Diver!
The new Chrono-Diver models are based on the same proven design of their forerunners, with certain aesthetic and technical modifications to prepare them for their important role in the forthcoming America's Cup 2003. The case has a screw-in back, helium escape valve and screw-in crown with double watertightness system (O-ring gasket and decompression gasket), which guarantees water resistance to a depth of 300 metres. The characteristic wave imprint on the dial of all Seamaster Professional models makes way for a pure dial available exclusively in black – the only colour that could represent New Zealand! The flange has been removed from the dial, which opens up the face of the watch and highlights the two most significant changes to the new Chrono-Diver. Firstly, the America's Cup inscription on the dial confirms that this prestigious timepiece is an official OMEGA America's Cup watch. Secondly, the totalisers have been displaced to 3 o'clock, 6 o'clock and 9 o'clock, with a new date window at 6 o'clock, signifying that a new heart beats inside this model.
The heart in question is the totally new and exclusive OMEGA calibre 3303 column-wheel chronograph movement. First used in the new Speedmaster Broad Arrow, it adds a touch of prestige and the very latest in watchmaking technology to the Seamaster Professional Chrono-Diver. It is a certified chronometer movement with a power reserve of 55 hours and a column-wheel mechanism (produced by only a few watch manufacturers due to its complexity), which offers greater precision in the operation of the chronograph functions. The calibre 3303 is also fitted with the OMEGA free sprung-balance, which helps to maintain better stability of the watch's going rate over longer periods of use.
The OMEGA Seamaster Professional Chrono-Diver is available in steel with a black aluminium ring on a stainless steel bezel or in titanium with a brushed steel ring on a titanium bezel or a red-gold ring with raised markers on a tantalum bezel. During the development of the watch, the members of Team New Zealand stressed the importance of titanium. They particularly appreciate its anti-allergenic and ultra-resistant properties, but above all its lightness, since it means that the watch does not hinder the crew members as each one performs their crucial activity during races. Furthermore, all models have large luminous hour markers on the dial and easily legible skeleton hands coated with Super Luminova for excellent visibility at night and in poor light conditions. Each is available with a matching bracelet in stainless steel or titanium with a foldover safety clasp. The bracelet sets new standards in comfort: unlike most conventional watch bracelets, which are tapered in width, the new Chrono-Diver bracelet is tapered in thickness, which makes it considerably more comfortable to wear. A rubber strap with foldover clasp is also available.
The second model in the new collection is the America's Cup Racing Chronograph. Still firmly rooted in the traditional design of the Seamaster range, the new model has been developed in conjunction with Team New Zealand, which assisted with the specifications. Skipper Dean Barker also provided useful input on-site in the design workshops at OMEGA Headquarters in Bienne, Switzerland.
The result of this collaborative effort is a highly robust watch with a regatta countdown timer, since timing is crucial to yachtsmen during the 15 minutes preceding the start of the race – the period during which the skipper aims to position his yacht to ensure that he crosses the starting line as near to the gun as possible. To assist the skipper with his tactics, the new OMEGA America's Cup watch has a specially designed dial with a semicircle of 5 dots. A simple press of a button at the first gun triggers the countdown mechanism, which clearly indicates the time remaining, as the dots gradually fill with a different colour as each successive 5-minute period elapses. A counter at 9 o'clock, divided into the same three colours, gives a constant overview of the elapsed time. All these functions are amply accommodated in a sturdy case with a large 43mm diameter, which allows for the clear legibility required to read off the remaining time in an instant.
This exclusive watch will naturally come with all the familiar features of the Seamaster range, such as a high-precision mechanical movement, unidirectional rotating bezel with minute scale for dive time recording or a second timing function, stainless steel strap or rubber bracelet with safety clasp and pushbuttons that function to a depth of 300 metres. Furthermore, this timepiece will benefit from unique field trials prior to its launch, thanks to OMEGA's association with Team New Zealand, who will be putting the watch through its paces as part of their stringent tests on all of their equipment for the next America's Cup. By the time it comes on to the market, this new Seamaster will therefore already be a genuine master of the sea!
Whatever the choice of model, the materials used and the proven OMEGA technology employed in the new Seamaster Professional Chrono-Diver ensure that it will emerge from any challenge it may face unblemished and functioning perfectly.
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