On 27 occasions since 1932, OMEGA has fulfilled the role of Official Timekeeper at the Olympic Games. From the start line to the scoreboard, we have been in charge of every second in every event. What a challenge. What an honour!
A lone Swiss watchmaker arrived in Los Angeles in 1932 with 30 split-second chronographs. Now, a team of timekeeping professionals is supported by up to 450 tons of equipment but the goal remains the same: to deliver flawless timing to the world’s finest competitors.
Every edition of the Olympic Games has memorable moments but some truly stand out.
Sports Technical Director William Henry wrote, “It is impossible to contemplate the wonderfully successful Olympic Games without recognizing the part played by OMEGA in this great international event.” A partnership had begun.
At the Berlin 1936 Games, the great Jesse Owens (USA) memorably won four gold medals in the days when athletes dug their own starting holes with small shovels. OMEGA timed every outstanding performance.
OMEGA used the photoelectric cell for the first time at the 1948 Olympic Winter Games in St. Moritz and at the Games in London. It was at this Olympiad that machines began to out-perform human beings for accuracy.
The electronics era arrived. The OMEGA Time Recorder allowed results to be printed, winning OMEGA the prestigious Croix du Mérite Olympique. Official times were now recorded to the nearest hundredth of a second.
The Omegascope introduced the concept of real time in televised sports, superimposing numbers on the bottom of the screen; it revolutionized timekeeping when it debuted in Innsbruck, the first fully electronic Games.
The most talked-about technology in Mexico City was the touch pad in the pool that allowed the swimmer’s own hand to stop the clock, eliminating the need for poolside timekeepers. It remains a timekeeping milestone.
At the 1992 Winter Games in Albertville, speed skaters were treated to the OMEGA Scan-O-Vision system that digitally measured times to the nearest thousandth of a second as the skaters crossed the finish line.
The most talked-about bit of new sports timekeeping equipment In Vancouver was the Electronic Start System. A streamlined, futuristic red flash gun and a sound generation box replaced the traditional starting pistol.
With an enhanced resolution of 1 µs (one millionth of a second) the Quantum Timer heralded a new generation of OMEGA Timing products. There is a maximum variation of only one second out of ten million seconds.
When the world's best winter athletes compete for victory at PyeongChang 2018, OMEGA will once again serve as Official Timekeeper, measuring every glorious moment - and recording every dream - for the 28th time in Olympic Games history.
The OMEGA Olympic Games Pocket Watch Chronographs in 18K red, white or yellow gold are powered by rediscovered movement kits that had been in storage at OMEGA HQ since 1932. They bring the storied pocket chronograph back to life.