First Omega Wrist-chronograph Limited Edition
Just a few days ago I was discussing how some of the most exclusive car manufacturers would offer a complete restoration and certification service for vintage cars like Ferrari do with their Ferrari Classiche program or Aston Martin with their Aston Martin Restoration program. In the world of watchmaking, this concept already existed - OMEGA already offers a restoration service that is accessible to every one of their customers.
Starting on 2 July 2018 OMEGA marked yet another milestone in their history and carried out an extraordinary operation, because 18 caliber 18''' CHRO calibres dating back to 1913, and hosted inside the Biel manufacturer’s museum were entirely restored by the watchmakers of OMEGA's Atelier Tourbillon and then put up for sale as the modern re-edition of the "OMEGA First Wrist Chronograph" in a super-limited edition.
The 18’’’ CHRO Calibre
In 47.5mm of diameter lies the famous Omega 18''' CHRO calibre; one of the first watch calibres with a chronograph function entirely restored and sporting a perlage decoration. The master watchmakers had to rebuild some of the original components, such as the toothed wheels, and because each one of the 18 restored calibres is different from the others, every single movement can actually tell its personal story through its unique components that were perfectly reconstructed ad hoc.
The movement is, of course, manual and it guarantees a power reserve of about 40 hours that can be managed through the crown located at 3 o'clock, while at 6 o'clock lies the single button controlling the chronograph function.
The new embroidery
The case and dial have been revised while trying to remain as faithful as possible to the roots of the chronograph. The case is made of 18K white gold in contrast with the winding crown, while the chronograph button and the seconds hand are both made of 18K Sedna gold - an alloy patented by OMEGA. A particular trait that I am quite fond of is the 18K white gold opening that allows you to see the calibre through a sapphire crystal that has undergone an anti-glare treatment on both sides.
In the upper part, the dial fully mimics the style of the chronograph of the time, thanks to the small seconds located at 9 o'clock. At 3 o'clock lies the minutes counter with its 15' scale; a feature appreciated by WWI aviators, as it guaranteed a high degree of readability. Again for the same readability reasons, all the hands (except for the seconds one) are "empire blue" in colour and in perfect contrast to the lacquered white dial with its big-sized hollow Arabic numbers.
I am listing the strap in this paragraph because I consider it to be an outfit or a separate topic. In the presentation box we can find three riveted straps with a buckle pin; one is part of the original equipment and is brown, one is brown in color, but more leaning towards a red colour, and, finally, a light brown strap that can be replaced using a special tool with a wooden body to fully support the vintage style of this kit.
The set also comes with a loupe and a with a brown leather travel bag. The attention to detail of the box is really high - as you would rightly expect from an OMEGA item of this level - and it is clearly seen in the clasps of the box and in the key lock - OMEGA’s symbol sporting the font from that time.
Eighteen unique pieces and an extremely limited issue retailing at 120,000 Swiss Francs; I would guess all of them have been sold out already, but if you want to get some more information, I would suggest contacting your closest OMEGA boutique.
(Photo credit: courtesy of Omega watches)
Matteo Bulla @Horbiter®