From record-breaking deep-sea dives to lunar landings, Omega’s legacy is replete with large-scale accomplishments. The first of this year’s big achievements is in fact rather tiny.
Omega’s latest Speedmaster is fine-tuned for precision thanks to the Spirate™ System, which includes a revolutionary new patent-pending spiral that allows for ultra-fine rate adjustments. Thanks to this one-of-a-kind mechanism, it is now possible for Omega to achieve certified precision of only 0/+2 seconds a day.
To meet these narrow targets, Omega had to quite literally reinvent the wheel: drawing on both the technical resources of the Swatch Group and the precision, stability and reliabity of Omega’s chronometrically superior in-house movements.
The innovative solution was a totally new Si14 balance spring which allows the watchmaker to act on the stiffness of the hairspring’s attachment point through an eccentric adjustment mechanism located on the balance bridge.
This new approach, based on the design of a high precision articulated structure with flexible bearings, is a superb example of Omega’s willingness to run with new ideas and take up difficult challenges.
The Road to Spirate™ is paved with milestones: technological bricks set down by Omega over a quarter of a century. Each innovation is a credit to Omega’s pioneering spirit and an essential building block in the brand’s latest achievement.
1999: Co-Axial Escapement
Invented by British watchmaker Georges Daniels and developed by Omega, the Co-Axial Escapement eliminated the centuries-old problem of friction by reducing contact surfaces and limiting the necessity for oiling, which compromises precision over time.
2008: Si14 Silicon Balance Spring
A key component of the Co-Axial Escapement is Omega’s Si14 balance spring. Despite being three times finer than a human hair, Omega’s silicon spring is super resilient, shock resistant and completely unaffected by magnetic fields.
2013: World’s first truly anti-magnetic movement
The Si14 balance spring and other non-ferromagnetic materials allowed the brand to create a movement that could resist extreme levels of magnetism. The Co-Axial Calibre 8508, which powered Omega’s Seamaster Aqua Terra >15’000 GAUSS.
2015: The Master Chronometer
Omega’s Master Chronometer certification went well beyond the industry benchmark. The 283-step process set by the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology (METAS) involves 8 tests over 10 days, designed to push a timepiece to its absolute limits.
Omega’s Spirate™ System includes a new patent-pending spiral that allows for ultra-fine rate adjustments. Each innovative spiral is made from a silicon wafer, thanks to an internal manufacturing process called DRIE (Deep Reactive Ion Etching).
The Speedmaster Super Racing
The first timepiece to include Omega’s fine-tune Spirate™ System is the Speedmaster Super Racing in stainless steel. A visual tribute to Omega’s 2013 anti-magnetic masterpiece which offers a clear view of the new mechanism through the sapphire crystal caseback.
Circling the dial is the distinctive racing style minute-track and a black ceramic bezel ring with the famous tachymeter scale in new yellow “grand feu” enamel. This bold yellow shade, featured on the Seamaster Aqua Terra >15’000 GAUSS of 2013, is also used on the gradient chronograph hand and striped small seconds hand at 9 o’clock. The watch’s 60 minute/12 hour recorder, directly opposite at 3 o’clock, also serves as a second time zone. The honeycomb pattern of the dial references a concept timepiece on display at Omega Museum which survived extreme magnetic fields of 160,000 GAUSS.
Providing the power is Omega’s state-of-the-art Co-Axial Master Chronometer 9920, a perfect amalgamation of the many milestones of the road to Spirate™ and certified at the industry’s highest level by the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology (METAS).
As always, proof of this certification is provided by a distinctive red METAS card, which in this case includes confirmation of the 0/+2 seconds a day precision made possible at large scale by the industrialisation of the Spirate™ System.
The diamond-polished and bevelled black arrowhead indexes are filled with a new and exclusive Super-LumiNova which emits a surprising yellow glow. This colour code extends to the Speedmaster and Super Racing wording on the dial.
At 6 o’clock there’s a stylish and regular reminder of the >15’000 GAUSS 10 year- anniversary: a “10” in Speedmaster logo font, which appears once a month in the watch’s date window.
The new Speedmaster Super Racing includes a sporty alternative to the steel bracelet. A NATO strap in recycled nylon with black and yellow stripes, referencing the distinctive colour code of the Seamaster Aqua Terra >15’000 GAUSS launched exactly 10 years ago.
Off-the-wrist home for Omega’s collectable is a honeycomb pattern Speedmaster watch box in black with yellow stitching. The special presentation box includes the recycled nylon NATO strap and a strap changing tool.
Spirate™ set to spin into the future
As the spiral is the most complex component of the regulating organ in a mechanical watch, creating the new Spirate™ System was a significant challenge. Therefore, Omega is determined to make the best of this hard-won innovation. The brand’s long-term plan is to introduce the new Spirate™ System step-by step into many other calibres.
The tiny spiral has a big future. Stay tuned!
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