Just in time for the holidays in this turbulent year of 2020, Omega turns to its past for inspiration, offering new ways to make this year good again. Recently, the brand released a host of new timepieces for 2020, and while we can’t bring you all of them in this one feature, we can focus on a couple of standout Omega Seamaster and Speedmaster watches that – if you are an Omega fan – you won’t want to miss.
While it’s a long name, the newest Seamaster Diver 300 Meter Chronograph Titanium and Tantalum deserves a long name, in fact, it could even add Sedna™ Gold to the title. Officious? Perhaps, but the watch actually is that impressive. To begin with, it is crafted using three different materials – each of which has its own unique properties that, when brought together in one watch, elevates the overall durability. Additionally, these materials are blended with top-notch watch mechanics and powerful dive watch abilities.
Omega unveiled its first watch made of tantalum in 1993. Now, almost three decades later, it brings tantalum to the forefront again. The material’s distinctive bluish-gray tones are a beautiful complement to the titanium and the blue dial. More importantly, though, this rare material is incredibly hard (harder than steel) and extremely corrosion-resistant — making it the perfect material for a dive watch. In this 44mm watch, tantalum is used for bracelet link inserts (surrounded by Sedna™ Gold) and for the base of the bezel.
This brings us to the decorative — yet also highly functional – 18-karat Sedna™ Gold – used to outline the tantalum bracelet links, for the bezel and for the crown, helium escape valve, and pusher tops. Omega’s proprietary 18-karat Sedna™ Gold, made of gold, copper, and palladium, is more resistant to wear and tear than regular gold and possesses a richer red hue. It is named for the tiny orbiting planet Sedna said to be one of the reddest planets in our solar system. For this watch, Omega creates the bezel with a matte finish but showcases the laser-ablated diving scale in a polished finish for contrast. There is even a Sedna™ Gold plate on the case side that is engraved with the watch’s serial number.
Grade 2 titanium comprises the rest of the watch, from case to bracelet and buckle. Titanium is also an excellent choice for a sports watch because it is highly resistant to corrosion and is a very strong material. It is also hypo-allergenic, antimagnetic, and extremely light in weight compared to steel. As if all of these materials were not enough, Omega goes a step further and creates the dial out of polished blue ceramic with laser-engraved waves. Even the subsidiary dial rings are Sedna™ Gold.
An interesting note about this watch is its case back. Most dive watches water-resistant to 300 meters have closed case backs. This one, though, boasts a sapphire crystal with the Omega Seahorse laser engraved. How else could the brand show off the incredible Co-Axial Master Chronometer movement, Caliber 9900. The automatic movement offers a column wheel and a vertical clutch and is magnetic resistant to 15,000 gausses. Packed with 60 hours of power reserve, the movement is a titan underwater. This watch is being built in a numbered edition.
From Seamaster to Speedmaster, Omega has more to celebrate. In fact, the year 2020 marks a momentous occasion for Omega watches, as well. It is the 50th anniversary of the brand’s being awarded the incredibly prestigious “Silver Snoopy Award” by NASA. It was in 1970 that NASA honored the brand for the role it played in the fated Apollo 13 mission. Easily one of the most important and coveted prize, the Silver Snoopy Award is not given out lightly. Still, during the Apollo 13 mission, when the astronauts had to shut down the majority of their equipment and yet perfectly time their re-entry to Earth’s atmosphere, they relied on their Omega Speedmaster watch. It delivered.
Now, in honor of that momentous occasion, Omega unveils the Silver Snoopy Award 50th Anniversary watch – and it is a deft blend of celebration and top mechanics. The watch showcases the famed Snoopy character from Charles M. Schulz’s Peanuts comic strips. NASA selected Snoopy as its mascot for the safety program in 1968 and named the award after the fearless, compassionate and loveable dog. For the Silver Snoopy Award, Schulz designed the beagle in a spacesuit, and a silver pin was created as the award for those who contribute in a significant way to the “success of human space flight missions.”
Omega, which had been flight-qualified by NASA for all manned space missions in 1965, became the first watch worn on the moon in 1969. A year later, two days into the Apollo 13 mission, an explosion forced the astronauts into the Lunar Module. Not equipped for all the astronauts or for long-term life support, the module was powered down to save energy and Commander James Lovell used his Omega Speedmaster Chronograph to burn fuel for exactly 14 seconds in order to properly time their re-entry to Earth’s atmosphere.
The watch made to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Award is crafted in steel with a silver and blue dial and blue ceramic tachymeter bezel. It features the image from the pin of Snoopy in a spacesuit inside the subsidiary dial at 9:00. The caseback, though, is where things get very interesting. A cartoon of Snoopy in a lunar module actually moves as he heads back from the moon. The animation on the case back may well be more exciting than the dial of this celebratory watch. The moon’s surface is decorated using a metallization process and the blue disk that represents Earth in the distance rotates once every minute.
On the inside of the blue nylon strap, a trajectory of the Apollo 13 space ship can be seen, and above Snoopy’s capsule are the words “Eyes on the Stars.” The watch houses the brand’s Co-Axial Master Chronometer Caliber 3861 with Master Chronometer certification from METAS (the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology).
Naturally, Omega also unveiled a host of other new timepieces for 2020, but these highlights – with their innovative designs – seem to underscore the brand’s creativity for the year.
About the Author
Roberta Naas is a veteran watch and jewelry journalist who began her career in the early 1980’s, and was the first female watch journalist in the United States. She is the editor and founder of the authoritative watch blog, ATimelyPerspective, has written six books on watches, writes for numerous consumer publications (including Forbes and Elite Traveler) – and always brings forth in her work the essence of what makes watches tick. She tirelessly travels the world in search of watch news and stories that she turns into compelling and enlightening articles.