Top picks from Basel World 2016: Omega Globemaster ‘Annual Calendar’

globemaster annual calendar

Background

Omega introduced the Globemaster in 2015 – the first watch in the world to be certified as a ‘Master Chronometer’.

globy
The Omega Globemaster that made its debut in 2015

Prior to this, the gold standard was ‘COSC Chronometer’. The Controle Officiel Suisse des Chronometres (COSC) is the official institute responsible for certifying the accuracy and precision of wristwatches in Switzerland.

The COSC tests were devised to separate the great from the good; less than 3% of watches sent for testing come away with the honour of having ‘COSC chronometer’ on their dials.

The Master Chronometer further separates the very best from the great. Timekeeping accuracy is the name of the game here, defined by how much time a watch gains/loses in a day. Why does this matter? After all, the average person has no need for this level of precision and losing more than 10 or even 100 seconds per day on a watch hardly seems like an issue.

As a matter of fact, no, it is not an issue at all. The appreciation of a watch’s accuracy (and the desire of acquisition arising from it) is not rooted in rationale of any form.

Rather, as watch lovers would tell you, it is the satisfaction of wearing an over-engineered mechanical watch that was over-engineered for the sole purpose of showing the world that, however impossible as previously thought to be, it can be done and we’ve done it.

True watch lovers wear a watch to impress themselves, not others.

The outside

Aesthetically, the Globemaster ‘Annual Calendar’ is almost identical to the ‘normal’ Globemaster.

The pie pan dial – a perennial favourite first introduced into the Constellation series in the 1950s – returns. The pie pan is widely regarded among Constellation nuts as the best incarnation of the series (self included) and adds an additional layer of dimension to an otherwise flat and simple dial.

The addition of the ‘Constellation Star’ is also a subtle nod to the well loved design half a century back.

pie pan
A solid gold vintage Omega Constellation

Seeing the spaces within each pie pan duct filled with text takes a bit of getting used to but the usage of graceful cursive font in blue, blends very nicely with the blued hands and strap. The ice white applied onto the Super-Luminova coated hour/minute hands and index markers jumps out at you and provides a powerful contrast ensuring top notch legibility.

Unfortunately, there is no quick set date function. Instead, Omega has implemented a ‘quick jump’ hour hand so each turn of the crown instantaneously ‘jumps’ the hour hand an hour forward. This is a little puzzling and would prove to be a formidable task if you’ve not worn your watch for a month.

globemaster 2

According to Omega, the brushed grey sunbust dial reacts to light differently depending on the angle of its source, allowing for some breathtaking colour shifts. 

Case size has been bumped up slightly from 39 mm to 41 mm, in hopes of making the pie pan dial more pronounced. Looking at only the pictures though, I’m not quite sure if it makes any significant difference but 41 mm is a very comfortable size that should fit most wrists.

The case is made from brushed stainless steel which is always good in keeping prices low. Well-heeled ones will also be glad to know that there’s another version in Omega’s trademarked Sedna Gold.

globemaster sedna gold

Surrounded by a polished fluted bezel constructed from tungsten carbide, it oozes just that wee bit of aggression on an otherwise very refined face. Tungsten carbide is a material used in making cutting tools and is extremely hard so you need not worry about shirt cuff scratches. For that matter, you need not worry about scratching it at all.

The stainless steel model will come with an alligator leather strap in a darker shade (compared to the dial and hands) of very royal looking blue.

The insides

The movement of choice is Calibre 8922, which was developed in-house and as mentioned above, passed the METAS tests to obtain a ‘Master Chronometer’ rating.

To elaborate more about COSC’s tests, a watch’s uncased movement will be measured for accuracy against 2 atomic clocks, monitored by 7 cameras over the course of 15 days, in 5 positions at 3 different temperatures. Precision had to be kept within a -4/+6 (losing 4 seconds or gaining 6 seconds) per day among other tests.

The maximum variation allowed for a movement in different thermal conditions was +/- 0.6 seconds. There are also 5 additional measurements tracking the mean and greatest deviation in rates, horizontal and vertical differences, as well as the speed of rate resumption – all of which had to be kept within strict boundaries allowing a very slight margin of error.

Under METAS, the tests cover all of COSC’s but with more testing positions, plus 2 additional ones – the movement’s ability to withstand magnetic fields up to 15,000 gauss and its precision at varied power reserve levels.

globemaster caseback

A clear case back allows you to peek into the engines working behind the scene. While the front of the watch looks stunning, the work has not been discounted on the back – multiple bridge plates, Geneva stripes, and my all time favourite: the observatory logo. The references to the Constellation series remain consistent but seeing as to how the case back is engraved with its name sake, does this mean that the Globemaster falls under the Constellation series product line?

The Verdict

The Omega Globemaster ‘Annual Calendar’ is a beautiful dress watch. Clothed in an uncommon combination of blue and grey, it screams modern while the array of subtle details quietly echoes Omega’s historic successes on the sideline.

The tested and proven movement is state of the art. Though not the first to achieve ‘Master Chronometer’, second place is hardly a shame.

Its price does creep into the mid-high luxury range but considering the amount of engineering work that has been invested, does not seem like a bad deal.

The stainless steel version of the Omega Globemaster Annual Calendar arrives in Singapore around October 2016 and will retail at 7,800 CHF / SGD 11,000 / USD 8,190.

 

 

 

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