Omega has been on a roll over the last few years as the storied Swiss watch maker continues to produce both crowd-pleasing new designs and also “collector bait” timepieces which find happy homes on the wrists of hardcore watch enthusiasts. What is Omega’s secret? That is a tough question to answer as I’m still investigating the story, but it seems to be a combination of putting a lot of resources simultaneously into marketing as well as product development (most brands are good at only one or the other). A close inspection of a watch like the just-announced 2016 Omega Globemaster Annual Calendar reveals a few of Omega’s top fluencies.
It was only about a year ago that we introduced the standard Omega Globemaster collection here. The 39mm-wide watch debuted in a range of materials including, steel, fake Omega watches 18k yellow gold, 18k Sedna (rose) gold, and platinum along with the cryptic slogan “The World’s First Master Chronometer.”
What is a “Master Chronometer?” That is a good question. Of course, the Globemaster is the first of its kind, as it is a name that Omega just came up with to refer to their most advanced movements which have been certified using their most advanced techniques. “Master Chronometer” watches are those which have been METAS certified under a new set of standards developed by an arm of the Swiss government and Omega. The certification is easily one of the most rigorous for Swiss watch movements, as it exceeds COSC Chronometer standards in addition to testing for intense anti-magnetic properties, as well as testing the movements cased up inside of the watches – versus only outside prior to being “cased.”
By 2017, Omega should have about a dozen or so of its in-house made movements being certified in its expanding METAS testing department which exists in-house at the Omega facility in Bienne, Switzerland. The Globemaster with its caliber 8900 movement was the first to be METAS certified, and that continues with the Omega Globemaster Annual Calendar and its in-house-made caliber 8922 automatic Co-Axial movement.
Functionally, the 8922 and the 8900 movement are similar, save for the addition of the annual calendar complication which requires adjustment after the month of February. If you want some nerdy watch trivia, the Omega Globemaster Annual Calendar was actually debuted on March 1st of a leap year. So, it was a great opportunity to show when the system requires adjustment, and why leap years more or less make that a necessity when it comes to movement design.
When it comes to layout, the 8922 movement offers the time with central seconds, date wheel with window display, as well as an indicator hand for the month. In pictures, this layout does not look as nice as it does in person. The reason is that the high-contrast of marketing images makes the cursive font used for the month markers appear too prominent. In person, you realize that the three-dimensional “pie pan”-style dial (inspired by some vintage Omega Constellation watches) gives most of the visual attention to the hands and hour markers, while the text on the dial and the month indicator hand are less apparent. I would say that this is one of this instances where the watch looks better in person than in the pictures you may see.
With that said, Omega will have a few dial color options for the Omega Globemaster Annual Calendar, so you’ll need to experiment with what looks best if you are taken by this design. Switching topics again, I want to revisit what I was talking about earlier when referring to Omega’s dual mission to focus on marketing and product development. Much of this can actually be seen as Omega’s long-term goal to be the watch industry’s only serious competitor to Rolex. While Rolex and luxury replica Omega watches are clear competitors, I think Omega owes a lot of its current success to being so motivated by its goal to reach a Rolex-style level of product quality and consumer appeal (of course, in its own “Omega Way”).
The Globemaster collection is easily one of Omega’s most technically sophisticated watches, and yet it has a retro-inspired design. Ironic? Perhaps a bit, but it goes along with the brand’s ongoing trend of putting its most advanced new watch movement tech in brand new, but vintage-styled collections. Prior to the “Master Chronometer” was the term “Master Co-Axial Chronometer” which collectors will enjoy as a short-lived transitional phrase you can find on the dial of Omega Seamaster 300 watches which are also high-end modern timepieces with “historic designs.”
Actor Eddie Redmayne is the face you’ll see being connected to many Omega watches including the Globemaster and Omega Globemaster Annual Calendar. Omega used their new brand ambassador to keep the Globemaster’s launch loud at an event in Los Angeles recently. Attending the event and handling this new larger Omega Globemaster Annual Calendar, I realized that Omega might be missing out on a very specific demographic that the Globemaster might appeal to. Who is a Globemaster? I would argue the term could be interpreted as referring to those people who are regular world travelers who have the experience to fluently survive and do business in a host of cities with a host of different types of people and cultures. This can refer to a range of active professionals such as tech industry entrepreneurs to international watch writers such as those people at aBlogtoWatch. Look at that – we are all Globemasters. If Omega engaged in a directed campaign to connect Globemaster watches with this type of demographic, I think it would be a worthy campaign.
Omega will probably not have as many versions of the Omega Globemaster Annual Calendar as the standard Globemaster model, but the collection already has some variety with the all-steel models as well as two-tone models. It will not be until Baselworld 2016 when we see the larger scope of cheap exact fake Omega Globemaster Annual Calendar watches.
Compared to the original Globemaster, this Omega Globemaster Annual Calendar is 2mm wider, in a 41mm case. The 39mm-wide Globemaster is lovely and universally a good size, but if you like the look of a larger watch, then the 41mm-wide Omega Globemaster Annual Calendar with its wide lugs wears handsomely and really isn’t that large. The brushed metal case offers a handsome masculine look and is combined with Omega’s version of a polished fluted bezel.
When Omega first released the Globemaster last year, I didn’t pay as close attention as I would have to, say, a new sports watch. The Globemaster and the Omega Globemaster Annual Calendar are mature watches with mature designs. After spending a lot of time with various versions of the Globemaster, the confident, legible, and yet tastefully conservative style of the collection has grown on me. Perhaps because of my age, I am slowly changing from a “globe ninja” to a “globe master.” On the wrist, I find the Omega Globemaster Annual Calendar to be among the nicest Globemasters around, and the pricing feels decent (especially when compared to Rolex’s Sky-Dweller which is their annual calendar watch option).
The elegance of the historic Omega Constellation lives on in the Globemaster, even though the “Constellation” name has been used for a dizzying array of models at Omega. If anything, the Globemaster is Omega’s best attempt yet at making a conservative dress watch into something that has the heart of a functional tool watch. It’s masculine without being brash, and it’s decorative without being stuffy. Prices for the Omega Globemaster Annual Calendar watch start at 7,800 Swiss francs for the version in steel on the strap.