Officially certified Chronometer
Yesterday I joined the press conference in the Cite du Temps in Geneva about the new watch certification based on new quality standards for the Swiss watch making industry. This news was communicated by Omega and METAS (Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology), more specifically by Nick Hayek of the Swatch Group, Stephen Urquhart, Andreas Hobmeier and Raynald Aeschlimann of Omega and Christian Bock of METAS.
After I received the invitation I quickly googled what METAS was about and it appeared to me that something was coming regarding certification. However, I could not foresee what it exactly would mean as they do measurements and tests in all kind of areas. So I was happily surprised yesterday that METAS will be performing certification on more stringent tests than we’ve seen before in the Swiss watch industry.
Before going into details, the certification will result in 400.000 – 500.000 Omega watches featuring the ‘Officially Certified’ wording on the dial. This process will start in 2015 and will be gradually done of course to include all Master Co-Axial models in the Omega collections. It will also mean that the watches they will send to COSC will be gradually reduced over a couple of years. It doesn’t mean that COSC (Chronometer) isn’t good or has no meaning anymore, but Omega (and Swatch Group) decided it was time to seriously reconsider how their watches could be tested and certified in a way that all actual requirements of a timepiece would be met accordingly.
Currently at COSC – and we explained this in detail before a couple of times – only movements are being tested in various temperatures and positions and need to meet the requirement of -4/+6 seconds deviation per day on average. We all know that a watch that runs slow is quite annoying, so -4 seconds per day is not something you want to experience with your mechanical watch on a daily basis. Also, since we are wearing our watches on our wrists and not just carry around movements, it seems to make more sense that a complete watch is being tested.
Other brands like Patek Philippe, Jaeger-LeCoultre a.o. have their own rigid ways of testing and monitoring the performance of their watches and giving them a quality seal (PP seal and the 1000 Hour Control seal from JLC). However, being a former auditor from one of the Big Four accountancy firms and at an investment bank I know that testing (and certainly certifying) your own work isn’t exactly the way it should be done.
So what does it exactly mean?
Master Co-Axial Officially Certified
Simply put, when an Omega watch is said to be anti-magnetic and can withstand 15, 000 gauss, have a water resistance of 300 meters, have a 60 hour power reserve and having a very accurate movement, you want to be sure it meets these specifications or requirements. Even if you don’t use them. When you buy a car with 300HP, you want to be sure it has 300HP, perhaps not because you use them all the time but certainly not in the last place because you paid for them.
Where COSC was only used to proof the accuracy of a watch, the new “Officially Certified” label on the dial will proof a couple of things more:
- the function of each movement when exposed to magnetic fields greater than 15, 000 gauss;
- the function of each watch (!!) when exposed to magnetic fields greater than 15, 000 gauss;
- average daily precision (different positions and temperatures) between 0 and +5 seconds a day (before and after being exposed to magnetic fields > 15, 000 gauss);
- the power reserve (in hours) of a watch;
- water resistance (in water).
Share this Post
In effect, it returned in an updated version with a chronograph mechanism with automatic winding from the Zenith workshop…Read More