GENEVA — Watch brand Omega unveiled a new certification standard for each of its mechanical Master Co-Axial watches that will have a high resistance to magnetic fields.
“This is a very important innovation for the Swiss watch industry. The industry is a leader, and needs to remain a leader,” Nick Hayek, chief executive officer of Swatch Group, which includes Omega, said.
“Swiss made and Swiss-ness are important,” Hayek said, indicating the group will try to encourage others to follow. “We have nothing to hide, we want to show our technology,” he noted. “We need to be a step ahead.”
The independent certification, to be initiated next year, is to be carried out by the Bern-based Swiss Federal Institute for Metrology (METAS), the country’s top measure-standards body. Christian Bock, METAS director, said the institute is independent, neutral, transparent and “not linked to any company or association.”
Hayek said that around mid-2015, the first Omega watches would be produced with the Master Co-Axial officially certified designation. He also stressed, that in a break with the past, the new certification would test the finished watch instead of its movements. Andreas Hobmeier, Omega’s vice president for production and procurement, said each watch will be tested for its precision during and after exposure to magnetic fields greater than 15,000 gauss and will have to perform within a tolerance of 0 and + 5 seconds, for autonomy (functioning without winding for 60 hours) and water resistance.
Hayek pointed out that today’s consumers are surrounded by objects with magnetic fields — iPhones, iPads, cameras, intelligent glasses and scanners at airports.
Owners of Master Co-Axial certified watches will be able to access online or by smartphone the results and performance of the tests passed by their watches under the METAS certification which will be carried out in the manufacturing plant in Bienne.
“This certification gives access to the consumer,” said Hayek.
Raynald Aeschlimann, Omega’s vice president and head of international sales, said “prices will be the same with the new certification.”
Hayek told WWD the price range for the brand in the U.S. market is $6,000 to $50,000.