Omega creates world’s first Master Chronometer

October 2015

The Omega Globemaster is the first timepiece to be certified as a “Master Chronometer” representing a level of precision and performance like never before. Meant to increase trust in the industry, the new certification system will also add to market differentiation.

Trust is the name of the game. That seems to have been the motivation behind the new watch certification system developed together by Omega and the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology (METAS). During a press conference held at Omega HQ in Biel, Switzerland, the Globemaster was officially announced as the first watch to achieve the new “Master Chronometer” rating.

Omega creates world's first Master Chronometer

Nick Hayek was first up to describe the importance of the moment, and the importance of trust:

“We all know about the importance of beautiful products, history and innovation. But one other thing is so important. That’s trust. Trust for our consumers. By working with an independent organisation such as METAS, we can be transparent for the consumer, and reconfirm that the Swiss watch industry is the leader in precision and innovation.”

Omega creates world's first Master Chronometer

Dr Christian Bock, Director of METAS, then took the stage and reconfirmed the message of trust:

“Trust is the core of our business at METAS. We are a government agency, the leading centre for all measurements in Switzerland. And above all, we are consumer and client driven. That’s why it was important to ensure that this new standard for mechanical watches is open to every brand.”

Last but not least, Andreas Hobmeier, Omega Vice President of Production and Procurement, also drove home the same message:

“Trust is something you can only gain if you walk the talk. Our team has been working very hard with METAS to perfect the details. It is an honour to present the first watch that has passed these tests.”

The new certification process includes 8 tests carried out over 10 days, and each watch must pass a range of criteria that replicate real-life wearing conditions, including exposure to magnetic fields of 15,000 gauss. The test results of each watch are also available for customers to check online, adding to the ideas of transparency and trust, while making the whole process more interactive.

Omega creates world's first Master Chronometer

Having achieved this milestone, the announcement is certainly a big occasion for Omega, affirming it as a watchmaking pioneer. But, admittedly the industry-standard COSC certification will remain an integral part of Omega’s work. So the new METAS testing will simply double the certification process of each watch, also giving other Swiss watchmakers the chance to test the quality and timekeeping performance of their watches to a greater extent.

The new certification sets a higher standard of watchmaking for the entire industry, which can certainly help increase trust both within the industry and towards consumers. Double the certifications, double the trust, right?

Omega creates world's first Master Chronometer

But the likely scenario is that only the big players will be able to invest the time and money to produce timepieces that can pass the tests required to attain the new Master Chronometer status. Great news for them, but what about for the rest of the pack? Given the competitiveness of the industry, I imagine other brands will also seek out the new certification, and it will certainly be interesting to see what the next timepiece will be to make the cut to become a Master Chronometer.

But in what numbers smaller brands turn up to be tested remains a big question. The more likely scenario -at least in the short term- is that the Master Chronometer certification will produce a big boys club of the larger and wealthier brands.