The resort of St. Moritz and Swiss watchmaker OMEGA both share a reputation as pioneers. St. Moritz was the first place in Switzerland to establish a Tourist Office and has over the years built up an enviable reputation as one of the world’s foremost alpine resorts. In addition to being home to Switzerland’s first ski school, St. Moritz is also the birthplace of the sport of bobsleigh and was the first location on the European continent to hold a curling match.
The resort’s keen interest in establishing winter sports at the turn of the century provided the experience that was crucial to its staging of two winter Olympics in 1928 and 1948 as well as numerous alpine skiing World Championships.
OMEGA is to watch brands what St. Moritz is to mountain resorts, boasting a similar record of pioneering achievements over its 150-year history. In the split-second world of sports timekeeping, OMEGA was the first company to be appointed as official timekeeper for all Olympic disciplines at the Los Angeles Olympics in 1932.
Since then, the brand has provided the official timekeeping equipment and services for a total of 21 Olympic Games – with unfailing precision and increasing complexity – before handing over the baton to its sister company Swatch at Atlanta in 1996. The 1948 Winter Olympics in St. Moritz were the first at which OMEGA provided not only the timekeeping equipment but also its own trained personnel as timekeepers.
As a leading manufacturer of prestige Swiss watches, OMEGA’s impressive record in sports timekeeping is merely a logical progression of the company’s watchmaking know-how. Numerous OMEGA innovations in the field of sports timekeeping, such as the world’s first photo-finish camera (1949), were preceded decades earlier by horological marvels such as the world’s first minute-repeater wristwatch in 1892. These are but two of the numerous OMEGA inventions that can be viewed at the company’s museum at head office in Bienne, Switzerland.
There is no more fitting a watch to represent the partnership between OMEGA and St. Moritz than the OMEGA De Ville Co-Axial Chronograph. The De Ville is the top of the range in the OMEGA collection and is therefore the perfect match for one of the world’s most exclusive mountain resorts. The very first OMEGA St. Moritz watch was presented by Anna Kournikova at a special press conference during the Bobsleigh World Cup event in St. Moritz on 23 January 2004.
The St. Moritz watch is equipped with the Co-Axial Escapement, one of OMEGA’s innovations. The escapement is the heart of every mechanical watch, since it generates the impulses that drive the cogwheels used to display the hours, minutes and seconds.
Whilst the traditional lever escapement design is dependent on lubrication because of the friction it generates, the co-axial configuration considerably reduces friction and is therefore less dependent on lubrication. This offers a unique advantage, since climate and age can affect the state and performance of lubrication and, therefore, of the watch in general.
The OMEGA St. Moritz watch uses the OMEGA calibre 3313 self-winding chronometer-chronograph movement. In addition to the proven combination of the Co-Axial Escapement with the OMEGA free sprung-balance, which offers greater regulating stability, the chronograph mechanism is equipped with a column wheel: a ratchet wheel with columns that govern the precision operation of the levers for the chronograph functions.
Since it is a highly exclusive movement, the OMEGA calibre 3313 naturally has an intricate finish of circular graining, Geneva wave decor, rhodium-plated surfaces and gold-plated engravings, as well as a blued-steel centre screw – all visible through the transparent sapphire crystal case back. The movement’s precision is attested by its chronometer certificate issued by the official Swiss chronometer testing institute COSC and it has a power reserve of 55 hours.
These intricate workings are housed in the distinctive De Ville case in stainless steel, which takes its inspiration from the classic OMEGA models of the 1950s. The grooves on the inside of the chronograph pushers that match the design of the crown are typical of the meticulous attention to detail for this model.
As befits such a prestigious timepiece, the dial is the epitome of sobriety and clarity, pairing facetted red gold-plated hour markers and hands (with blued steel chronograph hands) against a silvered background with an applied OMEGA symbol and name.
The final touch of exclusivity is the St. Moritz logo visible in the 5 o’clock position. A domed scratch-resistant sapphire crystal with multi-layer anti-reflective treatment on the inside offers maximum protection for this unique OMEGA dial. The St. Moritz model is fitted with a brown alligator leather strap with a stainless steel clasp.