In 2012, Omega introduced a slew of very high-profile timepieces tied to major events that it sponsored — the London Olympics; the James Bond film, Skyfall; and Golf’s Ryder cup. Largely lost in the hoopla was one of the Swiss brand’s most strikingly elegant new releases from that year, an Omega De Ville Chronograph powered by manufacture Caliber 9301, with Omega’s now-famous co-axial escapement, and outfitted in a rose-gold case and blue dial and strap. Here we give this watch the showcase we feel it deserves.
While not as ingrained in pop culture as other Omega watches like the Seamaster (now the go-to timepiece for Agent 007) or the Speedmaster (the legendary “Moonwatch”), the dressy De Ville line has nevertheless served as a stage for the introduction of some of the brand’s most important watchmaking innovations. It was in a De Ville that Omega introduced Caliber 2500 — the first movement outfitted with the co-axial escapement developed by Dr. George Daniels — in 1999. In 2007, the De Ville was the launching pad for the company’s first in-house movement, co-axial Caliber 8500/8501 — in a watch that also marked the debut of the exhibitionist Hour Vision case. More recently, Omega used the De Ville Hour Vision Annual Calendar for the debut of another technical innovation, its Si14 silicon balance spring.
The Omega De Ville Chronograph contains Omega’s Caliber 9300/9301, the chronograph version of the in-house movement that made its debut in the Hour Vision models. The movement uses a column-wheel system and is equipped with a co-axial escapement and an Si14 silicon balance spring. It has been certified as a chronometer by the Swiss testing agency COSC. So convinced is Omega of the reliability and stability of its movement that it delivers each watch with a four-year warranty.
This 18k rose-gold case is 42 mm in diameter and features polished and brushed finishes. The two-zone blue dial has two domed subdials: the one at 3 o’clock displays both the 60-minute and 12-hour counters for the chronograph, making it easy to read elapsed times; the one at 9 o’clock is for the running seconds. The watch has a central chronograph seconds hand and 18k-gold, diamond-polished, faceted central hour and minute hands. The applied Roman numeral indices are also gold, faceted on the sides and ends, and fully diamond-polished. brown or blue leather strap, or with a stainless steel case on a stainless steel bracelet or on a black or blue leather strap. The hour hand can be changed without affecting the minute and seconds hands, a boon for frequent travelers who traverse multiple time zones.