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.
The movement, which is visible through the case’s sapphire exhibition back, has an 18k gold rotor and balance bridge. Other decorations on the movement include Geneva waves in Arabesque and blackened screws, barrels and balance wheel.
The rose-gold model shown here — with its blue alligator leather strap matching the dial — is also available with an opaline silver dial. There is also a model in a stainless-steel case, with a choice of blue, opaline silver or black dials, and a choice of black or blue strap or steel bracelet. These models contain Omega Caliber 9300, which is identical in function to the rose-gold model’s Caliber 9301 but has a rhodium-plated rotor and balance bridge rather than gold ones. Prices are $29,000 for the rose-gold models, $8,300 for stainless steel on a leather strap, and $9,000 for stainless steel with bracelet.
Movement: Omega co-axial Caliber 9301, automatic; column-wheel chronograph; COSC-certified chronometer; 54 jewels; frequency = 28,800 vph (4 Hz); 60-hour power reserve; silicon “Si14″ balance spring; co-axial escapement with three levels; two barrels with anti-wear DLC coating mounted in series
Functions: Central hours and minutes; small seconds; date; chronograph with 60-minute and 12-hour counters
Case and strap: 18k rose gold case; diameter = 42 mm; height = 15.9 mm; water-resistant to 100 meters; domed, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal with nonreflective coating on both sides; exhibition caseback affixed by four screws; on blue alligator strap with foldover clasp
Dial and hands: Two-zone dial in opaline silver, blue, or black; domed subdials; applied 18k gold Roman numerals; diamond-polished, double-faceted 18k gold hands
Click below for a video of the Omega DeVille Chronograph Co-Axial Calibre 9301…
This article was originally published on August 23, 2012, and has been updated.