In a move that seemed unthinkable just a few weeks ago, yet all but inevitable a few days ago, The International Olympic Committee announced that the 2020 Olympic Games, scheduled to be held in Tokyo this coming July, would be postponed until 2021 due to disruptions caused by the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. Omega, official timekeeper of the Games, is one of the many Olympic sponsors affected, and we and the brand’s many fans await word on when the planned special-edition watches linked to the 2020 Games will emerge. Until then, here’s a roundup of five Omega watches with Olympic pedigree released over the past several years, celebrating the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and even an early model released in anticipation of the now-delayed Tokyo Games.
The Omega Seamaster “Rio 2016” Limited Edition features stylistic touches that call out its connection to the Olympics on both the blue, perforated leather strap, with yellow, green, red, and black stitching that echoes the color of the iconic Olympic rings; and on the inner rotating bezel, where those same colors are used for the numerals at five-minute increments. The unusual case design is a callback to a chronograph Omega released in 1969, nicknamed “Bullhead” for the odd shape of the case, with its top-mounted winding crown flanked by two big chronograph pushers. Like the original Bullhead watch, the Rio 2016 model has a central chronograph seconds hand and a 30-minute chronograph subdial at 12 o’clock. Small seconds are on a subdial at 6 o’clock and the date is in a window at 3 o’clock. The movement that powers all of these functions is Omega’s in-house co-axial Caliber 3113, which features automatic winding and a column-wheel chronograph mechanism. The caseback is stamped with the Rio 2016 Olympic Games logo.
The Omega Speedmaster Mark II “Rio 2016″ edition has the distinctive barrel-shaped case of the retro-look Mark II family of Speedmasters, here made of polished and brushed stainless steel. Its matte-black tricompax dial hosts subdials at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock to record 30 chronograph minutes, 12 chronograph hours, and running seconds, respectively. On this “Rio 2016” model, these subdials have an Olympics motif, ringed by bronze, yellow gold, and silver to represent the medals awarded to the champion athletes. Like the standard Speedmaster Mark II watches, the Olympic model has a tachymeter scale printed directly on the sapphire crystal and illuminated from beneath by an aluminum ring filled with Super-LumiNova. The movement is Omega’s Caliber 3330, equipped with a silicon balance spring, athree-level co-axial escapement, and a column-wheel-driven chronograph function. It beats behind a solid caseback stamped with the logo of the 2016 Olympic Games, the first ever to be held in South America.
The Seamaster Aqua Terra “PyeongChang 2018” Limited Edition — released a full two years ahead of the games it celebrates, in February 2016 — adds to the familiar Aqua Terra design codes with the words “PYEONGCHANG 2018,” in the colors of the five Olympic Rings, inscribed on the minute track. In an amazing coincidence, the numerals “2018” align precisely with the “18” and “20” minute indices, a phenomenon that cannot recur in our lifetime. The steel watch is 41 mm in diameter, with a blue dial sporting the nautical teakwood deck motif common to the Aqua Terra family. Behind a sapphire caseback, which is decorated with the colorful “PyeongChang 2018” Olympic logo is Omega’s Master Co-Axial Caliber 8500, which features automatic winding, chronometer certification, and a co-axial escapement, among other attributes. The watch was packaged in a special, Olympic-themed presentation box.
Released in December 2017, a year ahead of the Pyeongchang Winter Games, the Seamaster Planet Ocean “PyeongChang 2018,” limited to 2,018 pieces, features the bold blue and red colors of the South Korean flag. The 43.5-mm stainless steel case has a unidirectional rotating divers’ bezel with a polished blue ceramic ring for the dive scale. Red rubber is used for the first 15-minute segment of the scale, while the proprietary Liquidmetal substance is used for the bezel’s minute numerals and indices, as well as for the luminous dot at 12 o’clock. The dial is made of polished blue ceramic and features applied rhodium-plated indices and hands coated with a white Super-LumiNova. Omega’s co-axial Master Chronometer Caliber 8900 powers the watch, with automatic winding and a 60-hour power reserve in two series-connected spring barrels. The alveol-patterned screw-in caseback includes a sapphire window for viewing the movement, with the transferred words “PyeongChang 2018” and the Olympic Winter Games logo.
As per tradition, Omega began its one-year countdown to the 2020 Tokyo Games (or so it thought) with the release of its first special Olympic edition back in July 2019. The Seamaster Aqua Terra Tokyo 2020 Limited Edition is the first in the Aqua Terra collection with a blue ceramic dial that evokes the pattern of the 2020 Olympics logo. The watch’s 41-mm stainless steel case is offered with both a structured blue rubber strap and an additional stainless-steel bracelet. Inside the case is the Omega Master Chronometer Caliber 8900, which ticks behind a caseback bearing a laser-engraved Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games emblem. The watch is limited to 2,020 pieces.
Click here for more Omega special-edition watches from earlier Olympic Games.