The 2016 Olympic Games begin one year from now in Rio de Janeiro, and Swiss watch brand Omega will once again serve as official timekeeper. This week, Omega releases a new, limited-edition watch for the occasion — the Omega Seamaster Bullhead “Rio 2016.”
The watch was officially launched at a special event in the Olympic host city on August 3rd, where Omega also announced three Olympic athletes — Brazilian sailor and five-time medalist Torben Grael and his daughter Martine Grael, and her partner Kahena Kunze, both world-ranked sailors — as new “friends of the brand.” 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 watch Omega released in 1969, a chronograph watch used by rally drivers to time laps and which was nicknamed “Bullhead” by watch aficionados for the odd shape of the case, with its top-mounted winding crown flanked by two big chronograph pushers. Like the original Bullhead watch (and the newer version that Omega released in 2013, for which it adopted the nickname as its official moniker), 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 (the original 1969 Bullhead had a manual-winding movement) and a column-wheel chronograph mechanism. The caseback is stamped with the Rio 2016 Olympic Games logo, marking the watch as a special edition. Only 316 watches will be made, priced at $9,600 (Omega says that the number comes from 2016 being only the 3rd time that golf has been included in the Olympic games, though it’s unclear what connection, if any, this watch has to the sport of golf); its release date was August 5, 2015, precisely one year ahead of the Olympic Opening Ceremonies in Rio.
The Omega Seamaster Bullhead “Rio 2016” Limited Edition joins the Speedmaster Mark II “Rio 2016,” released in 2014 (and pictured in the display case in the photo below), among the brand’s lineup of limited-edition watches made in honor of the 2016 Olympics. To see more of Omega’s limited-edition Olympics watches, click here.