Omega VS Rolex: The Race Is On
The new Omega Speedmaster Racing is almost as accurate as a quartz watch thanks to innovative mechanics. And more accurate than any Rolex.
Whenever you think you can’t go on, an innovation comes from somewhere. Currently it comes from Biel. Omega has managed to make their high-precision calibers even more precise. Thanks to a newly developed hairspring system for the balance. It’s called Spirate.
In the word “Spirate,” two technical terms have become one: “hairspring” and “rate. Omega thus takes rate accuracy to a new level, to 0 to +2 seconds per 24 hours.
Mechanical, almost as accurate as Quartz
So with the Spirate system, a purely mechanical watch becomes almost as accurate as a quartz watch. And an Omega more precise than a Rolex. This relaunches a competition: in 2015, Omega introduced the Master Chronometer certification.
For this purpose, movements and watches that have already been COSC-certified are once again subjected to rigorous tests at the Swiss Federal Institute of Meteorology METAS. The “Master Chronometer” label guarantees, among other things, a rate inaccuracy of 0 and +5 seconds per day. Rolex introduced the “Superlative Chronometer” quality seal in the same year.
It promises a maximum inaccuracy of -2 and +2 seconds per day. To ensure this, every COSC-certified Rolex caliber undergoes an internal, fully automatic, high-tech test course in the fully assembled wristwatch.
Omega Speedmaster Racing
The first Omega to use the new system is the Speedmaster Super Racing. The 44.25 mm stainless steel watch features the new chronograph caliber 9920 with automatic winding, 60-hour power reserve and second time zone. It is protected against magnetic fields up to 15,000 gauss. Sounds like a lot, and it is. However, it is not a gimmick: we are surrounded by magnetic fields in our everyday lives. Electric motors, loudspeakers, cell phones, handbag fasteners and induction hobs all emit magnetic fields – the latter even up to 1.5 tesla, or 15,000 gauss.
The new Omega Speedmaster Super Racing is black with yellow accents. The color combination is reminiscent of Omega’s then-launched Seamaster Aqua Terra >15,000 gauss 10 years ago. Like it, the new Speedmaster also has a black and yellow striped second hand.
It was the very first watch with such a high level of magnetic protection, making Omega the very first watch manufacturer to pull it off. Today, others can do the same: The Tudor Black Bay Ceramic, for example, is also Master Chronometer certified, meaning it also manages protection up to 15000 gauss. The Zenith El Primero 21 automatic caliber, on the other hand, is insensitive to magnetism thanks to carbon nanotube hairsprings.
Super precise, yet easy to handle
With the Spirate system, Omega once again raises the bar in terms of precision and becomes the benchmark. According to CEO Raynald Aeschlimann, the feature, which can be produced industrially, will one day also be found in other models, which means that the huge expense for the small gain in precision will pay off at some point: according to Aeschlimann, the Spriate system is based on a now patented invention that has been worked on for ten years.
As elaborate as the design is now, it is obviously practical. Spirate is particularly easy to handle for watchmakers. This means that the watch no longer needs to be sent in for fine-tuning. A visit to an Omega boutique is all it takes. The stainless steel Speedmaster Super Racing sports watch will be available for purchase from August – at a hefty price of 10,400 Swiss francs.