The concept of the Omega Central Torbillon first appeared in 1994 when Andre Beyner and Mauritz Grimm created the first tourbillion mechanism ever placed in the very centre of the movement. Launched to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Omega brand name, Omega has continued the production of these fine horological pieces in a range of jewelled, grand luxe and simpler forms ever since.
The latest offering coming from the company that manufactured one of the world’s first tourbillon wristwatches in 1947 marks yet another milestone in Omega’s long-term strategy to regain its place as Switzerland’s premier luxury mass-production brand. Students of the post-millenium evolution of the brand point to the introduction of co-axial technology, the re-emergence of in-house movement manufacture with the calibre 8500 series, the repositioning of the De Ville with innovative case designs, the early adoption of liquid metal and silicon technology, and even the ongoing establishment of Omega Boutiques as clear evidence of its upward trajectory.
The OMEGA Central Tourbillon Co-Axial Platinum Limited Edition is the second series of skeletonised models released, the first appearing in 2006 with highly decorated finishes and a jewellery version set with baguette diamonds around the bezel. In this new limited edition collection of 18 pieces, the aesthetics are more minimalist with a hand polished silky adoucissage finish on the skeletonised and bevelled bridges. An exquisitely chamfered balance carraige and tourbillon mechanism, the use of contrasting titanium and gold metals and the finish on remaining movement parts combine to produce a very modern version of high art watchmaking.
In a Tourbillon movement, all of the main components responsible for the timepiece’s precision are assembled in a rotating cage. The titanium cage rotates completely every 60 seconds, offsetting the effect of gravity on the performance of the watch.
To create a skeletonised version of the Central Tourbillon, the watchmaker begins by cutting away any non-essential material from the plates and bridges, then bevelling their edges. Unlike conventional production watches, each tourbillon piece is the work of one specialist who spends up to 540 hours on the creation of the piece. No two pieces are exactly alike and all parts are engraved with the personal initials of the watchmaker on the underside of the tourbillon base to ensure that when a watch is returned to Omega for servicing it will be assigned to its original creator to be worked upon.
The watch features what in the old days would be called a "Mystery Dial". Because the tourbillon occupies centre stage, hands cannot be mounted centrally. And so, reminiscent of Zodiac watch dials of the 1960s, a pair of saphire crystal discs are driven by a system that connects with the extremities of the dics. Upon the separate discs are engraved the minute and hour hand and they appear to circle 'mysteriously' around the tourbillon like moons to a planet.
OMEGA’s exclusive COSC-certified Co-Axial calibre 2636 powers this series of eighteen pieces, housed in a platinum case on an alligator strap. The price is stratospheric for most and you could buy a Bentley Arnage for the same money!
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