Having alluded earlier this year to a production date of 2011, Steven Urquhart, Omega’s CEO, has confirmed during a series of public statements this month that the long-awaited in-house chronograph movement will make its debut at Baselworld next year .
The new chronograph mechanism will not piggyback on top of a calibre 8500 series movement, and will be new from the bottom plate up. It will however copy the 8500's double-barrel power system, will incorporate three level coaxial technology and retain the now familiar column wheel configuration.
This new 14 lignes calibre with a power reserve of sixty hours – slated to be called the 9300 and 9301 - will replace the somewhat effete Piguet chronograph movements in all men’s watches. The Piguet 3313 will be enhanced with three-level co-axial technology and will find a home in women’s chronographs. Having once observed that weighing the mighty calibre 1861 against the Piguet chronographs was like comparing a builder’s labourer to a ballet dancer, I applaud the decision to build a more robust men’s chronograph movement.
Omega has acknowledged the need for a more sturdy chronograph movement with an emphasis on quality and reliability, the subtext of which is that the Piguet series did not live up to such benchmarks. The decision is yet another signal of Omega’s trajectory towards a manufacturing ethos that gave the brand such an unassailable reputation in production watchmaking in the nineteen-fifties and sixties.
I think that Omega aficionados will have much to anticipate at Baselworld next year.