Watches 01 The new Constellation Pluma 02 The Omega launch event 03 The new timepiece features 32 full-cut diamonds 04 Portrait of Stephen Urquhart
Interview with Stephen Urquhart, Omega Watches CEO What do you think a timepiece from Omega represents? Since 1848, Omega has built its reputation on a commitment to precision, as well as a dedication to advanced innovation. Our brand has always been at the forefront of the watchmaking industry, and we are well known and respected for our pioneering approach. So, in answer to your question, I believe that an Omega represents the highest-quality timepiece on the market. When you invest in one, you are not only purchasing a fine watch, but you are sharing in our history and passion for excellence.
The average price of your watches has come up over the past few years, why is this? I would say that the average price increase is due mainly to the introduction of our exclusive Co-Axial technology in almost all of our mechanical watches. What’s important to stress is that the quality and function of our watches is constantly evolving in line with the demands of the modern world. But our prices are not greatly affected because of this. Even as we introduce new METAS certification, our prices will remain the same.
the existing COSC certification, customers will now have maximum confidence in their product. I think this is another defining moment in our history, and in fact the whole industry, and it’s only the first step. Our aim is to include the same techniques in all of our mechanical watches in the future.
What is your opinion on modern technology in relation to watches? Would Omega ever release a ‘smart watch’? Smart watch technology will certainly have to coexist with traditional watchmaking. I can imagine that the enthusiasm for smart watches will be good for the industry. It’s interesting that people have figured out that the wrist is a good place to access information – we’ve known that for well over a century. But there’s an emotional connection with a traditional watch that I don’t think a smart watch will ever be able to replicate. A vintage Omega can become a family heirloom, passed proudly from generation to generation. It’s hard to imagine a current smart watch achieving that sort of status. Right now, there is no plan to release a ‘smart watch’, but we are not opposed to using our group’s ‘connected’ technology in certain products.
What are some of the latest exciting developments from Omega watches, in terms of innovation and exclusivity?
How do you ensure modern designs pay tribute to the heritage of Omega?
Right now, I think that our new Globemaster collection is the most innovative watch on the market. As the world’s first Master Chronometer, fitted with unrivalled anti-magnetic technology, we are truly setting a new standard in watchmaking. Not only is this huge in terms of innovation, but the new METAS certification, that I mentioned in my previous answer, will test each watch like never before. Through 8 specific tests that cover magnetism, accuracy, reliability and water-tightness, each watch will be officially certified at the highest possible level, under conditions that replicate real-life wearing conditions. By adding this to
Omega is a brand that has a rich past, and we often recall this for our modern designs. There is a lot of inspiration available and we know that our consumers are also deeply connected to our heritage. Technology may have moved on, but on the outside, you’ll still see many tributes coming through. For example, we have recently released updated versions of models including the Speedmaster ‘57 and the Seamaster 300. We’ve retained much of the original look and style, but been able to update them in subtle ways. That way, customers can feel like they’re also buying into our past. We also produce some commemorative and limited edition models. A good
example of this is the Speedmaster “Silver Snoopy Award” 45th Anniversary Limited Edition. When Omega watches helped the astronauts of Apollo 13 return safely to Earth in 1970, NASA awarded the brand with their illustrious “Silver Snoopy Award”. To mark 45 years since that event, we’ve this year released a commemorative Speedmaster. It shows that we are proud of our heritage and pay tribute to it as often as possible.
What are some current trends in the watch market today and how has Omega answered to this? I wouldn’t say that Omega answers to any trends in the industry. In fact, we are a brand that sets them. We don’t need to look at what others are doing. We only concentrate on our own innovation. Our own recent “trends” would be something like our ceramic Speedmasters. They’re unlike anything else, with each watch created from a single block of ceramic. I think they again show the way that Omega is ahead of most other brands in terms of thinking.
What are the most popular Omega timepieces in the Middle Eastern market? We find that the Middle Eastern market has a particularly refined sense of style, and a real eye for sophistication. So the De Ville collection often gets a lot of attention. But honestly, buying a watch is such a personal decision. Everyone, no matter the region, has their own specific tastes and desires. We often find, when someone goes into our boutique, it’s not until they try different watches on that they find the style that’s right for them.
Do you plan to open and more boutiques in the Gulf region soon? We do have plans to expand our reach in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and UAE. However I can’t reveal any dates or details right now. Certainly, we are looking forward to doing more in this important region.
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