There are some daring and dangerous sporting events that happen around the world each year. And tales are told of men and women whose prowess and cunning got them not only a win, but a place in the history books; The Volvo Ocean Race is one such event. Recently, I had the fortunate opportunity to experience the Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) with the amazing people that make up the Omega watch brand. As the official timekeeper of the VOR, Omega is a keen and natural fit to the chaos and harmony that is ocean sailing.
The Volvo Ocean Race is a sailing competition to see who can circumnavigate the Earth first. It happens ever four years and each time the route and stop over cities change. This year, the race started in Alicante, Spain and then proceeded to Lisbon, Cape Town, Melbourne, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Auckland, Itajai, Newport, Cardiff, Gothenburg and finally ends at The Hague in the Netherlands. Covering over 45,000 nautical miles, 24 hours a day, across four oceans, six continents and twelve cities, the Volvo Ocean Race is truly the most enduring and trying race of them all.
It was naturally then that such a race would call upon Omega to keep exact timekeeping. Indeed Omega was the first watch brand, way back in 1932, to create the world’s first commercially available diving watch. Naturally, the public wanted such a masterpiece of complications and Omega was then on known as the watch of seafaring professionals. And if sailors weren’t enough to push Omega above all others, then perhaps knowing that they were the official timekeeper of 27 different Olympic games!
While the VOR was moored for a few days in Newport, Rhode Island, Omega took the opportunity to announce to the world that a new and stunning watch had just been released, the Seamaster Planet Ocean Deep Black “Volvo Ocean Race” Limited Edition. Yes, it is quite the handful of a title, but such is a watch that is limited to a scant 73 worldwide! Why 73? Well, the VOR was started in 1973, thus the ultimate ocean watch is an homage to the ultimate ocean race.
Sporting a 45mm chronograph the watch is at once robust, yet lightweight. The case body of the watch has been formed for a single piece of black ceramic. Meanwhile, red rubber is utilized to cover the first 15 minutes on the unidirectional bezel. Behind the hardened crystal lies a black ceramic dial that showcases what number the watch is in the limited series. And keeping pace of everything are white gold hour and minute hands.
To commemorate the VOR, Omega has put the race’s official logo on the case back. Strapped to one’s wrist, this highly sought after timepiece is secured by a black rubber strap and is capable of diving depths of up to 60 bars, which in layman’s terms, is 600 meters or 2,000ft if so inclined.
For the uninitiated, it is good to note that Omega cannot just call their watch a master chronometer. In fact, it has to achieve that level of precision and mastery and is designated as such by the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology (METAS). What Omega has achieved with this limited edition watch is the passing of eight rigorous tests that put the watch under such stressful conditions most other brands would fail.
I had the chance to wear the timepiece and was taken aback by how refined and natural a fit the watch was. So often, watches of 45mm are bulky and cumbersome to wear. At the end of the day, one is happy to take off such a watch, if only to rest their arm. Not so with Omega’s masterpiece. Having been made from ceramic, Omega knew that the perfect balance of strength and weight had to be the focus of design. And having fallen so in love with the watch, I spent my waning days with Omega trying as I might to secure a watch for my own personal collection. I am sad to say that it was to no avail.
Omega takes pride in their craftsmanship and also in whom they sponsor. It isn’t just about getting their name out there on billboards. No. Omega looks for and carefully decides which events and places are as adventurous and strong as they are. The Volvo Ocean Race is surely the pinnacle of sporting events. And this watch is absolutely on par. So should you find yourself lucky enough to be the proud owner of this particular timepiece, would you really take it diving? I asked Omega’s president that very question and his answer? “Absolutely!”