Omega Shares The Story Behind Victor Vescovo’s Deepest Ever Dive
When Omega was looking for an ambassador to test its timepieces to the max, it’s fair to say that the brand struck gold with Victor Vescovo. A certified jet pilot and retired naval officer who has climbed the highest peaks on all seven continents, the businessman turned explorer recently strengthened his extreme credentials further by embarking on a mission to descend to the deepest points in the world’s five oceans.
His relationship with Omega began when he decided to buy a Seamaster Planet Ocean Chronograph to commemorate a deep-sea adventure. After his first descent to the Puerto Rico Trench, the brand got in touch to offer him an upgrade in time for his deepest dive—to the bottom of the Mariana Trench and a world record of 10,928 metres deep—and so the Seamaster Planet Ocean Ultra Deep Professional was born.
See also: 6 Watch Brands That Help Save The Oceans
Under the Sea
Sure enough, as Vescovo piloted his Limiting Factor submersible to the deepest point on Earth, the three watches attached to the outside of the craft (two on robotic arms and one on a remote-controlled independent lander) never missed a beat. What is more, the Seamaster attached to the independent lander ended up spending two days at the bottom of the trench after the lander got stuck on the bottom. When it was recovered some 54 hours later, the watch was still ticking along, keeping near-perfect time.
While the Ultra Deep retains the classic Seamaster look, it’s been designed especially with the world’s deepest dive in mind. To this end, its case, bezel and crown are forged from the same grade 5 titanium used for the pressure hull of the Limiting Factor, and its lugs are fully integrated into the case body to lower the risk of material limitations being reached. Each was tested to a depth of 15,000 metres, leaving a 25 per cent safety margin over the record-breaking dive.
As if surviving the dive itself wasn’t impressive enough, after surfacing the watches were put through the highest level of testing currently available in watchmaking: Master Chronometer tests. Officiated by the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology, this method of testing first came about in 2015, when Omega’s Globemaster became the world’s first Master Chronometer.
Tried and Tested
While previously a certification from the COSC (Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres) was considered the pinnacle of achievement for chronometers, a watch must undergo an even more rigorous set of tests to be called a Master Chronometer. While COSC testing demands precision of movement (-4/+6 seconds per day) working in five different positions, Master Chronometer tests have an even harsher accuracy criteria of 0/+5 seconds per day, tested in six different positions.
The rigorous Master Chronometer schedule comprises eight tests during a period of 10 days, including water resistance, temperature fluctuation and exposure to magnetic fields of 15,000 gauss (about the same strength as a typical MRI scanner and more than 12 times the magnetic field your laptop generates).
Aiming For The Top
Of course, now that this new level of testing exists, it’s only natural that a watchmaking behemoth such as Omega would attempt to achieve the highest certification at every opportunity. Indeed, 2019 has seen a raft of novelties bearing the Master Chronometer hallmark.
As well as two Constellation models—a Globemaster Annual Calendar in traditional black and steel, and a Manhattan with a glistening blue aventurine glass dial—Omega has also released a pair of new men’s business-focused slim De Ville Trésor models, one in steel with a blue dial, and one with a gold case and an enamel dial.
Three new Speedmasters made to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing have also earned the Master Chronometer certification. However, the biggest movement for 2019 comes for the Seamaster, with no fewer than nine new variants all bearing the Master Chronometer moniker.
The brand’s Seamaster 300M is available in a range of variants, from the classic 42mm stainless steel case with white ceramic dial to the 41mm 18K yellow gold case and distinctive green South African malachite stone dial. There are also three new Speedmaster 300M Chronographs, each with 44mm cases, in blue and steel; black and gold; and steel, gold and ceramic.