Cover The new Omega Seamaster Ultra Deep

Brand president and CEO Raynald Aeschlimann talks about Omega’s new watches of 2022; but will there be a watch NFT?

One day after the unveiling of Omega’s 2022 novelties, the brand’s president and CEO Raynald Aeschlimann talks about the new, record-breaking Seamaster Planet Ocean Ultra Deep model. The first Ultra Deep watch was sent down the Mariana Trench in 2019, when explorer Victor Vescovo took it down to a depth of 10,935m. Now in 2022, the Ultra Deep is available to the public for the first time with the release of seven new models, each water-resistant to 6,000m, a new high—or low, as it were—for the watch industry. Omega also released new Seamaster, Constellation and Speedmaster watches for 2022. 

Tell us about the Ultra Deep: what makes it such an iconic watch?

I hate the word icon because everyone talks about icons. For me, Planet Ocean is iconic because it’s top of the line, and it has set a new standard with this milestone [of 6,000 metres in depth]. Our brand image is not just about marketing, but also about our innovation. Technology is part of what we believe in and what makes our brand so strong. 

I love the “manta lugs”—I had the chance once to to visit one of the islands in the Caribbean where there are plenty of manta rays. It’s such an incredible way of linking the watch to nature and the protection of the environment.

 

Does Omega have plans for the metaverse?

I’m not going to say no, because that’s obviously stupid; but I’m not going to say yes, because you’ll publish it and tomorrow I’ll be the king of the metaverse, and I still don’t have an avatar!

This world is an interesting one and it is evolving; and we are aware of the evolution. We don’t want to be simply opportunistic, because opportunities bring a lot of discussion; I want a 360-degree concept. There is a time for everything. We are watchmakers; we are very creative and very open-minded. 

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The Speedmaster 57, with its smaller size, straighter lugs, and no facets on the case, is a very vintage-inspired watch. How important is the vintage market to Omega?

I always hear people saying the Speedmaster is a vintage watch and I always say that’s crazy: it’s a totally modern watch that you see more on the wrists of young consumers than on the older generation. When they talk about vintage, they're talking about the DNA, about what has made the world change; and we like it. We also respect the past. We appreciate and support the vintage market, and I’m very happy to have people getting to know our brand and take pride in being part of the community. To me personally, this is a privilege because these people are incredible ambassadors of our brand. That’s why we continue to develop lines like the 57, to respect this spirit. 

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There are brands that are known for being consistently sold out when it comes to their products, or at least release novelties that are extremely hard to get. Omega is known as more accessible; how did you decide on this strategy?

We have stores in every part of the world. Our customers have made us what we are today. We want them to be proud and to have what they are looking for. This is what I call it the customer orientation of Omega: customer-centricity. This has been our strategy, and it is a strategy that works very well. With a record-breaking success like the Ultra Deep, the watch is already on wish lists across our stores, and we will deliver accordingly with production. We’re not just going to produce two or three for no reason. Customer-centricity is the essence of our brand and it’s very important to me. 

The interview has been edited for length and clarity. 

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