The Master Chronometer certification issued by METAS is a kind of Super- or even Hyper-Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres (COSC)-certification. I invite you to discover what’s behind …
>>> Part one on page one of my report shows you the new METAS laboratory and explains you the steps a watch has to through to be certified as a Master Chronometer.
>>> Part two on page two shows you the new Omega manufacturing site in Villeret in Switzerland where the Omega Co-Axial Master Chronometer caliber’s are manufactured.
>>> Part three on page three shows you the first Omega certified as Master Chronometer: the Omega Globemaster. On page three you will also be able to listen to my interview with Omega President Stephen Urquhart.
The Master Chronometer certification established by METAS and Omega marks a new standard of quality, going well beyond the Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres (COSC) certification by which watches are usually measured. Although COSC-testing remains an integral part of the new defined process, Omega is doubling its certification with a new METAS approved standard, proving levels of precision, performance and anti-magnetic resistance like never before.
Who is METAS?
The Federal Institute of Metrology (METAS) serves as the federal center of competence for all issues related to measurement and for measuring equipment and measuring procedures. It is the Swiss national metrology institute. As such, its mandate is to ensure the availability in Switzerland of measurement and testing facilities with the degree of accuracy needed to meet the requirements of the economy, research and administration. It fulfills its mandate in collaboration with third parties: In legal metrology with the verification laboratories as well as the cantons and their verification officers; in the dissemination of units with its designated institutes. The METAS headquarter is located in Wabern (Commune of Köniz) near Bern.
The new METAS laboratory located in Biel at the Omega headquarter
The Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology (METAS) has ensured that testing for the Master Chronometer leaves no room for doubt. Including exposure to a magnetic force of 15,000 gauss, each watch is subjected to eight separate examinations, with every step carefully checking for function and accuracy. It goes without saying, that the margins for passing these independent tests are much tighter than those set by Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres (COSC).
Please note: Any brand can submit its watches for this intensive 10-day process.
Today it is only Omega to proudly present the world’s first Master Chronometer.
I invite you now to listen to my interview with Andreas Hobmeier, Omega VP, Head of Procurement & Production. He will tell you what it means for Omega to get the METAS certification.
If you are interested in the subject this is a VERY INTERESTING interview to listen to!
These are the 8 METAS approved tests …
Before the METAS testing can start the movement already successfully passed the 14 days of Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres (COSC) testing!
All the tests described here are additional!
- AVERAGE DAILY PRECISION OF THE WATCH
This test runs over 4 days and checks the daily precision of the watch in real life wearing conditions. The watch is initially placed in six different positions and two alternating temperatures, then exposed to magnetism of 15,000 gauss, then demagnetized, then finally checked again in the same differing positions and temperatures. For each step, a photograph is taken of the watch and checked 24 hours later for accuracy against UTC time.
- FUNCTION OF COSC-APPROVED MOVEMENT DURING EXPOSURE TO 15,000 GAUSS MAGNETIC FIELD
This test examines the movement of the watch only, placing it in two different positions, and subjecting it to a magnetic force of 15,000 gauss. During a time of 30 seconds in each position, the functioning of the movement is audibly checked using a microphone.
- FUNCTION OF WATCH DURING EXPOSURE TO 15,000 GAUSS MAGNETIC FIELD
This test is similar to the second. On this occasion, instead of just the movement being tested, the entire watch is subjected to magnetic fields of 15,000 gauss, with the functioning being checked by way of audio. In today’s modern world, magnetism is all around us, in places such as tablets, phones, hairdryers and even the metallic clasps of women’s handbags. Mechanical watches without anti-magnetic innovation can suffer long-term effects in their accuracy when exposed to these magnetic fields.
- DEVIATION OF DAILY PRECISION AFTER EXPOSURE TO 15,000 GAUSS MAGNETIC FIELD
This test works out the average deviation of the watch between day 2 and 3 of the first test. The result shows the daily precision of the watch before and after exposure to a magnetic field of 15,000 gauss.
- WATER RESISTANCE
This test submerges the watch underwater, gradually applying more pressure up the point of the stated water resistance. For certain watches, it also goes beyond. This ensures that each watch is properly tested for underwater conditions.
- POWER RESERVE
This test checks the power reserve of the watch by taking pictures at the beginning and end of the expected limit. Checking any deviation again, this proves that each watch functions accurately for its stated time. For wearers, it’s valuable to know that, even after a weekend on the bedside table, your watch will still be performing well.
- DEVIATION OF RATE BETWEEN 100% AND 33% OF POWER RESERVE
This test puts the watch in six different positions, similar to each side of a dice. With the watch at full power, the watch spends 30 seconds in each position, with average precision recorded by way of audio . The power reserve is then reduced by two thirds and checked again, to ensure that precision is kept even when the watch is not at full power.
- DEVIATION OF RATE IN SIX POSITIONS
This test is similar to the previous test, and checks for any deviation in the running time when the watch is placed in six different positions, similar again to each side of a dice. With 30 seconds in each position, the results are recorded through audio. By placing a watch in different positions, we can ensure a watch’s performance no matter what the wearer is doing, whether it’s sitting at a desk or actively playing sport.
The ultimate goal of all that testing is to ensure that the Omega watch will keep 0 / +5 seconds a day under all conditions!
These are pictures of the new Omega laboratory in Biel to fulfill the METAS testing requirements.
Pictures of the watch dial and its hands are taken to control the daily deviation …
In these two chambers the watches are tested in different positions and at two different temperatures: 23 and 33 degrees centigrade. The two pictures below show the chamber with 23 degrees.
These are pictures of the official METAS office located at the Omega headquarter in Biel.
The METAS office is controlling the testing Omega does.
METAS has at anytime all rights to intervene and test any sample needed. So Omega is under ongoing supervision of METAS during all testing procedures.
Attention! This is NOT self-adulation and of course NOT a kind of in-house test done by Omega without official control!
Omega marks a new standard of quality, going well beyond the Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres (COSC) certification being used so far …
The METAS laboratory has all the machines and computers necessary to control the daily testing of Omega.
Of course everything done here is transparent!
The client gets this red card certifying that his watch passed the Master Chronometer testing. Either through the Omega website or simply by scanning the card´s NFC chip with a smartphone you will get all relevant information about your watch and how the watch performed during testing…
>>>Part two on page two shows you the new Omega manufacturing site in Villeret in Switzerland where the Omega Co-Axial Master Chronometer caliber’s are manufactured. >>>
I am in full agreement with Alexander. I am an engineer, a chemical, not a mechanical, but i still marvel at the intricacies of manufacture of a mechanical watch. It is a thing of beauty. The quartz watch admittedly is usually more accurate but it’s a computer. I don’t purchase a watch for accuracy alone. My cell phone is very accurate. I applaud Omega in improving the performance of their watches.
I understand that the organisation that does the test is independent. HOWEVER, I bet that the criteria of the test were developed together with Omega, otherwise why so much focus on exactly 15000 gauss which is exactly what omega had been promoting since a few years, and which almost nobody else can offer, an elegant way of excluding nearly all competitors initially.
While antimagnetism is useful, 15K gauss is only important if you work on the Large Hadron Collider or certain other machines. For nearly all other daily circumstances, 1000 gauss resistanc ewill be sufficient.
ps to other comments: I like the charm of mechanical movements, but I have no problem with well executed quartz either. They have a technical elegance on their own. And if you don’t look at the back of a jumping second mechanical watch like the JLC Geophysic or Habring2, you would think it is quartz.
Tom, I do have to disagree with you! 1000 Gauss today by far are NOT ENOUGH! Small and strong magnets used in daily live applications as hand- and/or messenger-bags do easily reach 5000 Gauss and more. The 31 magnets in the iPad and the Smart Cover together are another example, cooking with an induction field another one … So Omega with 15.000 Gauss just did the right thing …
I agree withe mr. Alexander Linz
I’m sad to concede that you are absolutely correct. My quartz watches have no soul. I checked the box this morning, asking them, “Do you have a soul”. But sadly, not a peep. Not even from the quartz Omega or the quartz Alpina.
Next I repeated the query with my box of high-end mechanicals. But I’m sorry to report that not even one of the trio made in the hallowed town of Glashutte responded. They too are indeed devoid of soul.
Next, while retrieving my morning paper I asked my Volvo the same question. But there was no response. We are hosting Thanksgiving today and a Porsche is coming. So there is still hope.
I have heard it said ,that a hand wind mechanical watch ,connects the watch with it’s owner . It creates a bond that a quartz watch can’t because there is no interaction between the watch and owner, as there is with a hand wind watch.
Having said this I can still understand where a Quartz watch is preferred over a Mechanical watch. My Mother only wears a watch when she goes out , so a mechanical watch would not be practical for her because she would have to reset it every time she leaves the house.
Very interesting but i am not convinced at all.
Because this is from Omega and not an independant firm.
I completely do not agree about your statement about quartz watches etc.
Did you read my article entirely, did you listen to the interviews?There can be no doubt that all the testing is 100% controlled by an independent authority and in the case of COSC done by an independent authority.
And concerning what I think about Quartz watches I with great pleasure repeat here that they are “dead”, they have no “soul”.
Everyone is free to buy the watch he wants, if you prefer quartz that’s a good choice, since it is your choice …
You wrote, “A quartz watch is “dead” has no soul”. ..”Quartz simply is boring, yet uninteresting …”
Your entire article focuses on the special efforts to make and test a wristwatch that is more accurate. If this watch were not more accurate, you would not have written this article. There was no goal other than accuracy driving these efforts and your article about that.
Does this watch have more “soul” than ordinary mechanicals. If it has more, why? It only differs in accuracy. If you think this greater accuracy has enhanced its soul, I can show you watches that have 200 times greater soul at 1/100 of the cost.
If you think its soul is unchanged by these efforts, then why did you write about it?
When writing about soul I meant ALL mechanical watches. It is not so important how accurate a mechanical is in the end, the fact that the watch has a “heart that beats” already makes the big difference. With METAS and the Master Chronometer certificate Omega proves how good its watches are today and to what extend they always show the correct time. One can always do better and improve quality, so why not talking about it. People loving mechanical watches are thrilled about such news… Once again you compare things that can not be compared …
It’s a shame to me that so much effort is spent on achieving accuracy of 0 to +5 seconds per day, when a good quartz movement is that accurate per 200 days. The mechanical watch industry is engaged in a scam. They tell people that these inaccurate, delicate, and expensive movements are better than quartz. Not only are mechanical movements grossly inferior timekeepers, but they require routine services costing many hundreds of dollars.
Sometimes the mechanical watch makers proudly proclaim that they don’t need battery changes, but even that is a scam. There are plenty of quartz watches which are powered by light or movement that never need battery changes. Furthermore, many quartz watches run for ten years on the same battery. During those ten years the mechanical watch requires two services, each costing $500.
Every maker and seller who tells the customer that mechanical watches are the best type is a liar.
You compare things that can not be compared. A quartz watch is “dead” has no soul, a mechanical watch has a “heart that beats”, “lives”, “has a soul”. Everything here is about emotions and the enthusiasm of all the people behind to bring such unbelievable objects on our wrists. Quartz simply is boring, yet uninteresting even if the quartz watch would run for eternity without any deviation. Sorry once again, but I have to tell you that you compare things that can not be compared…
Furthermore, a hand wind mechanical watch, connects an owner with their watch even more . Winding the watch creates a bond between the watch and the owner, even further than an automatic mechanical watch .
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