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Commentary on the new Omega Seamaster Aqua-Terra Ultra Light

by Peter Chong on August 27, 2019
Overview
Brand

Omega Seamaster Aqua-Terra 150m Ultra Light

Complication / Type of Watch

ultra light sports watch in gamma titanium case and telescopic crown
water resistance 150m

Recommended Retail Price

S$ 67,500 inclusive of GST

Omega updates the Aqua-Terra collection with a Ultra Light model, in Gamma Titanium and a telescopic crown. To be available by early 2020 in three colours – red, blue and green. Here is the press release and our reaction commentary.

Press Release

In sport, every athlete looks for the advantage that will raise their game. This is the same approach that Omega has taken to the new Seamaster Aqua Terra “Ultra Light”. As the name suggests, this ingenious sports watch is designed for less weight and more comfort during competition. To achieve that goal, every feature has been creatively rethought, resulting in a new edge of watchmaking innovation.

Omega Seamaster Aqua-Terra Ultra Light

Designed in collaboration with Rory McIlroy

Behind the development of OMEGA’s latest Master Chronometer was one of golf’s major talents: Rory McIlroy. The OMEGA ambassador helped the product development team to create a watch perfectly suited to the needs of athletes.

I’m proud to have played a role in the development of Omega’s new lightweight sports watch. I know what an athelete needs in a watch and through collaboration with Omega we were able to modify the timepiece. The new “Ultra Light” is an absolute pleasure to wear, whatever sport you play.

Rory McIlroy
Omega golf ambassador

New case material for Omega – Gamma Titanium

When presented on its sporty fabric strap, the ergonomic “Ultra Light” has a case diameter of 41mm and weighs just 55g. The dial is sandblasted grade 5 Titanium, and features a negative relief motif. The amount of material is kept to a minimum to save weight.

The case, caseback and crown are fashioned from an alloy called Gamma Titanium – a first for Omega. Gamma titanium is harder and lighter conventional titanium.

Telescopic crown

Another first for OMEGA is the telescopic crown, which can be stowed inside the case when not in use. This ergonomic feature where the crown can be pushed into the case, and ensure that a smooth case which does not disturb the movement of an athlete’s hands during the game.

Three variants

Each “Ultra Light” is presented on a rubber strap, and also comes with an in-play fabric strap for perfect comfort when required. Designed for preventing glare from the sun, OMEGA’s matte finished Aqua Terra makes bold use of colour on the aluminium seconds hand, Seamaster logo, quarter hour indexes and strap stitching.

Three colour choices are available: red, green or blue.

The movement – Caliber 8928 in titanium

Shedding the weight did not reduce the watch’s precision or performance. In fact, the timepiece comes with OMEGA’s full 5-year warranty. On the inside, the “Ultra Light” is driven by OMEGA’s first- ever titanium movement.

All the bridges and the main plate are in ceramised titanium, which means there’s less friction between the components and it gives the movement this special dark grey colour. Calibre 8928 Titanium is a manual-winding calibre with Co-Axial escapement. As a certified Master Chronometer approved by the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology (METAS), the Calibre 8928 Titanium is resistant to magnetic fields of 15,000 gauss. Much like OMEGA’s sporting ambassadors, it has proven its worth under the toughest conditions.

Commentary and impressions

In comparison to other ultra light watches, the approach Omega has taken is to focus on the functional aspects of a sports watch. They have chosen to work with golfer Rory McIlroy. And the design follows the function. This is evident in features like the crown’s telescopic capability to be retracted flush into the case, making it more comfortable as it does not dig into the wrist during activity. And immunity to disturbances of shock, of magnetic fields. And a useful water resistance rating of 150m.

The use of titanium on the case, dial and movement is a clever step to a lightweight watch. The use of gamma titanium, while a new material for watch cases, is not itself a new material. It was first used in large scale industry in the low pressure turbine blades on the GEnx engine by General Electric in the Boeing 787 and 747-8 aircraft engines, and is an alloy of titanium and aluminium. Titanium aluminide exists in three major intermetallic compounds: gamma TiAl, alpha 2-Ti3Al and TiAl3. Gamma TiAl is the alloy used by Omega. It is lightweight and resistant to oxidation and heat.

The watch is quite light at 55g in a strap. In comparison, the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic weighs 73g in the titanium case and bracelet with conventional rhodium plated brass movement.

But the Omega Ultra Light is nowhere near the lightest in existence. The various Richard Mille models handily trumps it in the weighing scales – the RM 50-03 Tourbillon Split Seconds Chronograph McLaren weighs only 38g, and carries a tourbillon and a split seconds chronograph. And even that is beaten by its brother, the RM27-02 Rafael Nadal which comes in at only 19g. Interestingly, the Richard Milles and Omega have the same shock resistance of 5000g, good for sporting activities. But with the numerous sports useful features the Richard Milles packs-in they also miss aplenty. Both have tourbillon escapements, which are arguably not the most practical for a sports watch. Though the RM50 is equipped with a very complicated split seconds chronograph which is a useful feature for sports. But neither have any meaningful water resistance (only 50m). And both are exorbitantly expensive.

The Omega is not inexpensive at S$67.500, rather very pricey for an Omega, especially when compared to the regular Aqua Terra in SS, but nowhere near the price of either RMs.

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