The new certification, known as the Master Co-Axial Certification will be applied to watches produced by Omega by mid-2015.
Historically, the COSC (Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres) is the de facto standard certification for watches. This certification involves very specific measurements, particularly timing of the rate of the movements.
One of the criticisms of COSC has been that the tests done seeks to bear absolutely no relation to a simulation of watch behaviour and performance when worn. And as a result of this aim, the movements are not cased while being subject to the battery of tests. Another criticism, is that the parameters are easily met by almost all modern, well designed and manufactured movements.
Many other bodies have attempted to improve on the certification process. One of the most rigorous that we know of is the one done by the Qualité Fleurier certification. And yet others are the Bulletin d’Observertoire offered by various labs in France, Germany, England and Switzerland.
It is with interest that the Omega has now announced a new certification. To be known as the Master Co-Axial Certification, it is a collaborative project between the Swatch Group’s Omega and Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology (METAS). The press release goes on to describe the conference. We shall leave you to read it here.
As of now, it is still unclear what the details of this new testing standard involves. We understand, the certification will test watches, now cased and not just movements. And the watches will be exposed to 15,000 Gauss of magnetism before the tests are performed. Amongst the stated improvements include a more vigorous timing requirement of 0 to +5s a day, autonomy tests against stated autonomy and water resistance tests will also be part of the standard.
Is this just another attempt by a company to elevate itself into a class of one? This is not uncommon in the wine industry, the cheese industry. The use these terrior classifications quite normal as a definition of quality. For example, the designation “Champagne” can only be applied to sparkling wines made in the Champagne Region in France.
Some keen industry observers have remarked that we have also seen this restrictive, terrior style classification in the Patek Philippe Seal. Is Omega attempting the same? Or is it a genuine attempt by Omega, and its parent the Swatch Group, one of the industry’s largest, to push forward with a new standard of testing watches and ultimately update or replace COSC. We await to see.