Inside & Out: Omega Aqua Terra Master Co-Axial
This year at Baselworld was a big year for Omega as they announced several new pieces that were met with universal praise and admiration. Countless articles and opinion pieces were written about the De Ville Tresor and the Seamaster 300 which were the two stand out pieces however I feel that the watch that will make the biggest change to Omega was somewhat overlooked. Never as popular as the fellow Seamasters Professional and Planet Ocean, not as classical as a De Ville and not as iconic as a Speedmaster, the Aqua Terra could be considered the lost watch of Omega's current collection. However I feel that this latest iteration is going to be a real game changer for Omega, especially in regards to getting the Master Co-Axial onto wrists.
Inside the heart of this piece is the latest movement from Omega, the new in-house calibre 8500 which boasts to being anti-magnetic to over 15,000 gauss (the scientific unit of measurement of magnetism). Whilst the calibre number has remained the same from the Aqua Terra Co-axial released in 2007, there have been significant changes to the movement which have been incorporated from last years Aqua Terra <15,000. Now the current 8500 features a silicon balance wheel and spring, a pallet fork and various other components of the movement made out a NivaGauss, a hush hush non-ferrous material that is developed by Nivarox exclusively for Omega.
The finishing on the movement is exquisite with decorated Geneva waves engraved across. The eagle eyed can see the one of the new components in the 8500 calibre movement, a gold plated "ninja star", deep down in the depths. Whilst the movement may be partially hidden behind the base plate, I think compared to other movements in a similar price range, Omega's attention to detail clearly makes it superior.
Omega are to be commended for pushing Master Co-Axial by having the movement be one of the main focal points of their new marketing campaign as the central idea behind Master Co-axial is that it will be negating all the pervasive magnetic fields that now surround us daily which means most of it's work will be behind the scenes in silence. Unlike other more noticeable features of a watch like water resistance which is extremely noticeable if it works/fails, perhaps this huge advancement of horology will be overlooked by an owner who perhaps either won't notice a difference in time keeping or didn't care about a few lost minutes per week in the first place. It will be interesting to note in several years time whether Omega's plans to roll out the Master Co-axial across their ranges has succeeded and whether their push for higher Anti-Magnetism standards will be accepted throughout the industry.
With a new movement and bracelet comes also a new range of dial colours and case sizes for the Aqua Terra. . My colour of choice would have to be the blue, as worn by Omega's Norwegian ambassador Magnus Carlson in the latest edition of Lifetime magazine. The subtle way that the sunburst teaked dial catches the light is astonishingly beautiful and easily more eye-catching than the white dial. Omega have made a wise choice in choosing to discontinue the grey dial, I always found it particularly drab and dull, and have replaced it with a deep rich black which looks stunning when paired with a black alligator or crocodile strap. In this new addition, Omega chose to remove the applied box around the date window which I think is a mistake. I'm sure there was good reason to removing it but I personally liked the attention to detail and added finish that it brought to the piece.
One major change to the watch is the updated bracelet with a highly polished middle with matt running down the outside. This bracelet will be familiar to anyone who is a fan of the Speedmaster '57 which released last year. By removing the old bracelet and also changing some of the polishing on the case, the Aqua Terra is more an elegant dress piece with sports elements rather than the "sailing watch" Omega marketed it as. Rather than including the new micro adjustment clasp that debuted in the Speedmaster Mark II earlier in the year, it still maintains the double folding clasp for it's previous model which sits low on the wrist and it's very comfortable to wear.
Now just a few weeks before Christmas, it is the first of Omega Baselworld announcements featuring the Master Co-Axial to be released with all variants available and I think it's going to be a game changer. With added detailing, a more stylish bracelet and a killer movement at a price not too far from it's Co-Axial predecessor, this is the piece that will drive Master Co-axial onto consumer's wrists. Available in 42mm and 39mm for Gents and 39mm and 35mm for ladies, I think this a perfect Christmas present for someone looking to get a fine timepiece that looks just at home with a suit and tie as it does with jeans and polo shirt. Prices are currently at £3800. www.omegawatches.com