No Time Like the Present: Four Omega watches perfect for Christmas
The season of giving, and therefore the season of buying, is now upon us and hopefully there is a lucky friend or loved one who will be unwrapping a present on Christmas Day. I thought it fitting to go through the major brands and pick out four of my favorite watches that I think would make excellent gifts this Christmas. Rather than restricting my choices by price, I instead went with four categories: Ladies, Sports, Dress and an honorary mention. I've approached this from the perspective of someone looking to buy a gift so whilst some of my points might seem elementary to watch fans, it might make the world of difference to someone buying a watch for the first time.Before you do go out and buy a watch I would recommend reading a guide I wrote last year on how to get a great price on a new watch.
I've said before that I truly think Omega is one of the best watch companies in Switzerland right now for advancing horology and watchmaking techniques. They aren't making small batch watches like Laurent Ferrier or F.P. Journe but with their Co-Axial movements and now Master Chronometer certification on forthcoming pieces they are pushing the mass-market industry in the right direction. Apart from speciality pieces like the Speedmaster Z-33 and the X-33 Skywalker, Omega have removed all quartz watches for men from production with only a few 26mm ladies pieces remaining. I know that eventually they want their entire range to be free of quartz which is a truly admirable goal, especially as it will alienate people looking for a cheaper point of entry. They are perhaps guilty of milking the Speedmaster/Moonwatch connection a little too much for my liking but who can blame them really? All Omega watches now come in a beautiful wood lacquer box that was usually reserved for their speciality and solid gold pieces so presentation on Christmas is not an issue. The Ladies, Sports and dress watches below all come with a five year warranty with the Honorary mention only having a two year.
Ladies: Omega Seamaster Professional Planet Ocean, Ref: 188.8.131.52.03.11
Who said that all great ladies watches have to have bling on them? This Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 37.5mm will not be for every lady out there but as an everyday watch that can last from generation to generation this is my favorite. If you are after a more traditional Ladies watch then I suggest either something from the De Ville or Constellation Collections. For those worried about the weight of what appears to be a big chunky watch (Even though it's barely 38mm) then fear not as the case and bracelet are made from titanium which is exceptionally light as it has a density 56% lighter than steel. The Co-Axial calibers that Omega has been using for the past five years are a marvel of mass produced horology, capable of lasting 8-10 years without a service. With large broad arrow hands and thick hour markers all coated with bright Super-Luminova this was is very legible in low light conditions whether it be under the waves or stumbling through the door late at night trying not to wake anyone. For me one of the best features in three of my chosen watches (This one, Sports and Dress) is Omega' quick time and date setting function which allows the hour and date to be changed without interrupting the second or minute hand. Current price plus tax : $8500
Sports: Seamaster Professional Planet Ocean 600M Chronograph, Ref:184.108.40.206.03.001
I don't usually go in for his and hers watches but this is one my favorite dive chronographs out there, not just from Omega. It's a good thing that, like the ladies Planet Ocean, this piece is made of titanium because it is a beast. 46mm wide and sitting very high off the wrist, this is not a watch that will go unnoticed. Not only do you get the benefit of the lighter weight with titanium but also Omega's patented liquid metal and ceramic bezel. What does that mean? Well the blue bezel ring is made of ceramic which is one of the hardest substances used in watchmaking and is almost impervious to wear and tear ; instead of painting the hour markers on the ceramic bezel, Omega cut down into the bezel using a laser to from "molds" and then pushed liquid metal into these molds. The liquid metal again is incredibly strong and won't fade away over time.The exhibition caseback showcases the Co-Axial chronograph Calibre 9300 beautifully which has some really amazing decoration and engraving on the rotor and bridges. The chronograph uses a column wheel which feels really smooth when starting, stopping and resetting and can be used as a second time zone indicator if some imagination is applied. Current price plus tax: $10600
Dress: Omega De Ville Tresor in Yellow Gold, Ref. 4220.127.116.11.09.001
I remember holding this watch in my hands at Baselworld 2014 and found myself thinking "I wonder how far I can make it before the security guard tackles me". I love this watch. Everyone this year has been talking about the Globemaster, which has sort of eclipsed this watch for some, and whilst that is a great looking watch, I think this is a perfect example of timeless elegant design. The De Ville Tresor (Strong box in French) is only available in precious metals making it quite an expensive stocking filler but it is so beautiful I couldn't resist choosing it for the dress category. The Tresor has the only manual wind movement that is named Master Co-Axial meaning that it can resist the influences of magnetic fields over 15,000 Gauss (Read a lot) and is a COSC certified movement. If you want to know more about Omega's new Master Chronometer certification and the Globemaster then click here. Being a manual wind watch it is exceptionally slim and will easily fit under a shirt cuff with room to spare. I know this isn't the cheapest watch but this is truly a timepiece that can be handed down from generation to generation, father to son, mother to daughter. The watch is actually limited to 88 pieces (same with the rose and white gold) so best hop aboard your sleigh straight to your nearest Omega boutique to grab one quick! current price plus tax: $174000
Honorary Mention: Omega Speedmaster Professional Ref.318.104.22.168.01.005
What other watch was it really going to be? The Moonwatch. It's a classic and rightly so and now is the perfect time to buy one with Omega having updated certain aspects of the watch last year. The bracelet changed from a pin and barrel to screw-down and believe me when I say that it was long over due. I hate pin & barrel and so does anyone trying to adjust your watch. Not only does it make their lives easier but it means you watch will be more secure for years to come. The box was changed to a special flight case which comes with a NATO strap, adjusting tool, eye loupe and Speedmaster medallion for good measure. It can be a bit tricky at first but changing the bracelet to a NATO or leather strap is something that can easily be done at home. There is always the option of getting a vintage Speedmaster however be prepared to go down a rabbit hole for a long time when it comes to different years/references/dials etc. Also be prepared to spend a lot more which an original 1957 Speedmaster selling at Christies for over $137,000. Something to be aware i is that this Speedmaster still has the original domed hesalite crystal from 1969 which can scratch very easily if not careful. Get some Polywatch as a stocking filler which can buff the scratches out with aid from some elbow grease and a clean cloth. Buy this watch and allow someone's inner astronaut to come out! Current price plus tax: $5250.