“If you’re an Olympian, or trying to become an Olympian, it’s a 24-hour, 7 day a week job. It’s non-stop. It’s around-the-clock…To really be prepared for an Olympic Games, you have to put in the work. You have to go through the struggle. For the journey I went five times, it was never easy, but I know the work that I was doing gave me the results that I deserved,” says Michael Phelps — the most decorated Olympian in history with 28 Olympic Games medals, including 23 gold.
Known as the ultimate prize at the Olympic Games, a gold medal represents the greatest accomplishment of an athlete’s career. In tribute to that iconic sporting honour, Swiss watchmaker OMEGA has crafted two unique timepieces in gold, each dedicated to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. Omega has been the Official Timekeeper of the Olympic Games since 1932, and will serve in the role for the 29th time when the prestigious event begins this July in Japan.
Appropriately, one of the first people to wear this new watch on their wrist is Michael Phelp who has been a part of the Omega family since 2004, and has always known about the importance of time for an athlete.
The new Seamaster Aqua Terra watches are offered in 38mm or 41mm sizes, and both stand out for their radiant yellow gold cases. As always, the brand has used 18K gold, considered to be the premium standard in watch and jewellery making, with its superb balance between purity and practicality.
Presented on blue leather straps, the watches are also notable for their polished blue ceramic dials, which have been laser-engraved with a pattern inspired by the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games emblem. The full emblem can also be found transferred on the casebacks, while inside, each timepiece is driven by a Co-Axial Master Chronometer calibre, guaranteeing the Swiss industry’s highest standard of precision, performance and magnetic resistance.
Interaction with Alain Zorbrist, Chief Executive Officer of Swiss Timing, Omega to get more details:
Q: With the global pandemic sporting evets came to a halt, how do you feel about Omega being the official time keeping partner for the 89th year?
A: In many ways I feel an even greater sense of pride, as we are about to record the Olympic dreams of athletes who have been compelled to wait an extra year for their shot at glory. The pandemic placed their dreams on hold but finally we can go ahead with the great event and serve the athletes as planned. Yes, 89 years have passed since our first Olympic Games in Los Angeles 1932. It is a credit to OMEGA’s commitment to precision and cutting-edge timekeeping technology. To have played such a vital role at the Olympic Games, over such a long stretch of its history is a great honour.
Q: How do you think the delay of a year has impacted sportspersons across the globe?
A: I would imagine that at times it would have been a challenge for the athletes to stay motivated and focused. Excelling at sports is all about constantly improving and building on momentum, so it would have taken a particular mindset to push past the disappointment and keep positive. That said, these are people who have proven themselves as the best athletes on Earth, so they clearly have the fortitude and competitive spirit to put that disappointment behind them and go for gold at Tokyo 2020.
Q: Omega has a special history with the Olympics which dates back to 1932, being the first watch company to be the timekeeping partner of the games; how special and important is this association to the brand.
A: It is incredibly important. A huge source of pride and a key part of who we are as a brand. Tokyo 2020 marks our 29th time in the role as Official Timekeeper. This distinguished legacy speaks volumes in terms of our innovative spirit and commitment to precision. We have proven our worth as timekeepers on the world stage multiple times. Proof that our dedication to excellence extends to everything we do, including our watchmaking.
Q: Nowhere does time matter more than in sporting events where every millisecond is of the essence, as a timekeeper Omega’s innovative mechanisms enable the most accuracy do you agree?
A: Yes, I would agree — and I would go further. In addition to serving the athletes with split-second accuracy, we also create timekeeping technology that is specific to the needs of their discipline. A good example of this is our swimming touchpads, which allow swimmers to stop their own time with their hands. In a sense, we are in a race of our own, as it is vital that we constantly adapt and evolve with the changing needs of sports, especially when the margins are so close. Having almost 90 years of Olympic Games timekeeping experience is a huge advantage, as we have an acute understanding of the event and the needs of the athletes.
Q: Tell us about the History Tunnel
A: Our long history with the Olympic Games began in 1932, when we timed all events with just 30 chronograph stopwatches. Since then we have developed and introduced the most innovative timekeeping technology in sports. Including the photoelectric cell in 1948, the swimming touchpads, I mentioned earlier in 1968 and a photofinish camera that can record up to 10.000 digital images per second in 2014. We can now record up to one millionth of a second, although these margins are not required for Olympic Games applications. Incidentally, the iconic red electronic starting pistol is also an OMEGA innovation. Introduced in 2010.
Q: What do you hope to achieve from the representation this year at the Games?
A: Our primary goal is to serve the athletes — to record their Olympic dreams. This will be our focus as always. It is of course a great opportunity for OMEGA to shine a spotlight on our timekeeping skills and technology — and reinforce the trust millions of people already have for the brand. However, to be measuring every moment for athletes who have waited so long to compete — is a thrill in itself.
The new Seamaster Aqua Terra Tokyo 2020 Gold Editions come with a full 5-year warranty and are delivered to customers inside a special presentation box.