In November 2017, a rare “Observatory” quality Omega sold at Phillips for a whopping $1.4 million. It was an auspicious moment – the first time the brand had cleared the illustrious $1m mark at auction – but then it was an important piece: the only surviving example of 12 tourbillon-equipped models created to take part in the Neuchâtel and Kew-Teddington Observatory timekeeping competitions of the 1940s. Having won a prize in 1950, the storied escapement would take centre stage at Omega again – quite literally – in 1994, when the Bienne-based company unveiled the first wristwatch with a tourbillon carriage positioned in the middle of the dial.
The characteristic configuration features again in another first for the company: a centre-mounted Master Chronometer-certified self-winding tourbillon that's also equipped with a further pillar of the brand's ongoing research and development – antimagnetic properties that allow the tourbillon cage to keep rotating even while subjected to magnetic fields of 15,000 gauss.
As befits such a prestigious piece, Omega has gone all-out on its 43mm case. In common with Rolex, Omega uses its own proprietary alloys, in this instance a fiery 18-carat “Sedna” rose gold in the lugs, bezel and case back (through which can be viewed the Co-Axial Master Chronometer Calibre 2640 movement). The central case body, buckle logo and crown logo are all made from an exclusive 18-carat white-gold alloy known as “Canopus” gold.
In addition to its bridges and mainplate, 18-carat Sedna gold can also be found in the black PVD dial, a chic shade that chimes nicely with the tourbillon cage's hand-polished bevels in black ceramised titanium.
Delivered in a special box equipped with both a travel pouch and a watch crown winder, the new De Ville Tourbillon Numbered Edition costs $170,450 and comes with a five-year warranty. omegawatches.com