Recently, Omega released a range of new collections—each serving as a nod to tradition and technological advancements. From the Seamaster to the Constellation and the Speedmaster, all the watches have undergone show stopping upgrades. Slimmer and smarter, the Speedmaster ‘57 is one such timepiece. Boasting a smaller size and straighter lugs, the watch appears to be vintage-inspired. During a conference call, Raynald Aeschlimann, the CEO and president of Omega, affirmed, “It is a vintage-oriented watch.” While that may be so, he adds that the timepiece is evocative of modern tastes. He expounds, “You see [it] more on the wrists of young people than on older generations.” For a brand such as Omega whose legacy is rooted in its timeless design, offering vintage-inspired watches is more about the brand’s DNA than style.
Omega and the vintage market
According to Aeschlimann, Omega’s work over the years makes the brand nothing short of an “icon”—a word he likes to use sparingly. It is the company’s respect for their past that inspires their designs today. “So, everything that’s being said in the real world about vintage, we appreciate. It’s reminding all the people of what our DNA [is],” he mentions. He affirms this sentiment by pointing to the fact that Omega is the only brand selling the legendary NATO strap crafted especially for old watches. That said, he acknowledges that progress—in style and technique—is indispensable. “We are very lucky to have been one of the pioneers, if not the pioneer, of supporting not only this work, like creating history-related modern watches like the ‘57, but also creating trendy, and not vintage-looking, watches that are also successful,” he shares.
All things considered, the vintage market is important for Omega as it brings the brand closer to the community. For instance, of the timepiece’s creators, he reveals, “These guys have the passion, and they also know that whatever we are developing in the same line 60 years later, even though it’s not vintage looking, it has the same spirit.” Ultimately though, he declares that the Speedmaster is a chronograph line and nothing else.
By retaining certain vintage-style features, the brand ensures that people cherish the pride of being part of the Omega community. After all, in the end, “They are also incredible ambassadors of our brand,” Aeschlimann notes.
Balancing exclusivity with everyday appeal
“It’s a quest we are continuing to have,” he divulges. Customer centricity has been integral to Omega’s growth; in fact, it has inspired it to do more. He expounds, “We keep the balance by offering the best we can. As I said, these new aqua terra dials, they’re quite amazing, but they’re using technology that last year we could not.” Omega’s goal has been to make its watches accessible without compromising on the finishing and standards. “The balance is not an easy one,” he admits, “but the most important [thing] is to be able to be a manufacturer of an industrial base. That means not just [creating] two or three pieces of its references and being so proud that they are at I don’t know which price. For me, it’s being able to support each and every market with some quantities.”
He reveals that the back orders today amount to approximately 50,000 pieces. The demand is high; yet, the goal is not to increase orders. “It’s about creating the mission. And, if you look at the price level and the value, you get an incredible piece of art,” he says. People wearing the timepieces are the best ambassadors, and they are supported by great market prices.
Omega aspires to make each product unique, fit to complement the sartorial preferences of each wearer. It wants the customers to feel like they are a part of the brand, and they have a say in what goes. Aeschlimann concludes, “What is most important is the image that has been given by the happy wearers who know that they can get that watch and the value will stay, which is also important and not really the case with a lot of watch brands in our industry, to be honest with you.”
Technique has been at the heart of Omega’s timepieces. It’s what took it to the moon, and, more recently, enabled it to dive 6,000 metres into the ocean. In the years to come, the brand will continue to create timepieces that not only test the limits of watchmaking but also claim their rightful spot in the everyday aficionado’s collection.