Omega Keeps Time at the London Games
by roberta naas
Few things about the Olympics are as impressive as the precision that goes into measuring the various events. Omega has this timing—and the technology behind it—down pat: This summer marks the 25th time the brand has been tapped as the official timekeeper of the Olympic Games. The luxury watchmaker will use cutting-edge timekeeping and data handling to record and display the results of every event, taking 2,000 pictures per second from before the start of a race through its finish. Because of the live broadcasts, Omega has just three seconds to collect the data, determine the results, and post them.
As part of this effort, Omega will also launch a commemorative line of Olympic-themed watches at the London Games. For its Olympic Timeless Collection, the brand has developed the London 2012 Limited Edition timepieces. Two models are new Seamaster Aqua Terra 44mm Chronographs. One features a case crafted in 18k rose gold and stainless steel, with a dark blue leather strap; the other, a stainless steel with a steel bracelet. Also released as part of this collection is the Seamaster 1948 Co-Axial, a redesign of Omega’s first automatic Seamaster, released the same year as the prior London Olympics
As you tune in to the London Games from your summer getaway on the East End, consider a few new Omega innovations that were several years in development: the Open Water Gate, for swimming; Quantum Timers, for swimming and cycling; and new launch pads for track. The Quantum Aquatics Timer and Quantum Timer mark resolutions to one millionth of a second and represent the beginning of a new generation of Omega timing products. The precision is achieved through the use of a component created by Micro Crystal (a Swatch Group company) that is embedded in the timer. It enables 16 independent clocks to time 16 separate running times.
The new track starting blocks were developed in response to runners’ feedback, and they measure their time and power when taking off. These devices are so precise that it is significantly easier to determine a false start (leaving one one-thousandths of a second too early).
"Timing the Olympic games is a technology with complete systems that are constantly being improved thanks to input from the athletes,” says Stephen Urquhart, president of Omega. “Without their feedback, we could not be 100 percent foolproof. Our association sparks significant innovations in timekeeping that have changed the way we view fractions of seconds.”
With these new innovations in mind, you might just view the Olympics and precision timing in a new light. Let the Games begin.