With its new Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra GMT (Ref. 126.96.36.199.01.001) automatic wrist watch, the Swiss watchmaker has finally added a model with a second time zone functionality to its dressy Aqua Terra line. Although detail clearly looks a bit more cluttered now than on the original three-hander, I must admit that the timepiece still passed its primary test of telling time in two separate time zones with flying colors. We here can only hope that the brand will soon decided to expand the range with another similarly styled, but more compact models 38-40 (tops!) millimeters in diameter for those of us still preferring less conspicuous objects of luxury on their wrists.
Details are scarce (we hope to find out more when the Swiss brand either during the upcoming SIHH 2012 or the following it Baselworld 2012 event,) but it is known that the watch will be delivered in at least three versions, including a model in stainless steel (pictured,) as well as a version in gold and in a more affordable two-tone mixte.
According to Omega’s official press release, the watch is going to be powered by their new Omega Co-Axial caliber 8605/8615.
It is their first de jure in-house caliber to feature a GMT module (their current Seamaster 300 M GMT diver is animated by the Omega caliber 2628, which is in fact just a heavily modified and redecorated ETA 2892-A2 ebauche.)
As usual for their in-house movements, the new caliber is officially certified by the local COSC authority as a chronometer, which ensures its high accuracy and reliability. As the other mechanisms in their recent bunch of co-axial calibers, this one beats at a relatively slow frequency of 25,200 vibrations per hour which results in its seconds hand moving in a slightly jerkier fashion (I am sure that most people won’t see the difference with faster mechanisms that oscillate at more usual by today’s standards frequency of 28,800 vph though).
The movement is hidden inside a nicely sculpted body that, being around 43 millimeters in diameter, seems to be too large for a dress watch, but will be just fine if you plan to wear the timekeeper with jeans and a polo shirt.
In order to make the dial look as clean as possible, the Swiss designers decided to place the GMT numerals (they are displayed in a military-style 24-hour format so there is no need for a separate day/night indicator) inside the inner part of the dial.
This allowed them to make the GMT hours hand as short as the primary hours indicator clearly separating the former from the central seconds hand that, too, sports the traditional arrow-shaped tip.
Judging by the photos, all main elements of the dial are generously covered with some luminous substance (possibly, Superluminova,) so the night time legibility will not be a problem.
Pricing is still unknown*, but I doubt that it will cost more than $6500.
* UPDATE ON PRICE: The watch will retail at quite impressive $7800 USD. Well, I don’t know.
Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra GMT (Ref. 188.8.131.52.01.001) automatic watch specification
Price: $7800 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, Omega Co-Axial caliber 8605/8615, in-house, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 38
Movement frequency: 25,200 vph
Movement decoration: Bridges and the oscillating weight decorated with exclusive Geneva waves in arabesque
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, GMT
Power reserve: 60 hours
Case material: Stainless steel
Bezel material: Matches case
Crown material: Matches case
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 43.00 mm
Case height: 14.80 mm
Lug width: N/A
Hour markers: Luminous
Water resistance: 150 m
Strap: Black leather strap
Case back: Sapphire