Featuring a unique 360° transparent interior casing, which is set in a more traditional (and also more rigid) 41 mm stainless steel body, the Omega Hour Vision Blue ref. 418.104.22.168.03.001 draws some much-needed attention to the noble cause of supporting ORBIS International’s combat against preventable blindness. Equipped with the Caliber 8500 co-axial self-winding movement, the special-edition model is officially certified as a chronometer by the Swiss-based COSC committee. The certification not only guarantees that the in-house mechanism will adhere to the strictest timekeeping standards but also ensures that Omega uses only highest-grade parts to assemble the mechanism. The cal. 8500 is, by the way, their “slower” mechanism that beats at just 25,200 vibrations per hour.
Put into production around four years ago, this -still relatively fresh- caliber features a double mainspring barrel design that allowed for an increase in power storage to at least 60 hours when fully wound.
Well, part of the increase in autonomy comes courtesy of a new ball bearing winding mechanism that significantly increases the efficiency of winding and also makes the mechanism last longer than the traditional sleeve bearing design.
At this time the movement can be found throughout the model range, including the gorgeous De Ville (as well as the Hour Vision line on which the Hour Vision Blue is based,) the Aqua Terra, and the “professional” diver Ploprof.
And, according to previous statements, Omega plans to spread the movement throughout their whole product range, gradually replacing the Caliber 2500: their first movement with co-axial escapement based on the well-known ETA 2892 ebauche.
Unlike the Caliber 2500, the Caliber 8500 was developed virtually from scratch by a joint effort of brands owned by the Swatch Group.
In the press release that accompanied the launch of the movement Omega even claimed that “the entire movement around the Co-Axial Escapement and every one of its 202 parts was developed and produced in-house.”
Back to our sheep, though.
Unfortunately, the preliminary press photo doesn’t show the Hour Vision Blue in all its beauty.
However, you can see that it features a soothing deep-blue sun-brushed dial with faceted hands and hour markers made of solid white gold.
The framed date aperture at 3 o’clock also looks on its place here with its trapezoidal shape supporting the overall styling of the dial.
It is still not clear whether Omega plans to make the Hour Vision Blue a limited edition model or will produce as many watches as dealers will preorder.
According to the Swiss company, Omega “will donate a minimum of a million dollars to ORBIS International over the next four years,” which seems generous to me. After all, as far as I know, this is not the only charity that Omega donates considerable money to.
Omega Hour Vision Blue (ref. 422.214.171.124.03.001) specification
Price: $7200 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, Co-Axial Caliber 8500, two barrels mounted in series, 25,200 vph, 39 jewels, COSC-certified chronometer, in-house, Swiss Made
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Power reserve: 60 hours
Case: Stainless steel
Size: 41.00 mm
Lug width: 19.00 mm
Case height: 12.20 mm
Dial: Sun-brushed blue
Hands: White gold
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Black authentic leather on steel deployment clasp
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Back: Sapphire, antireflective