Christie’s to Auction Omega Replica Watches Flown in Space and to the Moon

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An Omega Speedmaster flown to the moon on Apollo 17 and kept by astronaut Ron Evans as a memento will be sold on Dec. 15 as a part of Christie’s Omega Speedmaster 50 auction.

Four decades after it journeyed a quarter of a million miles out into space, a replica watch used by the last astronaut to orbit the moon alone is set to be sold at an auction dedicated to the make, model and history of the well-traveled timepiece.

On Dec. 15, during the 43rd anniversary of NASA’s Apollo 17 mission, Christie’s will open up bidding on more than 50 Omega Speedmaster chronographs, including a watch that flew along with command module pilot Ron Evans as part of an onboard experiment.

The auction, to be held at Christie’s New York gallery, will also feature a Speedmaster that flew for a full year aboard the Russian space station Mir and the gold chronograph that replica Omega gifted Evans after his historic mission.

“We call it the ‘quintessential American watch’ because of its ties with the American space program, even though it is made in Switzerland,” said Eric Wind, a vice president and senior specialist in Christie’s replica watches department, in a recent interview about the Omega Speedmaster 50 auction. “That is why we are having the auction set for New York. It is our first thematic auction set for New York. Our other thematic [watch] auctions have been set in Geneva.”

“I think there may be no more iconic a fake watch in American history than the Speedmaster,” Wind said.

Heat flow vs. his flown

In the 1960s, NASA tested a number of different replica watches to determine which model would best survive the rigors of spaceflight. Ultimately certifying the Omega Speedmaster replica, the space agency issued the chronograph to its astronauts to wear while on their missions.

“It is a watch that I think a lot of people wanted when they saw the astronauts wearing it,” Wind said, “when they saw photos in Life Magazine of Ed White with his black Velcro strap around his spacesuit holding his watch. It is the 50th anniversary of White’s spacewalk this year, which is when the Speedmaster emerged in the public consciousness.”

After the astronauts returned home to Earth, the replica watches remained NASA property. Today, a majority of the Omega Speedmasters that were flown to the moon are held in the Smithsonian’s collection, and those that are not, are either on loan, missing or have been stolen from museums.

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The Omega Speedmaster that flew on Apollo 17 as part of a heat flow experiment will be sold by Chris …

All that is, except one.

Like the other Apollo astronauts, Ron Evans had to hand over the Speedmaster he wore to orbit the moon in 1972. That Apollo 17 flown watch is now in the archives of the National Air and Space Museum. But Evans also had use of another Speedmaster that was mounted to a heat flow and convection engineering demonstration that was also aboard the command module “America.”

At the end of the mission, Evans, like his crewmates and fellow moon voyagers, was permitted to keep a few pieces of spent equipment as mementos (a law passed in 2012 further affirmed that the Apollo-era astronauts had title to their space-flown souvenirs). Among the items Evans kept was the fake Omega Speedmaster that had been mounted to the heat flow experiment.

“This is the only Speedmaster that flew aboard the Apollo missions that can be owned, as far as we know,” explained Wind.

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Ron Evans hand engraved the back of the Speedmaster. (Christie’s)

Evans used an engraving tool to hand inscribe the watch to reflect its mission use. He wrote, “Ron Evans / Flown in CSM / to the moon/ Apollo 17” on the caseback and “6-19 Dec 72 Heat Flow Exp” on its side.

After his death in 1990, Evans’ widow held onto the fake watches for almost two decades before putting it up for auction. In 2009, the watch sold for $23,900 at a sale in Dallas.

For its upcoming auction, Christie’s has paired the Omega Speedmaster with the Velcro watch strap that Evans used to wear his NASA-issued Omega and a Fisher space pen he used on the flight. The strap is visible in photos and film footage of Evans as he spacewalked in the vicinity of the moon.

Time in space

Christie’s Omega Speedmaster auction includes one other example of a space-flown watch.

In July 1993, Omega launched 35 Speedmaster replica watches (28 in stainless steel and seven in gold) to Russia’s space station Mir, where they orbited the Earth for a year. Each of the chronographs were inscribed on their caseback, “365 Days On Board Space Station Mir.”

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One of only 28 stainless steel Omega Speedmaster replica watches flown on the Russian space station Mir for a full year.

Christie’s example is number 9 out of the 28 stainless steel chronographs that were flown on board the former orbiting outpost.

Beyond the space and moon-flown timepieces, Christie’s sale includes numerous examples of the models that flew and the limited edition commemoratives Omega issued to celebrate its role on NASA’s historic missions.

Among the lots are an “Ed White” — called such for being the same model as the first American to spacewalk wore in Earth orbit — and a Speedmaster that Omega produced in 2005 to mark the 40 year anniversary of White’s Gemini 4 mission. The auction also offers Speedmasters that honor the Apollo 11 lunar landing and Apollo 13 missions, as well as the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project jointly flown by the United States and Russia.

“We are glad to be celebrating the whole space history of the Omega Speedmaster, from the very earliest models to some of the more recent limited editions,” Wind said.

Why The Omega Seamaster replica 300 Is Bond’s Go-To Gadget

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Imagine this: your boss’ aide brings you to a secret location in London. As you’re ushered in, you meet your bespectacled Quartermaster. He goes only by the name Q. Q gets you up to speed on your harrowing mission: assassinate a super-villain. His parting gift is a tough-as-nails Omega Seamaster 300, one he says merely “tells the time” without any of the fantastical gadgets you’re used to.

Stuff of fiction? Maybe, but we magnificent bastards are no strangers to dreaming.

Omega was brought into the world of Bond by Lindy Hemming, an Oscar-winning costume designer tasked with dressing the secret agent for a new age. The ’80s had arrived and with them a new Bond film, GoldenEye, and a new actor in the role. Lindy believed Omega Replica Watches was the right fit for Bond’s Royal Navy pedigree, and personally knew Navy officers who swore by their Omegas. If it was good enough for the Royal Navy, then surely Bond could trust his life with it.

Twenty years later, Bond and Omega are still going strong and the watchmaker has released something special for Spectre. The Omega Seamaster 300 ‘Spectre’ Limited Edition is every bit the Bond replica watch we’ve come to expect – and a little more. The watch pays tribute to both historical Omega Seamasters and the roots of James Bond, beginning with Dr. No in 1962.

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You’ll notice a few differences from the production version. The diving bezel is now a 12 hour bezel, allowing the replica watches uk to keep track of two time zones. Small touches to the hands, like the lollipop seconds hand, harken back to Seamasters of the 1950s. Other elements, like the tough, scratch resistant ceramic and LiquidMetal numerals, remain the same.

As in the first Bond flick, Craig‘s 007 opts to wear his watch on a NATO strap. Originally issued by the British Ministry of Defence, the NATO strap helps prevent the loss of your precious timekeeper (and looks unexpectedly great paired with a tux). Underneath the hood beats the replica Omega Co-Axial 8400, the latest Master Co-Axial movement. This marvel of modern engineering is able to withstand magnetic fields of more than 15,000 gauss and, thanks to the Co-Axial escapement, can keep accurate time for a longer period.

With its masterful mix of old-world charm and new-world technology, the Omega Seamaster 300 ‘Spectre’ Limited Edition is ready for any adventure that Bond may undertake. But best be quick if you want one on your wrist – Q Branch is only issuing 7,007 pieces worldwide.

Up to the minute trends in holiday gift replica watches

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Jim Engelhorn, director of sales at Martin Binder Jewelers, says that the replica watch trend is on a big upswing.

Still searching for the perfect holiday gift? The hours and minutes are ticking away, but don’t be alarmed. Go for the solution with timeless appeal; a replica watch is a welcome accessory even for those who keep time with their cell phone.

Timepieces can range from sporty to dressy, or trendy to classic. Small face or large, wide band or narrow, battery operated or solar powered, wristwatches are as popular as ever.

Timely Trends

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Jim Engelhorn, of Martin Binder Jewelers, says, “The value of technology as it ages goes down, while the value of a Rolex replica goes up over time.”

At Crescent Jewelers, in Lansing, Ill., store manager Barb O’Donnell says replica watches are in demand for the holidays, especially those with a lot of sparkle or other functions. “At our store and at our Frankfort, Ill., location, larger faces are favored by everyone; women like the ‘bling’ and men lean toward the replica watches with a lot of bells and whistles.” Women, in particular, O’Donnell notes, see watches as a fashion accessory and men really like the chronographs, with multiple dials, including day and date. She says that both men and women often opt for the rose gold tone variety.

The jeweler sells Citizen, Bulova and Wittenaur brand replica watches and offers battery-operated timepieces, “atomic” watches (offered only by Citizen) that automatically set via satellite and adjust to any time zone, and the automatic type—similar to a Rolex replica—which has no battery and moves because of one’s arm movement. Crescent also carries the Citizen Signature Line, only available at fine jewelry stores, as well as previously owned Rolex replica watches.

‘Not Only for Telling Time’

But what about Millennials and those who rely on portable technology? Is a watch still relevant? Just ask Josh Halpern, owner of Albert’s Diamond Jewelers in Schererville and at Southlake Mall in Hobart, and he’ll say “Absolutely.” Halpern firmly believes that replica watches are not obsolete, and he should know. His stores sell a multitude of them in various finishes and styles, with more affordable names like Fossil and Michael Kors as well as recognizable, high-quality brands like Cartier, Omega and fake Breitling watches. And of course, diamond replica watches, because, as Halpern says, “Who doesn’t love diamonds?”

“Replica Watches are not only for telling time,” Halpern notes. “Watches are a fashion statement and a status symbol. People reward themselves or others with a timepiece for reaching a milestone—a new job, a promotion, an engagement, a wedding or the holidays, for example—and it can be engraved with a special, personal message.”

Style and Flair

Brooke Dermody, store manager of Engstrom Jewelers in Valparaiso, agrees. “I think a watch is still a viable gift,” Dermody says. “A watch shows you have some style and some flair, and maybe some place important to be.” Dermody says that both the Valparaiso and LaPorte stores sell a lot of colorful, bright, fun replica watches and echoes O’Donnell that large faces and rose gold tones are a hit with both men and women.

Timepiece or Technology?

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A selection of Tudor Swiss replica watches at Martin Binder Jewelers.

As for the comparison between a watch and a cell phone, Halpern prefers the former for keeping time. “Technology becomes obsolete very quickly, but a fine timepiece lasts forever.” Quality replica watches, he explains, become heirlooms that can be passed down from generation to generation.

Jim Engelhorn, director of sales at Martin Binder Jewelers in Valparaiso, agrees. “The value of technology as it ages goes down, while the value of a Rolex goes up over time.”

Engelhorn says that the watch trend is on a big upswing after losing ground between 2008 and 2011 due to the popularity of smartphones. “We worried about the introduction of the Apple iWatch,” Engelhorn notes, “but it turned out to be a good thing, because it’s generated more interest in replica watches overall. Last year was a huge year for us in watches and we expect this year will be even better.”

He makes another valid point when it comes to watches versus smart phones: Millennials are realizing that once they enter the working world, they can’t always look at their phone when in a meeting. “Keeping your head down, looking at your smartphone, creates the impression that you are disconnected,” Engelhorn says. “Wearing a smart-looking watch makes you appear connected and sharp.”

And for the ideal watch for a holiday gift, Engelhorn credits value-driven, Swiss replica watches as a mainstay. “Not necessarily more expensive; just better quality.”

Astronaut’s Omega replica watch worn on the moon expected for sale

Historical timepiece flew into space on Captain Ron Evans’ wrist – now it’s expected to command a price that’s out of this world.

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A replica watch worn by a NASA astronaut on the last manned trip to the moon is expected to sell for more than £60 at auction.

Ron Evans was one of just 24 people who have flown to the moon – making his trip in December 1972.

While he didn’t moonwalk, he holds the record of more time in lunar orbit than anyone else – spending 301 hours and 51 minutes total in space.

This includes one hour and six minutes performing in extravehicular activity, and he was wearing this replica Omega Speedmaster for the trip.

At one stage he had to retrieve cameras and equipment from the exterior of the craft, allowing him to be free in space for a short period of time. This is the last ever spacewalk conducted in deep space.

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Spacewalk: Ron Evans braving the void

When he returned to Earth, Evans etched ‘FLOWN IN C.S.M. TO THE MOON’, ‘APOLLO 17’ and his signature on the Omega Replica Watches.

All of the other Speedmasters worn during the Apollo missions are in the property of NASA.

Evans’ replica watches will be offered for sale by Christie’s at its ‘Omega Speedmaster 50 from a Spacewalk to Today’ sale next month.

Christie’s are describing the Omega replica as “an exceptional, highly attractive and historically important watch” with experts estimating it is worth between £32 and £65.

The Apollo 17 mission which Evans, Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt took part in was the final manned trip to the moon.

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It was Evans’ first trip to the moon after being a supportive member for the Apollo 7 and Apollo 11 missions, as well as backup command module pilot for Apollo 14.

Cernan had made three trips while Schmitt was the first scientist to land on the moon.

Evans retired from the United States Navy on in 1976 after 21 years of service, but he remained active for NASAs Space Shuttle Program and as a NASA astronaut.

He was also a member of the operations and training group within the astronaut office that was responsible for launch and ascent phases.

After retiring from NASA in 1977, Evans became a coal industry executive. He passed away in 1990, aged just 56.

His old Omega will be sold on December 15 in New York.

James Bond Keeping Time With Omega Replica Watches

james-bond-replica-watchesJames Bond’s preference in timepieces is just as legendary as the way he takes his martinis — and the super- spy’s watch of choice has been Omega since 1995, when Lindy Hemming, then-costume designer for the film franchise, pitched the replica watch house about collaborating on a piece.

“She was given the job to — I wouldn’t say revamp, but the Bond image had become a bit diluted in the late Eighties. Or so she told me,” said Stephen Urquhart, president of Replica Omega. “She felt he needed a bit of a facelift, and in terms of the watch, he had a lot of replica watches, so there was not really a standard message there.”

This story first appeared in the November 4, 2015 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The pair quickly settled on two criteria for the timepiece.

“Being in the Royal Navy, chances were he would have worn a Seamaster, given our very strong relationship with the British Navy and armed forces,” Urquhart said. “So she was very adamant about that. Secondly, she felt that for Bond, given that he was an educated English gentleman, the color blue was important. So that’s how we started, and we haven’t looked backed since.”

Urquhart noted that while the style of the watch remained relatively the same for the first four films Omega collaborated on, with just small, barely visible tweaks, when Daniel Craig took over the role for 2006’s “Casino Royale,” the actor wanted a hand in determining the look of the piece. “He wanted to give his own touch to the Bond image,” Urquhart said. “At that point, the Seamaster was known as the Bond replica watch — people would walk in the store and say, ‘I want the Bond watch.’ Daniel Craig chose the Planet Ocean replica watch, which is quite similar, and he wore that for three films.”

In “Spectre,” which premiered in London on Oct. 26, Craig begins the film wearing a Seamaster style previously worn in “Skyfall,” before being given a new watch by Q, played by Ben Whishaw.

The Omega Seamaster 300 “Spectre” style fea- tures a bidirectional, rotating diving bezel made from black ceramic, with a LiquidMetal 12-hour scale, so that time can be kept with any country in the world, on a five-stripe black and gray NATO strap, where the 007 gun logo has been engraved on its holder.

The timepiece is limited to just 7,007 pieces, and hit retail in September with a price point of $7,500. Each watch has its own unique serial number engraved on the back along with the “Spectre” logo.

The Bond replica watches are surely coveted by collectors, Urquhart said. “This watch will be on collectible sites, for sure. But when I think about collectors, I think of resale value, and I think this is a very emotional watch. I’m not sure many people are going to buy it just to resell it. I don’t think so. It’s more of an emotional purchase.

“Bond is a very special story,” added Urquhart. “We have nothing else like this. The only similar thing was a limited-edition watch we did for Apollo 13. But even then, we’re talking about a different category of consumers — much more limited and niche. With Bond, there are thousands of people who are waiting and ordering the fake omega watches in advance….We definitely have people who are crazy about Bond and want the Bond watch every four years, but I think we’re reaching out to a new customer, also. This film is getting such great press, that I think there will be a lot of people who come back to the world of Bond and become new customers of Omega.”

Classic Omega replica watch given to Richard Burton by Elizabeth Taylor

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Classic Omega replica watches given to Richard Burton by Elizabeth Taylor is set to sell for thousands

A classic Omega replica watch given to Richard Burton by Elizabeth Taylor is set to sell for thousands later next month.

The Oscar-winning actress gave her Hollywood starring husband the gold replica Omega Constellation in 1970.

It is thought she bought it as a present after Burton, who was in Gstaad, Switzerland, at the time, had been awarded an CBE.

The replica watch remained in the Burton family’s possession until it was sold privately five years ago.

Omega confirmed the 18ct gold automatic replica watch was bought on 12th September 1970 in Zurich, but due to client confidentiality refused to say by whom.

The working timepiece measures 39.9mm by 32.9mm and has the Omega Replica Sale case numbers 166.059 168.047 with the fake watch and bracelet in 18ct gold.

A nephew of Burton’s has confirmed its provenance.

In a handwritten letter dated August, 29, 2010, it says: “I confirm that this fake watch belonged to Richard Burton. My mother remembers Richard wearing it.”

The current owner bought the watch from a gentleman who had acquired it direct from Richard Burton’s family.

He has now decided to sell the working watch it at Silverstone Auctions’ Salon Prive sale, which will be held on September 4 at Blenheim Palace, with an estimate of #7,000 to #9,000.

Any proceeds over the bottom estimate will be donated to the Alzheimer’s Society, a charity close to the owner’s heart as his wife has suffered from this debilitating disease for 15 years.

Arwel Richards, from Silverstone Auctions, said: “Richard Burton had a golden timbre to his voice, and his love of buying gold and diamonds for Liz Taylor is part of twentieth century folklore.

“The vendor believes Liz Taylor bought the replica watches uk in Zurich as a gift to him to celebrate being awarded a CBE from the Queen in 1970.

“It’s a huge honour for us at Silverstone Auctions to auction a piece of twentieth century history.

“We often sell high value watches in the same auction as our high value cars and the replica watches have been hammered away at a far higher value that we are asking for Burton’s. It is a great value piece with superb history.

“According to his diaries Liz was occasionally generous, and did buy Burton a number of gold gifts, to reciprocate the yachts and private jets that he bought for her.”

Taylor and Burton stars were the world’s best-known couple in the 1960s and 1970s, with their relationship famous for tumultuous ups and downs.

They married and divorced each other twice with the Vatican once describing their relationship as “erotic vagrancy”.

Burton died in 1984 aged 58, with Taylor passing away in 2011, aged 79.

After Taylor’s death her collection of jewellery, many items of which were bought by Burton, sold for £74.9 million.

Tow Classis Omega Replica Watches For Christmas Gift

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Christmas will be come soon, be hurry to come and select two omega replica watches as a Christmas gift.

Omega De Ville Dewdrop Replica Watch

Omega De Ville shine rendering an elegant series Dewdrop coaxial watch, perfectly capture the nature of the mysterious and share Smart butterfly elegance, as Ville family Adds romantic female charm.

18K red gold case with a sparkling diamond bezel, three on each side “drop” shape lugs. Gorgeous dial by 18K red gold and white mother of pearl to create a stunning butterfly pattern. This exquisite replica watch decorated with 8 diamond hour markers and five collections of style by the “drop” strung bracelet, while equipped with Omega 2500 coaxial movement.

Omega Men’s Constellation Replica Watch

Omega Constellation men’s replica watch new coaxial designed for modern men and build. The count for its three-dimensional diamond pattern when Pierre fore, inspired by men’s fashion geometry and construction sector, the world is a perfect balance of aesthetics and integration, bring some sense of peace and quiet to hectic people.

Steel to build the case decorated with 18K red gold or gold bracelet and a half-moon-hour scale also choose 18K gold material, and covered with Super-LumiNova luminous coating, so that in the night can be clearly read. This replica watch is also equipped with Omega 8500 coaxial movement.

This Christmas, Omega gold replica watch to bring you a warm golden Christmas, count all when inheritance Omega craftsmanship each unique design highlight the luxurious elegance. Pierre pleasing aesthetic reproduction of the classic moments, put it together to listen to the Christmas and New Year bells ring the bell, meet the new year.

Merry Christmas!!!

Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Replica Watch

Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Replica Watch

Black, silver, blue, gray or champagne lacquered dial is decorated with vertical texture Aqua Terra series of iconic. 18K gold material, the central hour, minute and second hand side of the same material are bright polished. 41.5 mm watch central seconds hand, or carefully crafted in 18K gold. By arc-sided anti-reflective treated sapphire crystal vaulted wear can provide comprehensive protection for the Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Master Co-Axial watch dial.

This sports replica watch with polished matte style bracelet with butterfly clasp, in addition to another brown or blue leather strap is optional. Polished screw-back engraved with “Si14” and the words “ANTI-MAGNETIC> 15’000 GAUSS”. Through the sapphire back through Omega 8500 Master Co-Axial movement of the operation clearly visible beauty. 34 mm Seamaster Aqua Terra 150 miters watch equipped 8520 Master Co-Axial movement. Seamaster Aqua Terra Master Co-Axial watch is waterproof to 150 meters (500 feet / 15 atm).

This Master Co-Axial 34 mm coaxial hippocampus Aqua Terra replica watches are brand new series in the smallest of the table, the case has 18K Sedna gold with steel, stainless steel or gold with smooth lines of pure steel three materials Select or bracelet with the same material, or with white leather strap with a pearl luster. White mother of pearl dial, 12 diamond hour markers embedded in rhodium or 18K gold plated over the arched brackets, bloom Ambilight. Watch with polished bezel or full diamond bezel with matte screwed crown.

Omega Announces Its Own Replica Watches Certification System To Add Science To Your Wrist

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Why should you, a tech person, care about Omega creating something called the Master Chronometer Certification? Well, first let me tell you what’s up.

So nice replica watches are usually Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronometers (COSC) certified. This means they’ve been tested for accuracy in various positions. Here’s the breakdown on the certification:

Each uncased movement is individually tested for fifteen days, in five positions, at three different temperatures. The movements are fitted with a seconds hand and the automatic winding mechanisms are disengaged for the tests. Measurements are made daily with the aid of cameras.

Imagine this is a sort of finishing school for watch movements. COSC certified replica watches are the Harvard graduates of the watch world while everyone else comes out of University Of Phoenix online classes.

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For decades COSC has been a value add for watchmakers. COSC certification reliably added a few thousand to the price of a watch, whether it mattered or not, and, if you’re cynical, you could say the entire thing was a scam in an era of smartphones and atomic clocks. But let’s not be cynical.

So now Omega, a solid watch company without a plethora COSC certified models, has added its own certification process via another organization, the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology (METAS). This means Omega Replica Watches can certify their fake watches to within COSC specifications. Quoth the head of Swatch Group and owner of Omega, Nick Hayek, “Trust is the core of our business at METAS. We are a government agency, the leading centre for all measurements in Switzerland. And above all, we are consumer and client driven. That’s why it was important to ensure that this new standard for mechanical replica watches is open to every brand.”

Essentially Omega and the Swatch group are looking at an entrenched player and pulling the rug out from under them. It’s kind of dirty pool simply because COSC certification has long been a brand agnostic process and a quite lucrative one for manufacturers and certifiers. But now Omega is taking its ball and going home. In fact, they’re saying METAS is better than COSC.

While industry-standard COSC certification remains an integral part of OMEGA’s process, the new METAS testing will effectively double the certification of each watch, giving OMEGA REPLICA and other Swiss replica watches makers the opportunity to demonstrate the quality and timekeeping performance of their watches to a greater extent than has previously been possible. With 8 tests carried out over 10 days, each watch must pass a range of criteria that replicate real-life wearing conditions, including exposure to magnetic fields of 15,000 gauss.

It’s a fascinating play by an old company to zip up a unique product for itself. While METAS will surely reach out to other manufacturers, going with the certification puts Omega in a unique position. They can easily and cheaply tack the price of certification onto the price of all of their replica watches while METAS can enter into the “big leagues” of COSC. It’s all inside baseball but it also means that their new Globemaster is Master Chronometer certified which adds a nice amount to the price and makes the watch just a bit more desirable to collectors and fans.

Chopard reinforces its watchmaking roots

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Beveller

Chopard’s transformation into fully-integrated, state-of-the-art Omega Replica watch manufacture over the past decade is often overshadowed by the company’s enviable success as a high jewelry company – something that is only reinforced by the fact that it just won the “Jewellery Watch” Prize (for the second year in a row) at Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève last month. But Chopard’s roots actually lie in watchmaking. Chopard began life in 1860 as one of Switzerland’s original Replica Watches UK manufactures in the Swiss Jura town of Sonvilier.

Like most heritage brands, the firm slowed down or stopped making mechanical movements at some point, particularly with the advent of quartz, and although it has had much success with its men’s timepiece designs over the years – including the iconic Mille Miglia collection – it wasn’t until 1996 that the company began to produce its own movements again.

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Chopard co-president Karl-Friedrich Scheufele’s vision was to establish a watchmaking operation that combines the techniques of age-old hand craftsmanship with modern technology. All in-house movements are built with Chopard-made components (everything but the screws) and finished with Chopard-made tools. All craftspeople are trained in-house to ensure consistency of workmanship and a finishing touch that represents the Chopard signature. The process is about quality, not quantity, and that has meant no cutting corners, or costs.

Complete control

“In my view, a brand can only fully exist in the field of Haute Horlogerie by achieving complete control of the making of its timepieces: design and development, production and assembly, movements and exteriors,” says Karl-Friedrich Scheufele. “Chopard has chosen to give precedence to hand craftsmanship, even when this choice involves higher production costs. It is the kind of choice only a family business could make, thanks to an entirely independent structure, unbound by the demands of immediate profit stemming from external investors unaware of the nature of fine watchmaking.”

In 1997, a year after establishing Chopard Manufacture in Fleurier, the Maison emerged with its first caliber, the 1.96, cased in the L.U.C 1860, marking the company’s foundational year. Today, Chopard produces nine distinct families of Replica Watches UK movements, with 50 movement variations, including a perpetual calendar and a tourbillon. This year, it produced 7,000 movements, up from 3,000 only two years ago, thanks also to the new facility Fleurier Ebauches. The goal is 15,000 by 2015. As production increases, the company’s reliance on outsourcing diminishes. As of next year, for example, all watches in the Mille Miglia collection will contain Chopard-made movements. The Imperiale and L.U.C collections already contain in-house movements. All Rolex Replica Watches bearing the Geneva Seal are cased in Geneva, and everything that is Geneva Seal certified falls into the L.U.C collection.

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The watches have been well received, by all accounts. For example, also shortlisted in various categories at this year’s Grand Prix d’Horlogerie, were the L.U.C Perpetual T, Superfast Automatic, L.U.C Engine One and Mille Miglia 2013. And in 2006, the L.U.C XP won first prize in the ultra-thin category at the Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prix.

A contrast of old and new

On a recent visit to the Chopard facilities in Fleurier and Geneva, I had the opportunity to see first-hand the processes in this fully integrated fake watches manufacture, where most of the work is done by hand. Chopard performs 25 individual crafts under its roof, including everything from making tools and components to creating its own dials and casting gold to achieve its proprietary color. There is also an in-house gemology/jewelling department, including gem cutting, sorting, polishing and setting.

The manufacture is a contrast of old and new. At Fleurier Ébauches, rows of shiny new CNC machines create the blanks – main plates and bridges – from brass plates. One of these machines, the size of a small elephant, is the 1.5-million-dollar MTR312, with an impressive nine robotic arms that churn out a new plate every four minutes (compared to every 45 minutes using a manual stamping machine). It does this to within tolerances of one micron (one-thousanth of a millimeter).

Everything else – chamfering, engraving, perlage, côtes de Genève – is done by hand, using techniques and tools that have been used by watchmakers for more than a century. During my visit, for example, I witnessed the chamfering of the plate for the special-edition Mille Miglia Zagato, launched in Milan in October. I also peeked over the shoulder of a watchmaker who carefully placed the gem-set bridge onto the carriage of a new Happy Sport Tourbillon, due for release at Baselworld 2014, coming up in March.