I concede that some things are better left to professionals and youngsters. Taking up surfing in my 40s was safe enough. To come a cropper — repeatedly, as I still do — in the tepid Indian Ocean is pleasurable. But the same cannot be said of hurtling down a ski slope. I’ll try most things once, and I have the broken bones and scars to prove it, but as one gets older — and, hopefully, wiser — the bucket list of extreme sports becomes shorter. A good book and Glühwein next to a large, open fire beat torn ligaments and frostbite.
With professional athletes already on the white slopes and treacherous ice tracks of Pyeongchang for the “greatest show on snow”, performance is everything, and extreme accuracy in timekeeping is a given at the XXIII Olympic Winter Games. Omega’s Olympic timeline began in 1932, when the company was first entrusted with keeping time for all events. The partnership was recently extended until 2032.
In 1932, Omega supplied 30 high-precision chronographs that could capture results to the nearest 10th of a second — invaluable in confirming 17 new world records at the time. Down the track, the first photo-finish camera, the Magic Eye, was introduced in 1948 at the London Olympics. Then, a controversial result in 1960 in Rome triggered a big innovation in aquatics, with the installation of automatic touch pads in the pool at the Pan-American Games in Winnipeg in 1967.
At the London Olympics in 2012, Omega introduced three new innovations, including new starting blocks for sprinters and short-distance runners; the Swimming Show that ranks the top three finishers in the pool; and the high-precision Quantum Timer used in athletics and water sports, which has an enhanced resolution of one-millionth of a second. At the Rio Summer Olympic Games in 2016 we saw the new Scan’O’Vision Myria photo-finish cameras, which take up to 10 000 digital images per second, and the futuristic looking E-Gun starting pistol. The watchmaker has 300 timekeepers and 230 tonnes of equipment at this year’s event in South Korea.
To celebrate each occasion, Omega releases a limited collection of timepieces. Although I still covet the 2016 Seamaster Bullhead with its iconic shape, first seen in 1969, this year’s blue-and-red accented Planet Ocean — the colours of the South Korean flag — is bound to be a distraction. The timepiece is limited to 2018 pieces, and the 43.5mm stainless-steel case features a polished, deep-blue ceramic dial with rhodium-plated indexes and minute scale, timezone function, and unidirectional bezel with red rubber inset for the first 15 minutes.
The caseback’s sapphire crystal features the phrase “PyeongChang 2018” and the Olympic logo, and reveals the incredibly accurate Omega Co-Axial Master Chronometer calibre 8900 self-winding movement. The helium escape valve, screw-in caseback, and crown’s design is meant to withstand the pressure of 600m deep dives.
The addition of the Seamaster PyeongChang 2018, along with recently released vintage-inspired dive watches and luxury sports automatics, appeals to a younger audience who desire less showy, more practical sports watches. It is fitted with a blue rubber strap in a special presentation box, and includes an extra stainless-steel bracelet. Kitted out in all steel, it is bang on with one of the most stand-out trends for luxury watches this year. swatch.com