Talking Spirate Systems And Speedmasters With Omega CEO Raynald Aeschilmann
The stunning new Speedmaster Super Racing delivers more than just looks—its innovation will revolutionise the industry.
Launched earlier this year, the Omega Speedmaster Super Racing proved a hit with horological aficionados and casual watch wearers alike; piquing the former’s interest due to the use of the Swiss watch manufacturer’s new Spirate System. “Tiny Device. Massive Change” is how Omega touted the Spirate System; a revolutionary new spiral that can be fine-tuned to achieve certified precision of only 0/+2 seconds a day. Indeed, the miniature device represents a massive leap forward in mechanical watchmaking accuracy.
The new 44.25 mm “Speedy” is not only the first timepiece to sport the new system, but its striking exterior—the honeycomb-pattern sandwich dial with dotted yellow accents proves to be mesmerising—is bold and alluring (while also paying tribute to the concept watch, 2013’s Seamaster Aqua Terra > 15,000 Gauss).
To further explore the revolutionary system—and the Speedy it sits in— Robb Report sat down with Omega’s innovative CEO and leader, Raynald Aeschlimann.
Robb Report: Congratulations on the launch of this revolutionary Speedmaster Super Racing and the Spirate System. In layman’s terms, how would describe the functionality of the Spirate System, and what does it mean for future Omega timepieces?
Raynald Aeschlimann: Usually, watchmakers have to open up a movement and turn tiny screws to modify the inertia of the balance wheel. But our Spirate System is a very easy way to adjust daily deviation without impacting the balance wheel. It’s a great piece of innovation and a big step forward. For Omega, it shows that we still have more boundaries to push. We already offer the Master Chronometer certification, but this Spirate System changes the game again.
How many years were spent developing the new system?
In terms of evolution, you could go back almost 25 years. It was in 1999 that Omega launched the co-axial escapement which changed our watchmaking forever. We’ve been through an anti-magnetic revolution with the Si14 balance spring, and also introduced Master Chronometer certification in 2015. Every step has supported the next. The actual process for the Spirate System started 10 years ago.
We love a new Speedy and we certainly love the new design of the Super Racing. What was the design inspiration here?
There’s some Omega inspiration here. In 2013, we produced the Seamaster Aqua Terra 15,000 Gauss, which had a yellow-and-black colourway based on the warning panel that you find around big magnetic devices. A few years ago, we had an Aqua Terra concept watch that survived magnetic fields of 160,000 gausses. It had a honeycomb-dial pattern. These watches were both superb pieces of innovation like the new Speedmaster Super Racing. So it’s a little tribute to those previous designs.
We can’t not mention the Omega X Swatch MoonSwatch collaboration—2022’s biggest watch story. Does it mark the start of similar future projects?
I don’t know about the future. This really was a unique moment and it beautifully showed the special connection between Swatch and Omega. The customer response was huge—and it still is. Of course, I was involved in the discussions around the project, but the credit goes to our design teams. They really captured the iconic spirit of the Speedmaster Moonwatch and the innovation of Swatch in eleven pieces of watchmaking magic.
And so to what lies ahead this year—any trends to expect?
I wouldn’t say that Omega worries about trends. We have so much of our own heritage and DNA to inspire us. We are a leader and we generally focus on our own values. It’s difficult to forecast trends, but the market is in a strong position, so there’s an opportunity for brands to be bold and inspiring.
So what can we expect from Omega in 2023?
It’s funny, when we launch something new such as the Spirate System, everyone asks what’s next. But I think that’s a testament to Omega. Everyone now understands that we don’t stand still. We have a pioneering spirit that pushes us forward. I obviously can’t reveal any specific projects, but you can be assured that we’re always working on something. There’s plenty of magic still to come.
Innovation is key …
Yes, innovation is key to everything. It improves our watches, but it also demonstrates to the customer that we are always searching for better … We recognise the different styles and personalities of our customers, so we try to create a truly diverse range of choices to suit their needs. You’ll certainly see that in 2023, especially around the Aqua Terra.
You’ve been with Omega since 1996. How has the brand evolved in that time—and what would you say is your proudest achievement?
It’s amazing what has happened in that 27-year period. The brand has grown in so many positive ways, especially around partnerships and with our Co-Axial Master Chronometer success. For me, I’ve been really proud of the magic we’ve brought to our watchmaking. For example, the Speedy Tuesday models, the recent Snoopy watch, and last year’s 60th Anniversary James Bond models. They’ve brought Omega’s story to life and really engaged with our customers. The launch of e-commerce is something I’m also very proud of. Having online sales in so many countries has really strengthened our brand position.
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