Omega is one of the best known watch movement brands around the world, and the launch of the 8500 series of calibres back in 2007 represented an important milestone in the history of Omega brand, helping the Biel based luxury watch producer to reposition itself in the top market range. This family of calibres is the result of half a century of research and testing projects led by Michael Bourqin’s team. The model approved by the Swiss-Lebanese entrepreneur Nicholas Hayek in 2000 stands for values like durability, sturdiness, top notch quality and high precision, bringing the Omega company to a new level on the luxury watches market.
Since the brand decided to retire the 1000 series of calibres back in the 1970s, Omega watches have been equipped with different versions of ETA calibres until the second half of the 1990s, when George Daniels’ patent for Co-Axial escapement was purchased by the Swiss watchmaker and the Omega Caliber 2500 was developed. Known within the industry as the Daniels ‘fix’, the co-axial escapement mechanism was much more than a marketing tool: it helped Omega address a major issue present with earlier calibre models, eliminating the sliding friction produced when the escape wheel touched the pallet jewels.
The in-house developed 8500 series of calibres uses the co-axial escapement mechanism, benefiting from technological benefits of the Daniels’ ‘fix’. This makes it much more advanced and efficient than the ETA-based calibres. A major achievement for the watch manufacturing brand, the 8500 Omega calibre is the first movement that fully exploits the Co-Axial escapement mechanism’s potential.
The movement’s size has been boosted by 13% compared to the previous 2500 calibres series in order to suit the design of the Omega Seamaster collection. The power supply comes from the two mainspring barrels coated with a special material known within the industry as DLC (Diamond-like carbon). This is an extra feature aimed at eliminating friction. Its main benefit lies in durability: only little wear signs will be noticed even after 10 years of use.
In order to completely wind the two mainsprings, you will have to perform 60 manual rotations of the crown. First, you have to wind the hand barrel that does not feature a slip clutch. You will notice a slight unwinding effect of the hand barrel, followed by a quick jump of the automatic barrel. Together they supply power to the escapement mechanism.
The 8500 calibre’s bridges are solidly built, while the design elements are stylish and luxury-oriented. Another white ball for the 8500 Omega calibre is the special design allowing easy maintenance of the movement and mechanism. Besides, the movement presents exquisite “Cotes de Geneve en Arabesque” decorations, which add great value to the movement’s overall design.
Comparing the Omega 8500 calibre movements to the 2500 series, you will also notice the latter feature an 8 leaf meshing pinion while, the 8500 family contains 14 leaf. The 8500 versions produced after the year 2011 also come equipped with the silicon Si14 balance springs. This special type of silicon provides the springs with more stability. If you own a former version, you can have the balance springs easily upgraded.
Released back in 2007, the Omega 8500 calibre movement series has already established itself as one of the high end products within the luxury watches market. No systemic issues or malfunctioning of any kind have been reported so far. The beat rate and jamming issues reported with previous versions of the Co–Axial escapement mechanism seem to have been resolved within the current version.