In management positions with Omega from 1968 to 1974 before joining Audemars Piguet, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Blancpain until 1999, Stephen Urquhart returned to Omega on June 1st 1999 as President of the company, where he has remained until today.
We were happy to meet with him during Baselworld 2016, shortly before the official announcement of his retirement today, May 31st 2016. Here are some extracts:
On the importance of the world’s first Master Chronometer — the Omega Globemaster with co-axial escapement and M.E.T.A.S. and Omega certification:
“The certification is about anti-magnetic properties up to 15,000 Gauss, but also water resistance, precision and durability. During the first part of the last century, we dealt with shock, then humidity, that were visible problems. Magnetism is not visible, but it was an issue. We built Faraday cages around the movements of our official Railmaster watches in the 1950’s.
In 2008, we solved half the problem with the co-axial movement and a silicon balance spring, then with materials like Nivagauss for other components. Sixty to seventy per cent of watch repairs today are due to magnetism, so we decided to go ahead in 2013 with tests that took this into consideration, and more. We aim to accompany all our mechanical watches with the certificate, most by 2020. We already have six new Master Chronometer movements (and 46 models) here in Basel.”
On brand ambassadors:
“To name just two, I was with Eddie (Redmayne) just 2 weeks ago in Los Angeles. We are happy to have him with us. He’s a great person, a great actor, and is young with a great future ahead of him. He loves the brand; loved it even before we met at an event in London last year. As for Cindy (Crawford) she’s been with us for 21 years! She’s a true friend, and it’s always a pleasure to see her. She represents the brand so well.”
On the 2016 Summer Olympics from August 5 – 21:
“We are Offical Timekeeper of the Olympic Games for the 27th time, and are introducing two new timepieces for the Rio 2016™ – the Seamaster Bull Head “Rio 2016” and the Speedmaster Mark II “Rio 2016”. We’re ready, and just hope everyone else is!”
Stephen Urquhart will remain closely associated with the Swatch Group and will be available for special projects and consultancy assignments.
Haute Time would like to thank him for his time during this and previous Baselworlds, and for his ongoing commitment to the world of watchmaking.
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