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28 July 2021

OMEGA WATCHES: An Olympic Legacy

By: Jamie McFadden

OMEGA WATCHES: An Olympic Legacy

A year later than planned, the Olympic cauldron was lit in front of the world in the Land of the Rising Sun, heralding the beginning of Tokyo 2020. As well as thousands of athletes arriving in Japan, one familiar brand headed out to carry out a proud responsibility that has been theirs since the early days of the modern Olympic Games.

Cue the arrival of OMEGA Watches, Official Timekeeper of the Olympic Games since 1932, landing in Tokyo with over 400 tonnes of its most trusted and state-of-the-art equipment.

Over the course of this Games and across 33 sports, 339 events will take place with each one timed by our friends at OMEGA. Whilst the focus will rightly be on the athletes who have worked tirelessly over the years to reach the top of their game, their dreams depend on the final results, which makes the precision of OMEGA’s timing a vital part of the event.

But this isn’t the first time the brand has held this important duty, so the competitors can rest assured that they are in safe hands. In fact, this is the 29th Olympic Games in which OMEGA has been the Official Timekeeper, with their first event back in 1932.

OMEGA’s Olympic legacy began in Los Angeles at the 1932 Olympic Games, the first event in which a single watchmaker was selected as the Official Timekeeper. OMEGA was chosen for its unrivalled reputation in precision awards and excellence.

The brand sent a single watchmaker from Bienne to Los Angeles, armed with 30 high-precision stopwatches that were accurate to the nearest 1/10th of a second.

By the time the Olympic Games came to London in 1948, two of the greatest revolutions in sports timekeeping made their first appearance, courtesy of OMEGA. This was the beginning of the “electronic era” when technology began to outperform the capabilities of the human eye.

Amongst OMEGA’s technological introduction was the first photofinish camera, pinpointing exact finish positions in races, and the first Photoelectric Cell, which electronically stopped the clock as the first athlete crossed the finish line. Precision had never been better!

From those early days, the brand’s contribution to the Olympics and to our own viewing of the Games has revolutionised the event. The 1964 Winter Games in Innsbruck saw OMEGA introduce the concept of “real time” sports reporting, with timings superimposed at the bottom of the screen opening up this iconic watchmaker’s contribution to millions around the world.

With revolutionary scoreboards, statistical breakthroughs and then the introduction of the high-tech Quantum Timer at London 2021, OMEGA’s contribution to the Olympic Games is owed to their passion for precise timings and their constant desire to push the boundaries further each time.

As well as holding the title of Official Timekeeper of the Olympic Games, OMEGA also boasts a number of well-known sporting names as ambassadors, with a number of those going for gold this year including Irish golfer Rory McIlroy, South African swimmer Chad Le Clos and American athlete Dalilah Muhammad.

You can learn more about OMEGA at DMR on our website, or by contacting your local showroom today.

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