This year Omega has partnered many events, such as the Olympics, new James Bond release and Ryder Cup. And new models were launched to mark all these occasions. The De Ville Chronograph is not in that bracket. In fact, this series had humble beginnings in the 1960s, when it was seen as a workman’s watch, not just for how it was designed but also the functions it offered. However, over the years, it has ascended the snobbery scale.
In fact, Omega introduced some of its biggest inventions and innovations in this range. In 1999 it launched watches with coaxial escapement movements with a De Ville. Later, it also featured Omega’s first hour vision case. In these watches, you can look at the movement from the side too, not just though the caseback. And when Omega decided to debut its silicon spring balance, it again chose a De Ville.
Featured here is a chronograph in a 18k 42 mm gold case, with an opaline- silver dial. The watch is also available in a steel case. The gold case watch has a 9301 calibre movement, which comes with a solid gold rotor, while the steel version has a 9300 calibre movement, with a rhodium-plated brass rotor. Its dial has two sub- dials. The one at 9 o’clock has the running seconds hand. At 3 o’clock is its chronograph sub-dial with two hands, for 60 minutes and 12 hours.
The central hands—chronograph seconds, hours and minutes—are 18k gold. A lot of attention has gone into assuring the dial depth: the sub-dials are inverted domes and the numerals are applied (fixed, not painted).
The movement looks nice, seen from the sapphire caseback. But the bevelled edges of the bridges seem too tidy to have been worked by hand. It looks good, even if it is like a well-crafted Japanese movement.
Which is not a big concern, because the De Ville is essentially a practical watch. For example, the hours hand can be changed independently of the minutes and seconds hands, something that a frequent traveller will find very useful, and the composite chronograph hands make it easier to read elapsed time.