NEWS: Omega and the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology (METAS) develop new watch certification NEWS: Omega and the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology (METAS) develop new watch certification

NEWS: Omega and the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology (METAS) develop new watch certification

Felix Scholz
Mr Nick Hayek announcing the new METAS certification.

For as long as anyone has cared to remember (1973) the industry standard in timekeeping certification was COSC, or the Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres, and owners of a watch with COSC certification could be sure that their timepiece would be accurate to a certain rate per day, and in a range of positions and temperatures. COSC certification is widely used by brands such as Rolex, Omega, Breitling and others.

Does this piece of paper add significant value? And is it still relevant in a time with improved manufacturing processes?

All well and good, but the COSC certification is getting a little long in the tooth and its relevancy to modern watchmaking accuracy (as well as the certifications relationship to marketing guff) has long been debated. Indeed some brands have gone ahead and created their own in house testing procedures (and the Germans, not being allowed to the Swiss only COSC party, have created an equivalent standard). But there’s something to be said for a single, respected, independent standard by which all brands can be held judged equally.

And that’s precisely what Omega and The Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology (METAS) have done. METAS are, as far as we can tell, is a government body dedicated to measuring things. Aside from being perhaps the Swiss-est thing ever – probably not ideal to get locked in a corner with these guys at a party – they seem like the ideal people to partner with in a new watchmaking certification.

This reissue of the Omega Seamaster 300 is an example of a watch with the antimagnetic Master Co-axial movement that METAS would certify.

The Certification itself (which we’re calling the METAS Certification until we hear a better name) focuses on testing accuracy around antimagnetic functionality, something Omega have invested significantly in since 2013. Another noteworthy element of the test is that it not just the uncased movement that is tested, but rather the cased watch. It’s also important to note that while this is an Omega initiative, it is a completely independent and open certification. Swatch group CEO Nick Hayek said on this point that the certification “…would benefit the entire industry – not only in Switzerland but in China and Japan and in other countries with a history of innovative watchmaking. More importantly, it would also benefit the consumers and that has to be a good thing.”

This spirit of open-handedness is a far cry from the industry that has historically been characterised as a very closed shop, and we can’t help but think that the Swatch group must be fairly confident that this new open certification must help them sell a fairly decent number of Officially Certified Master Co-Axials.