REVIEW: BASELWORLD 2017 NEW OMEGA RAILMASTER COLLECTION

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robert august.

While the new limited edition “Master” Trilogy of Speedmaster, Seamaster and Railmaster took centrestage for Omega at Baselworld 2017. A quiet sleeper hit remained off the press releases and public pages for the Bienne manufacture – we are talking about the new Omega Railmaster Collection.

Historically speaking, true railroad watches were among the most stringent of certified watches before the turn of the 1900s thanks to a disastrous collision between two passenger trains in Ohio in April of 1891. Official RR (Railroad) Standards required watches to be precise to within 30 seconds per week, the earliest chronometer specs; regulated to five positions; accurate even in temperatures from -1 degrees celsius to 35 degrees celsius; equipped with fine adjustment index, double plates, high legible dial with bold Arabic numerals and broad hands. Though protectionist requirements had prevented Omega’s entry into the US market (which allowed brands like Hamilton and Waltham to flourish), Omega and her sister brands Brandt-Omega and Gurzelen had established themselves with a stellar reputation for railroad watches by the end of the 19th century that they literally cornered the market in Europe (including Turkey and Russia), as far north as Norway, as far south as Ethiopia and Nigeria, across the atlantic in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, and Canada, across the pacific in China and Australia even. Thus, it can be argued that Railroad watches were standard bearers of the manufacture even before their first timing chronometers in their Olympic chronographs and even before NASA’s official Speedmasters. When the Railmaster collection finally debuted wristworn versions of their epic Railroad pocket watches in 1957, Omega was merely continuing a rich history of precision railroad instruments

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