The modern arms race with watches isn’t about gears and pinions, but rather materials.
It may appear that brands are hot on beating each others’ movements but they know that such a war would be a joke.
The race for the most accurate movement slowed to almost a halt when quartz watches hit the scene, and there are almost no new viable complications to be invented.
The secrecy and excitement in the world of high-end watches is all in discovering, creating, and exploiting the hottest new materials.
We’ve seen this over the last 10 years more than ever. Ceramic, titanium, carbon fibre, silicium, and other new or previously under-utilized materials are more than common now. Even within those categories are new alloys, manufacturing techniques, formulations, uses, and colours. For those who only get hot and bothered by calibers, I say start looking outside the watch more often.
In about 2009 Omega announced that it would be using a new type of material called Liquidmetal. What arrived soon after was a limited edition Seamaster Planet Ocean with a black Liquidmetal dial (that I wrote about here). It seemed to be Omega’s answer to Rolex’s Cerachrom bezels. Like those of Rolex, Omega’s Liquidmetal watches would combine metal and ceramic. The purpose? To create better looking, more durable bezels than ever before – but is that all?