OMEGAMANIA WORLD TOUR EXHIBITION IN LONDON
Garrard & Co, 24 Albemarle Street, London W1S 4HT
Established in 1735, Garrard is the oldest jewelry house in the world. In 1843 it was bestowed the honour of Crown Jeweler by Queen Victoria. 2007 sees it as the location chosen to be the London venue for the Omegamania World Tour Exhibition.
As you ascend to the first floor, you draw ever closer to the event that is nothing short of the experience of a lifetime as you see the first displays of the exhibition
where on show were
a collection of fine and rare pocketwatches
including the very decorative Basil II “ Le Bulgaroctone ” which was made in Fbbruary 1914 for the Swiss National Exposition in Berne where Omega won the “ Medaille d’Or ”
amidst a selection of gentlemens’ wristwatches
a striking reminder of Omega’s long association with the Olympic Games in the set of six chronometer-grade Split-Seconds Olympic Timers
which come accompanied by the original Omega transport box
and a working model of a “ Straight-Lined Lever Escapement ” set as a foreground to the “ Chronometre' De Bord ”, a rare, keyless 8-day Marine chronometer.
Then your eyes venture towards the Queen Mary Room, named as such since this was the very room in 1911, when the store was built where Queen Mary and her husband had their crowns fitted. The crowns were of course made by Garrard in their official capacity as Crown Jeweler.
The Queen Mary Room
Picture - Catherine Moser
Picture - Catherine Moser
As seen from the south west corner of the room
The first display is the Constellation collection
Pride of place for me has to be the Observatory Dial Chronometre which was first sold in December 1954
The observatory logo has since become symbolic of Omega’s long-held flagship range.
In the vertical display case to the left of the Connie display are more chronometers such as the Geneva Collection and an example of the prized piece recently acquired by my brother-in-arms GJ
and the case to its’ right houses the contemporary electronic pieces of the 70s
including the “ Dinosaure ”, the thinnest watch ever produced which is seen here above “ Le Magique ” alongside the “ Time Computer ”
Moving round to the east side we have more chronometers followed by a display of Speedmasters, both terrestrial and otherwise
as represented by the fast man on four wheels
and the last man on the moon
This being No. 1/3000 of model ref 3574.51.00
A commemorative of Mission 13
Lume as seen on another rare species, the automatic Speedy Pro
Moving round to the other side, just beyond “ Connie Corner ” one encounters a perfect example of the f300HZ from the era of tuning fork movements
and some Seamaster Calendar chronometers
followed by a succession of chronographs, beginning with divers,
then onto a collection of “soccer” timers
and the deep sea types
to Omega’s great role in the conquest of the sky
and indeed space
Omega had much to celebrate in this arena as judged by this most splendid of collections
The Speedmaster Missions set was flanked by vertical displays containing some very desirable sets
including a trio of DeVille chronometers in white, yellow and pink gold
a rare and unusual floral representation in the Cloisonne Flower Dial, part of Set No. 70 of a 100 set limited edition series created to celebrate Omega’s centenary in 1894.
a representation of Omega’s role in the time-keeping of great sporting events
and a final view from the east side
In the background beneath the poster of the Observatory Dial are “ Goodie Bags ” containing the much-prized, glossy leaved 600+ page catalogue of the Omegamania Thematic Auction, a boxed Omega pen, a copy of the Spring issue of Vox Magazine – a publication of Antiquorum, the world’s leading auction house in the field of horology who are handling the Omegamania sale and a hard-backed catalogue of the Crown Jeweler, Garrard & Co.
Refreshments were available in the southwest section of the Queen Mary Room, adjacent to the 007 display.
Antiquorum holds the Omegamania Thematic Auction in Geneva on April 14 and 15 with a live satellite link to the Baselworld watch fair. It has taken a year for all the exhibits and sale items to be sourced and refurbished, for the press and sale material to be produced and a world tour exhibition which began in Milan in February and which will end in Geneva on April 12, the likes of which we probably are unlikely to see in our lifetime to be organised. I was indeed privileged to be at Omegamania.
My thanks to the many who made the viewing, discussions and pictures enjoyable, memorable and possible, namely –
OMEGA WATCHES in Eastleigh, Hampshire
Eva Mansfield, Frederic Nardin for the discussions and mailings, electronic and otherwise
THE OMEGA BOUTIQUE in Bond Street, London W1
Jonathan, Simon, Richelle, Faye and Ash who additionally over the past months, have assisted me with information, indeed too of how to wind my Speedy Pro and answers to members’ questions so this in some small way, is to say a Big Thank You for all your time, patience, warm welcome and good humour
Catherine Moser for some of the key pictures and press information which appears in this report, my guided tour of the exhibition, co-ordinator of my dress style for the cocktail preview and showing me the workings of my week-young (!) camera
GARRARD & Co
Imogen and Roger for the history, data and information on Garrard.
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