Omega will be the official timekeeper of the upcoming Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. In order to mark this partnership, the Villeret-based Swiss watchmaker has already launched a few commemorative models. The latest among them is from the Seamaster collection and bears the name Bullhead Rio 2016. This novelty is based on one of the most iconic and collectable historical watches by the brand. This cherished Bullhead watch was initially released around half a century ago. Omega is now presenting a modernized version of this chronograph with a distinctive trapezoidal housing. Beacuseof its Olympic heritage, the novelty bears appropriate inscriptions and details that point to its inspiration. Omega Seamaster Bullhead Rio 2016 is launched in a limited edition of 316 pieces.
Omega’s newcomer has the word “Bullhead” in its name which is a reference to the characteristic irregular shape of the watch’s case which is a bit wider at the upper end. Bullhead is not the original name of the model. In fact, this was at first its nickname which was coined by collectors among whom the model has been very popular ever since it came out in 1969. Its origin is quite simple. Apparently, the housing was made in the shape that resembled the head of a bull.
This nickname stuck so much that it became better known than its original designation Rallye. As for the initial moniker of the watch, it referred to the fact that it was oriented towards rally drivers and that its main purpose was to help them measure lap times.
The new version has the same distinctive overall styling as its archetype, but is naturally very different in several different aspects. First let us cover the traits that remained unchanged. Apart from the shape of the housing, we can notice the same type of pushers that are located on the top of the case around the unorthodoxly positioned crown. There is also an additional crown on the opposite part of the case which is used to turn its bidirectional inner bezel.
Most importantly, the functions of the watch are unchanged. Both the original and its descendent are chronographs with two chrono sub-counters, of which the 30-minute one stands on the top of the dial. The other counter on the lower part of the dial is used for small seconds.
There are also a lot of changes which is quite expected, considering the “age difference” of these two pieces. The new model is 43 mm wide (and has the same length which is not immediately visible, due to its irregular shape), which is 5 mm more than its original. Apart from the size which is once again unsurprising, considering the discrepancies in trends in two periods, there is also a important difference in the most important trait – the supported movement.
Omega Seamaster Rallye from 1969 was equipped with Caliber 930 which was a hand-wound cam actuated chronograph. The new one, on the other hand, features modern Omega Caliber 3313 which is a self-winding co-axial column-wheel chronograph with vertical coupling. It also possesses an in-house made free-sprung balance that gives it improved durability and accuracy. Its supported power reserve is 52 hours, while the frequency is 4 Hz.
The latest Bullhead with Caliber 3313 is not the first of this kind. Omega actually started producing this type of watches a couple of years ago. What is new is of course is Olympic theme which dictated the appearance of the watch with a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal with glare-proof coating on both of its sides.
One of the most notable Olympic-inspired traits is the color scheme of the piece which utilizes distinctive shades of the Olympic rings. The dominant color is blue which is used for the inner bezel that surrounds the clear white dial and the leather attachment of the piece, while red is used for the central chronograph hand. The colors of other rings are utilized for the numerals on the ring, as well as for the stitching on the strap with three rows of circular perforations.
It should also be said the face of Omega Seamaster Rio 2016 includes gray hour and minute hands covered with luminous coatings, the same kind of bar-shaped hour markers, as well as a date aperture which is located on the traditional place, at the three o’clock position.
Unlike the hints that point out to the origin of the piece which can be seen on the front side, the case-back is quite explicit in that sense. The rear side of the steel housing boasts the inscription “Rio 2016”, as well as the official logo of the upcoming Olympic Games which will next year take place in the Brazilian city. By the way the watch with a screw-in crown is water resistant to 150 meters (or 500 feet).
There is another interesting fact about the newcomer, concerning the number of the copies which will comprise this limited edition. The Villeret-based watchmaker opted for the restricted series of 316 pieces. This particular number was chosen for two different reasons. The “16” part refers to the year in which the Olympic games will be held, while “3” marks the third time that golf is part of selected sports which will be part of the competition.
One of the official timekeepers of the upcoming sporting event will be sold at a yet unspecified price. It is expected that it will be somewhere around $10,000.