A proper wind-up merchant: the Omega De Ville watch

This piece was originally in Esquire Weekly

A few years ago, the death knell was being sounded for the men’s wristwatch. What do we need a watch for, people reasoned, when we’re never more than seconds from finding out the exact time on our phones?

There’s some logic to this. By rights, wristwatches should have gone the way of video recorders and David Moyes’ managerial reputation. The reason they didn’t is because timepieces like this, the Omega De Ville Co-Axial Chronometer 41, are about so much more than telling the time — they’re a wearable extension of our values.

The Swiss watchmaker’s De Ville range, which began in 1967, marries elegant, classic styling with cutting edge timekeeping technology. Slimmer and a little less showy than the (admittedly great) Speed- and Seamaster, a watch like this belongs on the wrist of a man who’s secure with his place in the world. And being an Omega, it’s no slouch when it comes to telling the time with pinpoint accuracy either.

The soul of a watch is its movement — the mechanism that enables it to tell the time, and the De Ville’s is one of the best, an Omega Co-Axial Calibre 8500. Forget batteries, this work of engineering genius uses the wearer’s wrist movements to power the watch with a mind-blowing array of gears, cogs and springs. And, unlike a lot of mechanical watches, the De Ville Chronometer has enough in reserve to keep going for a decent amount of time when you’re not wearing it — a full 60 hours. Not that you’ll want to take it off for that long.

Then there’s the case. Made of stainless steel and measuring 41mm across, it’s far smaller from the giant “footballers’ watches” that have gained popularity over the last few years. The face is protected by scratch-resistant sapphire cover, with a date window at three-o’clock and raised Roman numerals on the hour. And being water-resistant to 100m, should you fancy a quick exploration of your local Tudor shipwreck at lunchtime you won’t be late for that 2.30 sales call.

So, in a world where everything else is digital, the man who tells the time with a beautiful, mechanically powered watch is the one who really makes his mark. The Omega De Ville Co-Axial Chronometer 41, yours for £3,950.


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