There’s just one year to go until the America’s Cup sets sail in Barcelona and to celebrate this fact Omega has unveiled a special edition of its Seamaster Planet Ocean in tribute to defending champions Emirates Team New Zealand. It is a moody oceanic interpretation of Omega’s deep-sea diver all in black with flashes of turquoise that take inspiration from the team’s logo, transforming this tool watch into something altogether more sophisticated yet still sporty.
Despite being more associated with being under the water than on it, Omega has supported the America’s Cup since 1995, when it backed Team New Zealand under the leadership of legendary sailor Sir Peter Blake. Since then, it has been the official timekeeper in 2000, 2003 and 2021, and now it is back for the 37th edition of the event.
Currently challenging Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ) are Britain’s INEOS Britannia, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli from Italy, Switzerland’s Alinghi Red Bull Racing, Orient Express Team France and NYYC American Magic. These teams will compete for the right to race against ETNZ in the final, which will begin on October 12, 2024. The showdown will comprise a maximum of 13 races, each worth one point to the winner and nothing to the loser. The first team to achieve seven points will be the winner and thus, the Defender of the 38th America’s Cup.
The prestige of the America’s Cup means it attracts the world’s top sailors and boat designers as well as the super-rich. It is a test of sailing skill and boat design as well as management skills and fundraising given that it takes a minimum of $100m to compete. A preliminary regatta has already been sailed in Vilanova i La Geltrú, 25 miles south west of Barcelona, which is where Omega unveiled its special edition Seamaster Planet Ocean.
The 45.5mm case is ceramic as is the unidirectional bezel and the dial and the colourway derives from the ETNZ logo – a plume of turquoise feathers against a black background. At three o’clock there is a countdown indicator complete with flagged “Start” hand in the team’s turquoise to complement the sub-dial ring, while the seconds hand is topped with a counterweight in the shape of the Cup itself. The watch has a helium escape valve at 10 o’clock and screw-down crown to keep the watch water resistant down to 600m. The chronograph pushers aren’t screwed into the case, but they are still water resistant and can be operated underwater. The ETNZ logo is on the screwed-on caseback which, thanks to Omega’s NAIAD lock design, will always be correctly aligned while it’s powered by the brand’s Master Chronometer Calibre 9900 – the first Omega chronograph to receive METAS certification. The watch comes on a black and turquoise structured rubber strap and Omega will also be offering a full turquoise strap, for those who like a colour pop, as well as Nato-style design in complementary colours. Keeping it safe on dry land is a presentation box inspired by the ETNZ logo.
With a year to go, ETNZ’s attention is directed towards preparation, rather than the race itself. ‘To be honest, we aren’t focused too much on race day one of the America’s Cup right now,’ explains Emirates Team New Zealand COO Kevin Shoebridge. ‘It is always worthwhile taking stock of where we are in our campaign, you are always conscious of the clock ticking, but if there is one thing that we always need to be careful of it’s not getting ahead of ourself as a team, sticking to our overall plan, and continuing to keep focused on the detail day to day.’ At least they’ll have a super-precise chronograph with them to ensure those preparations stay on schedule. After all, a year can go past very quickly indeed.