It was luck, pure luck. In one of the most extraordinary discoveries ever made at Omega, workers clearing out a warehouse not far from company headquarters in Bienne, Switzerland, came across a pile of boxes that had not been touched for decades. No one at Omega knew of their existence, much less what treasures lay within.

Unbelievable. They were original components – all the parts necessary to build a pocket watch chronograph rattrapante movement. And not just any movement! The recovered components were those used to build the very movement at the heart of the famous 30 stopwatches Omega delivered to Los Angeles for the Olympic Games of 1932.

The discovery of the movement assembly kits caused great excitement at Omega headquarters, where in-house experts soon determined that many of the 180 parts and sub-assemblies in each kit were in surprisingly good condition. From that point on there was no looking back, and within a few months Omega had produced an exquisite replica of the 1932 pocket watch that made history in Los Angeles.

The art of a movement
Based on the 1932 design and built from restored and enhanced components and a small number of new parts, the Omega calibre 3889A is a high-performance mechanical movement with an integrated rattrapante chronograph mechanism controlled by a double column wheel. The 24’’’ (53.7mm) movement beats at 36,000 alternations per hour, enabling accuracy to 1/10th of a second. Prior to assembly, the gilt plates and bridges of the 1932 design were restored, rhodium-plated and enhanced with circular graining and Geneva waves. All steel components are satin-brushed, and the two column wheels are blued steel.

The chromium-plated metal cases of the 1932 model were replaced by hand-crafted 18-carat yellow, white or red gold watchcases, and the contemporary edition, like the original, features an exquisite 57mm white enamel dial with a recessed 30-minute totalizer at 12 o’clock and a recessed continuous seconds dial at 6 o’clock, both with black enamel “railroad track” rings. The black enamel Arabic numerals and 5-60 minute-scale, graduated to 1/5th second, and the red enamel Omega name and symbol are identical to those of the Omega chronographs used at the Olympic Games in 1932.

A timekeeper’s dream
The enormous care taken by Omega’s master watchmakers in restoring and assembling the recovered movement kits enabled the Pocket Watch 1932 to achieve official COSC certification as a chronometer. Like the original, it is accurate to 1/10th of a second. The chronograph start, stop and re-set functions are integrated in the crown; beneath the crown is a safety-lock wheel to prevent involuntary stoppage of the chronograph - an essential feature for the official timekeepers at the Los Angeles 1932 Olympic Games! The pushbutton at 11 o’clock controls the rattrapante function, which allows timekeepers to record intermediate (lap) times during a race; the hours, minutes and seconds are set by holding down the 1 o’clock pushbutton and winding the crown.

Pieces of 8
In Chinese culture, the number 8 is considered lucky – a sign of prosperity and wealth. So it’s not by chance that the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games are set to begin on the 8th day of the 8th month in the year 2008 – at 8.00 o’clock in the evening! And when Omega presented an Omega Pocket Watch 1932 to Kong Fanzhi, Director of the Beijing Cultural Relics Protection Bureau,  nothing
was left to chance: the edition number engraved on the case was – 88.