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Toadtorrent

Toad's Preview - Omega Deville Hour Vision

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Deville-Background.jpg

When I've done watch reviews in the past, they have been done after purchase and with me holding the rep in my dirty old hands and with camera at the ready. Every now and then however, you need to stretch a little and try something a little out of one's comfort zone and that's where this report...a PREVIEW at best, comes from.

  • I have not seen the gen (outside of photos).
  • I have not seen the rep (outside of photos).

    ...and By-Tor asks for someone to write a report for his Omega guide?

    This request from one of the King's of RWG got me wondering what this rep was all about.

    SS_Dial4.jpg



    What makes this watch interesting? Well...let's just say: with rose gold plating, ETA 2836, an asking price of $578???? Read on my friends...read on...and you too will see England, you'll see France, you'll see...well, you'll see why.

    Caseback1.jpg



    OMEGA HISTORY
    Ask anyone to name a high end watch, and Omega will likely appear near the top of the list for most well known luxury brand of watch. The roots of Omega begin in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland in 1848 where a 23 year old Louis Brandt set up an assembly workshop producing pocket watches using components delivered by local craftsman. These roots based on high end device manufacturing using third party components had formed the backbone behind modern Omega manufacturing for years, where modern Omegas for the most part, were built upon movement bases supplied by ETA and not built in-house. Current production is now based in Biel, Switzerland and is now owned by the Swatch Group, makers of fine luxury products the world over.

    Unlike lesser known high end brands like IWC or A. Lange & Sohne, media exposure through high end endorsements and high profile product placement has been a key strategy for Omega since the early days of the company. Omega has placed itself as official timekeeper at a number of significant sporting events from the 1909 Gordon-Bennett Cup ballooning race to a series of Olympics from the first official timekeeper in the 1932 LA Summer Olympics to the 2008 Summer Olympics in China, and the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver as well. Key endorsements by media superstars like Nicole Kidman, Cindy Crawford, Pierce Brosnan, and of course Daniel Craig and the whole James Bond franchise, as well as sporting stars like Michael Schumacher, Ellen MacArthur and Michael Phelps and the occasional trip to the moon don't hurt Omega's spotlight placement in the media either.

    Nicole.jpg



    Product placement and endorsements are not necessarily a bad thing as they help define the image portrayed by the items at hand. Omega's approach differentiates the various Omega lines:

    • Constellation - Contemporary dress styling...inherently more feminine (don't hit me for this one...I'm an SMP guy)...endorsed by Nicole Kidman
    • Speedmaster - Sport and racing...with limited edition lines for Michael Schumacher
    • Seamaster - Dress, sport and Diving...Bond and the like, and includes the Aquaterra and Railmaster lines
    • Museum - Limited edition line reviving the style of the 1900's
    • Deville - Traditional styling...used by David Duchovny in the X-Files, and Will Smith in Enemy of the State


      THE OMEGA DEVILLE HOUR VISION
      The gen Deville Hour Vision is a significant watch for Omega. So, what is the poop with this watch?

      Since about 2000 with the introduction of the first Co-Axial Escapement movements, many have watched (no pun intended) Omega with skepticism over whether this new breed of movement designed with George Daniels' Co-Axial escapement and put into industrialized production was really worth all the hype, given that it was not a completely lubricant-less movement as people original thought. George Daniels' Co-Axial escapement worked great in handmade pieces...but could it be applied successfully in "mass production"? Given that in 2006 Omega had produced 150,000 Co-Axial watches, the watches appear to be precise, reliable instruments requiring less maintenance than competitors of its time, and still receive criticism for using ETA movements.

      With the debut of the Deville Hour Vision in early 2007, Omega debuted its latest and greatest movement, the Calibre 8500 series.

      Caliber8500.jpg



      As pictured below, it's an efficient movement compared to a basic well known "mystery" calibre.

      MovementComparison.jpg



      Aside from whatever improvements they have made to the technical nature of the movement, a significant showcase point for the 8500 family, is the debut of a new, high level of industrialized movement finishing which required some signficant advancements in new machinery.

      Traditional high end movement finishing often may include some plate burnishing called Cotes de Geneve, vagues de Geneve or Geneva stripes using a process as pictured below.

      striping.jpg



      With the 8500 family, Omega took this step even further, producing a very elegant seashell like striping to the Geneva Stripes which they refer to as the Cotes de Geneve in Arabesque.

      Gen_Caseback4.jpg



      Add in a rose gold main rotor and balance bridge, and you get the Calibre 8501.

      Caliber8501.jpg



      Does a rose gold plated rotor in a rep make it worth twice the premium of an equivalent ETA driven replica?

      No.

      However, with the beauty of the gen's Calibre 8500 finishing, Omega did not stop there. They wanted to showcase this new level of industrialized beauty, and did so by encasing the movement in a sapphire ring, and sandwiching this crystal ring between a top and bottom case unit with cutouts providing visibility to the movement from the sides as well as the bottom.

      Gen_CrystalCasebody.jpg



      The point of the sapphire mid-section is to allow light to pass through as much of the watch as possible to "light" the beauty of the display back feature.

      Horomundi.com states:

      "The movement is well lit when viewed from the case-side and from the sapphire case-back, and it caused a subtle stir of emotions when viewed with ambient light from the windows, as if the lighted movement with oscillating balance wheel is somewhat alive. The fact that the 3 parts watch case with crystal mid-section is water resistant to 100M and shock-proof to 5000G added to the lustre of the watch."

      I have to admit...this is a pretty novel design approach. As can be seen on the gen picture below, the lugs are comprised of contrasting polished and brush sections to highlight the union between the top and bottom case pieces encasing the sapphire ring.

      Gen_lugs.jpg



      So much for Rolex's Oyster case being made from a single piece of steel.

      It's hard to deny the movement is beautiful...and having the display feature of the sapphire mid-section really does highlight the finish of the watch.

      The creation of a sapphire mid-section in this shape is only a recent possibility given that as recent as a few years ago, sapphire manufacturing could only curve in one direction and odd shape crystal production wasn't conceivable. Swatch Group CEO G. Nick Hayek also said that he firmly believes no one else has the ability to produce this sapphire crystal ring yet, and that "Of Course, the Chinese will be able to imitate it with plastic shortly".

      Oh really.

      How well does this translate into a CHEAP rep using a cheap Asian movement? How better does it translate into a more expensive rep using the standard gold plated movement? And, how better is it with a $500 price tage and a nickel plated movement?

      Read on.

      THE CASE

      There really are a few versions of this watch to compare and the dealer you buy the watch from appears to matter.
      For the most part, I will be comparing:

      • The Gen - GBP3400 with bracelet
      • King's El Cheapo - USD108
      • Andrew's ETA - USD398
      • Angus' ETA - USD578

      Although vendor's photography is really not showing enough detail, as seen below it appears that there is a definite improvement in the case finishing of Andrew's version vs. King's cheaper version. King does have a more expensive ETA version that definitely uses a different case than the $100 special and it is possibly the same one as Andrew's more expensive one.

      The watch itself has a 41mm case, in-line with the larger sized pieces favoured by most folks these days.

      Lug finishing is definitely improved on the better reps, providing a true distinction between the brushed and polished sides.

      Deville-Side-Comp.jpg

      All versions of the watch have the display cutout sides. Afterall, this is one of the main points of this watch.

      Only Angus states that the side windows are sapphire as wells as the front and back main crystals.

      I doubt the construction of the case is done using the same ringed sapphire mid-section as the genuine Hour Vision, but if this is the case, this might explain their rationale behind the jacked up price for this watch. Again, don't hold your breath on this being the case.

      Replica manufacturers wouldn't lie would they??

      CASEBACK ENGRAVING

      Deville-Engraving-Comp.jpg

      As you can see, the engraving on the casebacks varies greatly. The gen's engraving is quite deep and crisp, while the el Cheapo looks...well...Cheapo.

      King's $400 special seems to me to be deeper and more accurate than Angus' $578 article...but that could also be due to the quality of the pictures.

      MOVEMENT

      Gen_Caseback_8501_10.jpg

      This is where the watches really differ. The genuine article really is a work of art. The Cotes de Geneve in Arabesque is something to behold. The layered swirling adds a level of detail not found on most production watches, and is something you would expect from a higher end Breguet or something along those lines. Remember, the Omega 8500 series incorporates this level of movement finishing using an industrialized manufacturing process.

      Gen_Caseback7.jpg

      The composite below shows the genuine 8500 movement alongside the rose gold enhanced 8501.

      Deville-GenMvmt-Comp.jpg

      The reps vary greatly.

      Deville-RepMvmt-Comp.jpg

      All of the more expensive options are supposed to use a genuine ETA 2836 movement. As we know, this movement does indeed come in either a gold plated or nickel plated movement, and I do believe that the nickel plated ones have traditionally costed more when installed in the replica watches. The cheaper option (either Andrew's or King's) use the standard Asian mystery movement, and it shows when looking through the display back.

      Angus' most expensive option to me, is the best of the bunch. The nickel plated movement is closest to the genuine article, and the burnishing on the rotors and bridges at least adds some degree of decoration in line with the spirit of the genuine. However, burnishing like this does in no way compare with the Omega's arabesque finish. Angus' rotor tries to capture the seashell burnishing to some degree, but lacks the engraving of the "Omega Co-Axial 8500/8501", and instead uses an applique of the Omega logo, which may prove problematic if this stick-on decides to unstick itself.

      Both the more expensive King and Andrew option use the gold plated movement which may look similar to the 8501's rose gold rotor and balance bridge, but loses this bonus when the rotor is labelled as an 8500 movement. As can be seen in the King photo, the writing looks to be an applique which may have durability issues down the line as seen with the IWC Cousteau Divers.

      The el Cheapo does indeed have the "arabesque" finish...well, sort of...but it really looks cheap...like it's price.

      DIAL

      SS_Dial2-1.jpg

      The genuine dial has some interesting Art Deco influenced styling and a few details that add a bit of lustre to the fairly simple dial. It uses machine (not hand) applied solid gold hour stick markers, a grooved rhodium hour track, gold date frame and gold Omega logo (non-pointy feet). The use of gold will add an element of sheen to the dial that the rep will not be able to duplicate in full.

      Deville-RepDial-Comp1.jpg

      Again, the pictures may not be doing justice to the dials, but everything does indeed seem flatter than the gen. Andrew's printing on the outer edge is a little heavier and looks more like the gen dial to me.

      The "De Ville" spacing looks a little tighter on Andrew's than Angus' dial, making Angus the winner here.

      Both replicas use the incorrect up-turned feet Omega logo with Andrew's being a little narrower, again, Angus being the winner here (for incorrect Omega feet that is).

      Both replicas appear to use the correct hands.

      Datewheel.jpg

      Both replicas use a pretty good date font, but Angus' date window looks to be better aligned, while Andrew's is a bit too far to the left aligning with the innermost ring instead of the second innermost ring.

      The el Cheap pictured below is wrong all over.

      CheapDial2.jpg

      [*]Outer edge font is too heavy

      [*]Too much gap between outer edge printing and "rhodium ring"

      [*]Incorrect Omega logo

      [*]Printing of De Ville is too heavy

      [*]Stick markers are applied to top of ring, instead of "sunken" into the ring

      [*]Wrong hands (flat vs bevelled)

      [*]Date font is wrong

      [*]Date window is too far to the left of the "rhodium ring"

      [*]Rhodium ring looks terrible

      Another gen dial pic is included below as a bonus.

      SS_Dial3.jpg

      BRACELET

      Gen_Bracelet2.jpg

      The bracelet design is nice, but with reps, you can never really tell what the bracelet is like until you hold it in your hand as so much depends on the finishing. In other words, how sharp the edges are, polish level, clasp operation, etc.

      From pictures, suffice it to say, the bracelet looks pretty good...with the gold plated Omega logo on the clasp. The gen is pictured above, the rep pictured below.

      Bracelet.jpg

      Only a genuine purchase of the rep will reveal the bracelet quality.

      CRYSTAL

      As stated earlier, the crystals on the gen are all sapphire, with the use of the sapphire ring.

      Angus states the crystals are all sapphire with AR (assume single coated if they haven't explicitly stated double AR), and also states the side windows are sapphire as well. I would assume the design of the rep uses either sapphire or some mineral crystal as glued in windows for the sides unless proven otherwise.

      WATER RESISTANCE

      All the vendors state all watches are water resistant. Angus usually gives a depth...and his depth says don't swim with it.

      The fact that the case on the genuine is made of 3 parts and water resistant to 300m is also a sound achievement for Omega...and not with the rep.

      CONCLUSION

      I see England...

      I see France...

      I see ajosmith's avatar's underpants (or ETA 2836 movement if you want)

      There is a certain degree of irony to this watch in that one of the significant points of the genuine article is that so much technological advancement within Omega has allowed for a watch to have the movement finish previously only seen in Haute Horology, while being found in a more affordable price point (although obviously not cheap). As a genuine watch, I think the Hour Vision is a significant piece for Omega. The movement is beautiful, and the use of the sapphire ring to enhance the display of it is effective as well as novel.

      As a replica, there are few watches worth >$500 in my books, unless they contain genuine parts. With this watch, you would never upgrade to genuine parts, because the key part is the movement. If you can afford a gen Calibre 8500 movement, you can afford the gen. The inexpensive version of this piece I find to be completely intolerable due to the cheap looking dial and the cheaper looking movement. Even if the construction included a genuine sapphire ring (highly unlikely) this does nothing more than display a completely and obviously inaccurate movement.

      The production difference between the various collectors on the higher end units makes this one a tricky one to buy, but overall, if you really want this watch, I think that Angus more expensive version is in fact the best, in large part due to the nickel plated movement even though it lacks engraving. I figure if you really wanted the engraving, send it out and get it done properly.

      All versions of this replica are not overly accurate, but there is a certain degree of novelty to the display sides, and as a replica to mark this milestone in Omega history it does have some merit, but not $400-$600 worth of novelty.

      I encourage somebody to pick this piece up and explain their thinking and their thoughts. Afterall, this is one person's opinion, and one based purely on photos.

      I hope you found this post interesting as I found understanding the signficance of the genuine piece quite intriguing and I encourage your comments.

      SS_Dial6.jpg

      Watch1.jpg

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Wow, now I know what makes this so special. Thanks for taking the time to do the research and write this up and sharing it.

I learned a lot :thumbsupsmileyanim:

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Wow... just wow!

I asked a few line summary and get this! A magazine quality review. Quite amazing, and much better that I could ever have done. It's reviews like this that make RWG the best watch forum on the Net.

Thanks a lot man... the Guide will be updated shortly. :)

PS: I agree 100%. There's no way to justify the cost, but at least now we know what's the reasoning behind scaling up the price on this.

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Wow... just wow!

I asked a few line summary and get this! A magazine quality review. Quite amazing, and much better that I could ever have done. It's reviews like this that make RWG the best watch forum on the Net.

Hah...I told you to give me a few days.

I'm always motivated to put in some effort given the help people have given me.

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Guide updated.

Thanks again. This was a great community service!

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Great review! Having seen the gen in the flesh, I must say I was underwhelmed. It may have been the lighting at the AD, but they actually pointed out to me the display sides - otherwise I would not have even noticed them. Found it very hard to really see anything.

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A truly excellent review thanks for taking the time.

Now I would love to see one or two dealers pop in here and justify their price to us.

Ken

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Wow...just wow has already been said but what else can be said!

Thank you so much for your time.

A great help for the community.

Cheers

Stephane

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Can only concur with what has already been said.

It is this sort of input from members, which truly shows the quality of information availble here, at our home.

Kudos to our toady member for this exceptional effort!

Just keeps reinforcing why we "all do our bit!"

Offshore

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-alow me to continue in the parade of the senior whozs who of rwg in praising your excellent and thorough review. great jorb! having triedon the gen. neat concept but you lose all the u.iquness when its on you wriste

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A pleasure to read, that is a lesson of journalism :)

And all this without having seen the things.

Thanks !

I had no intention to buy this rep, and after your review I am 200% sure about that fact.

BTW, who has the best Hour-Vision ? :lol:

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Outstanding! :)

Excellent job with the comparison pictures. I actually has got more respect for the genuine Hour Vision after reading your article.

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excellento!!!

amazing review, loved it...

personally I think the movement design is more beautiful than the dial-face design.

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Thanks for all the feedback folks. Hearing from the senior folks on this board is very encouraging given the quality of photos and reviews that can be found here.

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Compliments to you Toadtorrent. Well written preview, even without presence of the "real" watches.

PS: I won't buy the rep... The movement is the real "eye catcher" on this piece.

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@takashi...

I agree with you...

the crystal display case back is so prevalent in the new designs of alot of gens these days...

I think the watch companies are deliberating designing new watchs with display case backs to act as a "built-in" fight against counterfeit watchs...

it's an instant "give-away" if anyone wear one of these display case back reps...

it's a smart move by the Swiss watch companies.

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