Looking over Omega’s range of watches, it’s easy to find a piece that suits almost any taste, budget and occasion. I say almost because for the past several years the company has had one major chink in its armor – the lack of a truly elegant men’s dress watch.
‘What about the De Ville Prestige and Hour Vision precious metal models?’ I hear you say. They are reasonably dressy timepieces but put up against similarly priced benchmark dress watches such as the A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia, Patek Philippe Calatrava or Vacheron Constantin Patrimony (gallery above), Omega’s offerings don’t really compare. You see dress watches are meant to ooze elegance with dainty precious metal cases that disappear under cuffs and, have highly decorated movements that are as beautiful as the watch’s dial.The lack of dress watches in Omega’s current arsenal is in stark contrast to the 40s, 50s and 60s, where the company had an embarrassment of elegant dress watches including the spectacular Constellation Pie Pan. Omega even had Seamasters that could pass as dress watches considering their clean and elegant looks and suitably small dials and slim cases.
At Baselworld earlier this year Omega unveiled a number of new watches including the De Ville Trésor, which immediately ticked a number of tick boxes on our dress watch crib-sheet. Like the Seamaster 300 and Speedmaster Mark II that were also unveiled, the Trésor is a modern interpretation on a vintage design and, lets face it, Omega has already proved that it knows how to merge vintage styling cues with contemporary production.
A quick look at the original
The original Trésor (above) was first produced in 1949 and featured a pink gold case that was, at the time, considered large at 37.5mm in diameter. It featured a clean, simple dial with just three hands and an automatic ‘bumper’ movement that was all the rage at the time. However, the original Trésor never gained worldwide attention because Omega designed it for a few specific markets such as South America.
A modern interpretation
As you can see, the new De Ville Trésor borrows a number of design elements from its older counterpart. The new Trésor features a clean dial with three hands, applied hour batons, a date aperture and a ‘silvery opaline’ (as Omega refers to it) dial sporting a vintage ‘clous de Paris’ pattern.
The Trésor now features a 40mm case and is available in a choice of precious metals; 18K white gold, 18K Sedna gold (rose) and 18K yellow gold. In the case of the white gold model, Omega fits it with a classic black leather strap whereas the yellow and Sedna gold models are sold with a brown strap – in either case a pin buckle that matches the material of the case is fitted.
The beating heart of the Trésor is Omega’s new manual-winding Master Co-Axial calibre 8511 – a certified chronometer movement that can withstand magnetic fields greater than 15,000 gauss. This movement, like the calibre 9300, also feature’s Omega’s Si14 silicone balance spring. Scratch resistant sapphire crystal is found on both sides of the watch’s case with both sides also receiving anti reflective treatment.
We happened across the De Ville Trésor on a random visit to Omega’s boutique in Dubai’s Mall of the Emirates. The Sedna gold model was the only Trésor available and it carried an EUP of US $14,114 (AED 51,800). The Calatrava, Patrimony and Saxonia from Patek, Vacheron and Lange respectively are about US $3,500 dearer.
Strapping the Trésor to our wrist, we immediately fell in love; the face of the watch is an attention grabber thanks to the ‘clous de Paris’ pattern on the dial. The 40mm case size suited our wrist perfectly, while the curved lugs and ever so slightly curved exhibition case back worked to ensure that the Trésor didn’t have a vice like grip on our wrist.
One thing we would like to highlight here is that while we thought the watch’s 40mm case size was perfect for our wrist, and the proportions of the rest of the watch are in-sync, it is typical for high-end dress watches to have cases that are in the 33mm to 38mm size range. Placed near a Calatrava, Patrimony, or Saxonia, the Trésor may well look like a giant.
As you’d expect of a fully-fledged dress watch, the Trésor snuck neatly under our cuff thanks to its relatively slim case (we estimate it is no thicker than 11mm). The brown leather strap matched the Sedna gold finish of the Trésor and felt great around our wrist – this is a watch that will be comfortable to wear for hours on end.
Reading the time is straightforward thanks to the large applied hour batons and long but thin hands. The only minor quibble we had with the face of the Trésor is that there’s perhaps just too much of text on the dial – we reckon the dial would have been perfect had it not had the ‘Master Co-Axial Chronometer’ text on it. We realise that Omega is trying to get the word out about its in-house movements but we firmly believe that the only text that should be on the dial of a dress watch is the manufacturer’s name.
The date aperture at the 6-o’clock position is easy to read as well but while this is a useful complication to have, it makes the Trésor feel and look a little less dressy. Dress watch dials are meant to be completely clean and uncomplicated and, here, the inclusion of the date function makes the Trésor feel a bit too modern.
Flipping the watch over you’re greeted by Omega’s calibre 8511, which fills the case back completely. Here, the sheer size of the movement may be jarring as more traditional high-end dress watches boast smaller, highly decorated movements that are as captivating to look at as their dials.
Don’t get us wrong, the 8511 movement is well finished and sports one bridge that’s finished in red-gold but if you already own a high-end dress watch or have looked at models from other high-end brands, it’s unlikely your expectations will be fulfilled, even if this is priced lower than those watches.
The Trésor is a welcome addition to Omega’s De Ville family – it is the first watch from Omega in years that we can classify as a dress watch. While it is not without its quirks, on the whole, the Trésor is an elegant timepiece that meshes old world design cues with contemporary knowhow.
This is a dress watch that will likely attract younger well-to-do buyers (who are used to larger cases) to the Omega fold. The few issues that we noted aren’t catastrophic deal-breakers in our view (the exceptions are those who already have high-end dress watches and/or are looking at brands such as Lange, Patek and Vacheron) and, knowing Omega, there will undoubtedly be additions to the Trésor family in coming years that may well address all the quirks.
We look forward to tracking what Omega does with the De Ville Trésor in the coming years and look forward to the day where it goes head-to-head with the dress watch benchmarks that we had mentioned earlier.