Omega, ranking among the world’s largest watch manufacturers, is a brand that is associated with NASA’s lunar landings, the Olympic Games, the film character of James Bond and fashion celebrities. However, it is a true technology brand that believes in innovation, says Stephen Urquhart, the President of Omega
Omega is a brand known for its pioneering spirit with outstanding timepieces like the first diver’s watch or the world’s only certified marine chronometer wristwatch – that is, of course apart from their role as the official timekeepers for the Olympics since 1932 and their presence in six lunar landings.
Sports-timekeeping and measurement technologies play key roles in Omega’s brand and corporate visibility. The President of Omega, Stephen Urquhart, says, “We have pioneered many of the important technical innovations in sports-timekeeping. We are looking forward to return to London where, for the 25th time we will assume our Olympic timekeeping role.”
We discuss the business situation and wonder what he feels about the impact of the economic downturn that business leaders are complaining about. He responds: “Recession is just a technical term used by economists. The only recession we felt was limited to what happened in 2009, contributed mainly by US and Japan. In 2010 and 2011 we never felt any recession. There was, of course, the Euro crisis in 2011, which did not affect us much because it did not hit any of our major markets. This year, we will be cautious and watch the situation – the exchange rate volatility is a challenge that has to be faced.”
There is much that Omega owes to celebrity endorsements but the biggest impetus has probably come form the brand’s association with James Bond – Omega has been associated with James Bond movies since 1995. In honour of Bond’s first film appearance 50 years ago, Omega has designed a special Seamaster Professional for the occasion.’
Which are the markets that Stephen thinks will play important roles in the future growth of Omega – he responds: “Our decision to enter the Chinese market twenty years ago was a good strategy. China has become a leading market for luxury products and, given its size and potential, it will influence the luxury business in future. We have also made major thrusts into India and Russia, which are two other markets of the future. That, combined with our existing strength in the more traditional watch markets, gives us a truly total reach.”
He concludes, saying “As a truly global brand, we make our full product range available to all of our markets around the world.” Omega hopes to continue its sway as an intimate personal product that resonates with people on an emotional level.