humans, we've come a long way. But what is particularly amazing about
our journey is how much we have conquered in the last 200 years. From
horse and carriages to space travel, from transmitting messages in Morse
code to email, from navigating at sea with only the help of a
mechanical clock to global positioning systems accurate to
the centimetre, all that in just a couple of generations. It is no
wonder that we take technological changes for granted.
Our ability to record and reproduce voice with high fidelity dates back
to the early 60s which is not really that long ago. The credit for hi-fi
goes to Yamaha. (Neither of my three youngest assistants knew what
hi-fi stood for because they simply don't remember pre hi-fi times). We
only achieved the ability to measure and display 1/100th of a
second with a wristwatch in 1988. And the credit for this goes to
In 1988, Omega released the legendary Seamaster Polaris. It was powered
by quartz movement calibre 1670. The electronic calibre is equipped with
a microprocessor integrating 50,000 transistors, allowing for the first
time ever the display of 1/ 100th of a second by means of a
hand, and with perfect readability. The memory is also able to register
up to ten simple, additional, intermediate, final, lap, and total times.
It was the perfect watch for timing sporting events at the Olympic
Games in 1988, held in Calgary and Seoul.
Omega Polaris was the first watch designed for nerds and in a way, the
first 'smart watch'. It takes plenty of intuition to familiarise
yourself with all of the stopwatch features that Polaris offers. With
all due respect, it wasn't a watch for a common man.
What was also revolutionary about Polaris was the case and bracelet.
Polaris was offered in two versions, stainless steel and gold as well as
titanium and gold. And I vividly remember the day when I saw Polaris in
the window of Jeweller Wempe on the Koenigstrasse in Stuttgart. If only
I could afford it!