The Olympic Games – the pinnacle of minority sports that people only care about once every four years; the apex of overblown, cheesy opening ceremonies; the zenith of irresponsible city management and the building of white elephants with no clear legacy; the apogee of … OK, you get the idea, I’m not overly fond of the Olympics, but it gives us something to watch between the end of Euro 2016 and the beginning of the Premier League football season.
One brand that simply loves the Olympics, though, is Omega, the long-term “official timekeeper” of the Games. And to celebrate the Rio 2016 Olympics, the brand has released three special-edition pieces.
Of the three, the standout is the Rio-flavoured spin on one of my all-time favourite Omegas, the Seamaster Bullhead, with its oddly shaped case. As befits the Games, the Bullhead Rio 2016 (left) is a sporty chronograph with two subdials and comes with a blue, perforated leather strap. The Olympic motifs are obvious here, with the colours of the Games featuring on the strap stitching and the inner bezel; there is also a Rio 2016 logo engraved on the caseback. Laudatory timepieces can sometimes come off as lame (see anything by Hublot during a World Cup year) but the Bullhead is subtle enough that it looks like a fresh, summery take on a classic. Limited to 316 pieces, prices for the special-edition Bullhead are available on request.
The Olympics are as good a time as any to release another Speedmaster and Omega hasn’t missed a beat with the Mark II Rio 2016. Less showy and with less-obvious Games motifs than the Bullhead, the Mark II is a pure retro sports watch with iconic Speedmaster dial layout and tachymeter scale. The back of the watch has the Rio logo stamp but the subtle link to the Olympics here is the gold, silver and bronze subdials. The watch is limited to 2,016 pieces and prices are available on request.
Finally, we have the Seamaster Diver 300m Rio 2016, which I have mixed feelings about. The most striking feature is the use of the Olympic colours on the bezel, which seem to work on the Bullhead but jars on the Seamaster. Overall, this is a robust divers watch, with 300 metres of water resistance.
Even though I’m not totally sold, there’s a Rio stamp on the caseback, so it will appeal to collectors looking to pick up all three pieces. The price is available on request.