Omega and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have extended their partnership, scheduled to end in 2020, for a further twelve years. The brand will be the official timekeeper for events at the XXXV Olympiad in 2032, just as it was for the first time in 1932 in Los Angeles. The news was announced during a press conference at The Olympic Museum in Lausanne. “It’s now almost impossible to imagine the Olympic Games without Omega, whose commitment throughout the past decades has never faltered,” declared IOC president Thomas Bach. “This is a true partnership, essential for the athletes who must have absolute faith in the systems used to measure their performance.”
Bach admits that other brands have tried to topple Omega from its pedestal but to no avail, simply because its capacity for innovation has proved so successful. In addition to the string of high-tech timekeeping solutions that it has brought to successive Games, the brand has developed revolutionary animations that help make the Olympics such a thrilling spectator event. The latest to date, first used at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, is the Scan’O’Vision Myria. This image-capture device records up to 10,000 digital images per second. According to the late Nicolas G. Hayek, founder of Swatch Group, Omega’s unassailable position in sports timing has a price… which happens to be around a billion Swiss francs over ten years. Hence why the Omega-IOC partnership is a two-way street: the watch brand bills its services to the Committee, which in return receives payment for the exclusivity it grants Omega.
Uniting the world
“My father sometimes had a slight tendency to exaggerate,” confessed Swatch Group CEO Nick Hayek to the assembled press. “Which in no way detracts from the importance of the investment we make. Our group has never stopped investing in the specific industrial and technological expertise of watchmaking when others were happy to buy in parts to then assemble them and add their name. The same is true of sports timing. Omega is now a reference in the field because of the developments made entirely in-house. These investments should also be seen as a fabulous opportunity to share in the spirit that runs through the most emotionally compelling sporting event in the world. To come back to my father, he clearly caught the Olympic bug, and one of his successes was to spread it to our entire organisation. Hence why this isn’t just a question of money; it’s also about committing to an event the world clearly needs.” Beyond criticism of the colossal scale of organising the Games, the Olympics continue to foster unity.