Tag Archives: Caliber 9300

Caliber 9300 explained

Note January 5th 2018: the caliber 9300 Speedmaster models were discontinued in 2017 in favor of the caliber 9900 versions.

Omega’s Caliber 9300 chronograph movement can be described as an Co-Axial escapement chronograph with Si14 Silicium balance spring, two barrels, column wheel and vertical clutch. Sounds interesting, right? But what does all this mean exactly? Sadly, all too often articles and posts fail to explain the various mechanism found in this impressive movement. We assume you’re starting to get the point – indeed, we will give it a shot. Without going to much into detail regarding the technical details behind each, we will try to explain the benefits and discuss the alternatives.

Omega Caliber 9300 in 311.

Omega Caliber 9300 in 311.

Co-Axial Escapement

The Co-Axial escapement was an original idea of the late master watchmaker George Daniels, which was adopted by Omega around 1992 and finally commercialized in 1999 in the caliber 2500. Since then, it has found its way to most of Omega’s new calibers, most notably the caliber 8500 and 9300.

Compared to the traditional escapement -invented in the 18th century- , the Co-Axial technology greatly reduces friction in the escapement. Less friction means less wear on parts and less lubrication needed – thus giving the movement greater accuracy over time and lengthening intervals between servicing.

Si14 Silicium (silicon) Balance Spring

The balance spring is the beating heart of a mechanical watch movement. Traditionally, the balance spring is made of metal and as such, it is vulnerable to magnetic fields. Silicon on the other hand is not affected by magnetism. It is also considered more shock-resistant when compared to a regular balance spring.

Two Barrels

Besides a beating heart, a watch movement also needs a place to accumulate the energy. This is where the barrel & mainspring come in. While many manufactures opt to go for multiple barrels as to enlarge the power reserve, this is not the case with Omega – although the caliber 9300 has an over-average power reserve of 60h.

So what is the point if not the lengthen the power reserve? To increase the stability of the rate over an extended period of time. In an automatic movement, the barrel is traditionally fitted with a slip clutch as to prevent over winding. In Omega’s Two Barrel system, the first barrel is constructed in the style of a manual wind movement – sans slip clutch. The second can be considered a traditional barrel for automatic movement – with slip clutch. When the first one is ‘filled’ to the max, the second one takes over.

When winding down -in other words, when the watch is running-, it first uses the energy stored in the second barrel. When that energy is equal to that of the first barrel, both will start releasing their energy simultaneously. As such, the released energy will be at a constant level for an extended period of time, thus minimizing the loss of accuracy due to decreased torque.

Column Wheel

As everyone who has ever used a basic stopwatch knows, there are three fundamental chronographic functions: start, stop and reset. Inside the movement, these functions are controlled by either a column wheel or a so-called cam-switching.

Traditionally, a mechanical chronograph is fitted with a column wheel. Mostly due to the endless need to reduce costs and increase production, the cam-switching-system is the dominant style of today’s chronographs.

To be frank, each mechanism has its own merits. The cam-switch (as found in the caliber 861, 1861 and their siblings) has a very long life span and is very robust. It is also easier to assemble, which results in lower costs. In general it also reduces the height of the movement when compared to a column wheel movement.

The column wheel on the other hand is the traditional solution. The triggering of the various functions is generally considered to be smoother and more precise, which is it’s main advantage. Also, the column wheel is interesting from not only a mechanical but also an aesthetic point of view.

Vertical Coupling

A chronograph movement in its simplest form is based on a regular -time-only- movement. Only when the chronograph is engaged, the otherwise dormant timing functions are started by setting their gears in motion. The coupling of these functions can be achieved by moving a gear in either horizontal or vertical direction. The timing function is now coupled to the timekeeping function and will thus start to run.

The vertical coupling system has a few advantages: the start of the timing function is very smooth and sans ‘jump’ which often occurs movements fitted with a horizontal coupling. It is said to be more proof to wear, when using the chronograph on a regular basis. The decline in amplitude when the chronograph is engaged, as found in calibers with horizontal coupling, is much less, if not non-existent. However, the horizontal coupling is the traditional solution. As the change of gears happens in horizontal direction, it is much easier to observe – which can be a joy to behold.

Note: the caliber 9300 Speedmaster models were discontinued in 2017 in favor of the caliber 9900 versions.

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Press Release: BASELWORLD 2011 – The Co-Axial caliber 9300 / 9301

Omega Caliber 9300

Omega Caliber 9301

The OMEGA Co-Axial caliber 9300/9301 is the dramatic next step in the revolution in mechanical watchmaking that started in 1999 with OMEGA’s launch of the Co-Axial escapement. Not only does the new movement deliver superb timekeeping performance, it is the first of OMEGA’s exclusive in-house Co-Axial calibres to incorporate a chronograph function.

March 31st 2011 – read more below the gallery

The innovative column-wheel chronograph has 12-hour and 60-minute counter hands placed on the same subdial at 3 o’clock. This familiar arrangement of the hands, which recalls the hour and minute hands on the main dial, enables intuitive reading of the chronograph. It also has a central chronograph seconds hand and a small seconds hand on the sub-dial at 9 o’clock.

The two chronograph control pushers function totally independently – accordingly, there is no risk to the chronograph mechanism as a result of inadvertent manipulation.
Like OMEGA’s other in-house Co-Axial movements, the caliber 9300/9301 features a decorative pattern known as “Côtes de Genève in Arabesque”.

The movement’s time zone function means that the hour hand can be set without stopping the watch, an especially useful feature for travellers.

It is also equipped with a silicon balance spring. Silicon is non-magnetic so it is not influenced by magnetic fields. This quality combined with the excellent resilient coefficient of silicon allows the balance springs, which are etched on a silicon wafer, to deliver improved chronometric performance. Silicon also has a very low fatigue influence and ages slowly. The outstanding reliability delivered by the combination of Co-Axial technology and the silicon balance spring is such that OMEGA delivers its Co-Axial watches equipped with silicon balance springs with a full four-year warranty.

OMEGA’s Co-Axial escapement 
OMEGA’s launch of the Co-Axial escapement in 1999 put the horological world on notice. It was the first practical new watch escapement to be invented in some 250 years. The components in OMEGA’s Co-Axial escapement differ considerably from those of the Swiss lever escapement which had long been the industry’s mainstay: it consists of a balance roller carrying a pallet and an impulse pin, an anchor with three pallets, and a three-level coaxial escapement wheel comprising the co-axial wheel, the co-axial pinion and the transmission pinion, with which it is connected to the intermediary wheel and the gear train.

The Co-Axial advantages 
The main advantages of this design become clear when it is compared with the Swiss lever escapement.

With any watch escapement, energy must be transmitted to the oscillator; this energy maintains the oscillator’s frequency. The impulses in a Swiss lever escapement involve the wheel tooth sliding along the inclined surface of the pallet. This sliding movement generates considerable friction, making optimal lubrication vital if the escapement is to function correctly. In contrast, the OMEGA Co-Axial escapement transmits energy using lateral impulses. The smaller contact surfaces and the pushing motion, as opposed to the lever escapement’s sliding motion, significantly reduce the friction in the escapement; thus there is less wear and tear on the lubrication, resulting in longer service intervals.

Both clockwise and anti-clockwise impulses in a Swiss lever escapement are delivered indirectly from the escapement wheel through the anchor to the balance roller, resulting in an important loss of energy. The OMEGA Co-Axial escapement’s clockwise impulse is given directly to the pallet on the balance roller by the teeth of the escapement wheel. As a result, the Co-Axial escapement benefits from greater mechanical efficiency which ensures more stable precision.

The Co-Axial escapement and the free sprung-balance 
The OMEGA Co-Axial escapement is used in conjunction with a free sprung-balance. The timepiece’s rate can be adjusted by modifying the moment of inertia of the balance wheel instead of changing the active length of the hairspring via the index. This adjustment is made with gold micro screws embedded in the circular balance wheel. This construction with the Co-Axial escapement and the free sprung-balance improves shock resistance and avoids disturbances.

While certain benefits of the OMEGA Co-Axial escapement will be readily apparent, others take more time to appreciate, including longer service intervals and an outstanding chronometric performance which will be maintained over a longer period of time.

A chronograph for the 21st century
The Co-Axial caliber 9300/9301 carries on OMEGA’s commitment to the innovative technology it first introduced in 1999. With its column-wheel chronograph function, its outstanding reliability and a four-year warranty, it fulfils the promise made by English watchmaker George Daniels, the inventor of the Co-Axial escapement. He said that Co-Axial technology would “extend the popularity of mechanical watches into the 21st century and beyond.”