The world of watch advertising knows many famous associations: Brad Pitt and Tiger Woods with Tag Heuer, David Duchovny with Baume-et-Mercier, John Travolta with Breitling, Nico Rosberg with Oris, Roger Federer with Maurice Lacroix and later on with Rolex and that is just to name a few. In many cases one could ask himself what do the brand and the person have in common? Did Roger Federer use to wear a Maurice Lacroix in the tennis court or in his own private time for instance? And if so, why?
Luckily, one fantastic exception is the bond Michael Schumacher and Omega.
This "connection" goes all the way back to 1995. I cannot name one particular reason but if I think Michael Schumacher I could not possibly think of any other watch brand but Omega. Could you imagine Schumacher advertising for Rolex? way too flashy! Breitling? it's for actor-pilots, Tag Heuer? for actor-actors. Or maybe for Zenith, JLC, Vacheron Constantin, Breguet or Patek Philippe? well...not so much in common with Formula 1 nor with the personality of Schumacher. But I can actually imagine Schumacher wearing an Omega while driving, horse riding, playing football or simply relaxing away from the noise. This couple for sure doesn't look fake in my eyes! Not to mention that the Speedmaster line from Omega allready existed since the beginning of times, which better speedmaster could you think of?
So let's take a closer look at this story.
Four years after his first Formula One Grand Prix victory (Belgium, 1991) Schumacher became Omega's ambassador. The first watch associated with the Michael Schumacher edition is the 1996 Speedmaster with acrylic (hesalite) glass and with red, yellow or blue dials and straps. The movement is the Omega caliber 1141 base ETA 2890-02. This watch looks to me more like an adapted and colourful Speedmaster Moonwatch (homage to the 1969 Omega - first watch to the moon) than a true Schumacher edition. In fact this 1996 Speedmaster, although generic named "Omega Schumacher", does not have the name nor the signature on it.
The first genuine Schumacher collection begins with the 2000's limited edition of 6000 pieces. This model is indeed engraved with Michael's Schumacher signature and the edition number. The movement is Omega caliber 3220 base ETA 2892-A2 Dubois-Depraz.
From now on, all Schumacher Omegas are engraved with a signature, have a saphire crystal and are limited to a certain number of pieces.
The 2001 edition is limited to 11111 pieces and uses the Omega movement 1152 base ETA-Valjoux 7750.
In 2002, to celebrate the winning of the 5th Formula 1 World Title, Omega issues the Schumacher Speedmaster day-date model limited to 5555 pieces and housing the Omega 1151 caliber base ETA-Valjoux 7750.
2003 brings the 6th world title for Michael Schumacher and a new "Schumacher" Omega. This time it gets more exquisite and is only available in red gold. The movement is Omega caliber 3303 based on caliber 1185 from Frédéric Piguet.
and the watch
Finally, the year 2008 brings the last of the Schumacher Omegas, and the last Speedmaster "The Legend". The watch has a co-axial chronograph Omega 3313 caliber, essentially the same Frederic Piquet caliber 1185 based movement from the Caliber 3303 with the Co-Axial escapement added.
As you can see there are a lot of Schumacher Omega models. Some of them are trully Schumacher limited editions and some were just advertised by Omega together with the photo of Schumacher. And this whole thing is kind of annoying. Since Michael Schumacher is really one you could expect ONE limited edition, ok maybe two including the "Legend" let's say. But now you have so many Schumacher Omega that the whole purpose seems a little bit spoiled for me. Another annoying aspect is that all models use modified calibers either ETA either Frederic Piquet. I mean the best sportsman of all times would have deserved an "in-house" movement, let's say the "Schumacher caliber".
In 2006 when Schumacher announced his "retirement" he had gathered an amazing total of: 248 Formula One starts, 68 pole positions, 91 victories, 154 podiums and of course 7 Formula One World Drivers Championship titles. And the show still goes on.