During recent research I came across an interesting and unusual project Omega seems to be working on: a wristwatch with luminous indexes illuminated through the dial by a light source powered by an electrical energy source. And it’s activated by the bezel!
Geeking out is fun. And when I have exhausted all my usual resources, at times I browse through patent databases to try and find that one bit of information that can tip off what the manufacturers are working on. Many of these patents are hardly worth reporting on. They cover only mildly interesting bits like clasp designs, they are too technical or they are backdated. But earlier I came across this interesting bit of innovation that I thought is worth sharing. And while I’m not at all sure that we’ll see anything like this at BaselWorld 2017, I hope at least a few of you will enjoy getting in on this tech at this early stage, only to find out later how it will be incorporated in real world watches.
The original patent can be found by clicking HERE.
So, what are we looking at in these images? In the abstract, Omega defines it:
Wristwatch comprising a watch case (1), a bezel (4) mounted rotatably on the watch case (1) and a dial (8) fitted with at least one luminous index (12a-12e), said luminous index (12a-12e) being illuminated through the dial (8) by at least one light source (28) arranged under the dial (8) and supplied by an electrical energy source (54), an activation component (72) of the light source (28) being housed in the rotating bezel (4) and engaging with a detection component (76) housed in the watch casing (1), the activation component (72) being arranged such that, in a determined position of the rotating bezel (4), the presence of same is detected by the detection component (76), the detection component (76) then transmitting an electrical signal which is addressed to a microprocessor circuit (46) housed in the watch case (1), the microprocessor circuit (46) transmitting, in response to reception of the electrical signal sent by the detection component (76), an electrical signal which orders the switching on of the light source (28) for a determined period of time.
So basically what we’re looking at is a Omega Seamaster 300, whose ‘sandwich’ style dial is illuminated using a light source located below the top layer – in the present construction specifically the markers at 12, 3, 6 and 9. The light is activated by some kind of action involving the bezel; most likely rotating it. It is my understanding that the bezel is ‘connected’ to the electrical part through special magnets and magnetic sensors. And this is probably the most interesting part, as it opens up a whole new range of possible functions for which to use the bezel – for instance, Omega itself imagines us turning off an alarm or opening a car using a combination of NFC and this bezel tech. How 007.
It’s a brave new world!
Again, the original patent can be found by clicking HERE. If anyone being either more technical or better in French than me has additional insights / corrections, I’d love to hear it!
Next up – Omega’s telescopic hands?!