Omega Chronostop Geneve Collection Chronograph Ref 146.012 Italian Market 1970
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It’s easy to find articles about the “classic” vintage watches, such as the Speedmaster, Submariner, Zenith El Primero, or Heuer Autavia. I thought it would be interesting to explore one of Omega’s least remembered and most misunderstood watches: the Chronostop.
Echoes of the Speedmaster
Despite the low price, the Chronostop was a premium model. The watch’s movement seemed simple, but it was a high-accuracy, high-beat, high-quality engine, essentially a simpler version of the movement that powered the Speedmaster. Omega used two movements for its Chronostop models: the cal.920 (with a date), and the cal.865 (no date). Both manual-wind movements had 17 jewels, run at a rapid 21,600 Bph, and were used only on the Chronostop.
The cal.865 movement was introduced in 1966 and Omega used that model for 124,000 Chronostops. The cal.920 movement appeared in 1968 and was used for 61,000 watches.
The Chronostop was well-regarded within the watch industry: the watch won the 1967 Honor Prize for “Chronographs and Sport Watches” in the competition sponsored by the Swiss Watchmaking Federation to boost creativity. The Chronostop also took the first prize for Industrial Aesthetics at the Utrecht Spring Fair in 1968.
An official Olympic timer
Even though the Chronostop featured only one measurement function, it was selected as the official Omega timer at the Pan-American Games in Winnipeg and the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico. Available in olive green, red, white, and blue, the Mexico Olympics versions of the watch used the cal.920 movement with the date function and included dial-matching leather straps.
Omega made the Chronostop in four different shapes and sizes. I prefer the design of the large, cushion-case Chronostop, especially the models with rotating inner bezels. These bezels feature fixed tachymeters, pulsemeters, telemeters, decimal scales, or even 60-minute diving timers. The Regatta has a 60-0 scale with the last ten minutes marked in blue and red. The Pilot’s scale has numerals graduated in pairs from 12-24, 1-13 and 2-14 onwards to show the time in 24 and 12 hour time zones. With such colorful trim, this watch has acquired the nickname, “the Roulette.” In 1970, Omega relisted a Chronostop model made specifically for the Italian market; this variation had a roundish “UFO” Omega Dynamic case and used the same integrated strap system.
Using the stopwatch
To be honest, the Chronostop is not the most functional chronograph ever made, but at least it is fun to use. The orange second hand for the stopwatch is started by pressing the single pusher, then pressed again and held to freeze the hand and read the seconds. Release the pusher and the hand fly back to 12 o’clock zero.
Despite the limitations of the Chronostop, some people found a good use for the specialized stopwatch: doctors and nurses used the timer to take patients’ pulses, and engineers and technicians working with production lines found the feature to be handy.
The Chronostop will be remembered for its unique place in the Omega line; it continues to appeal to collectors interested in its specialized functions.
Fantastic Vintage Omega Chronostop Italian Market ref. 146.012 with Caliber 920 Manual Wind Movement. Original Integrated bracelet with Original Dial, Hands, Movement, etc…The Plexiglass crystal is an Omega service crystal…OEM Omega but not the original…Great looking & mechanically sound!!
MODEL: Chronostop Date – Geneve – 1970 Italian Market Model Ref 146.012
MOVEMENT: Swiss Manual Wind – Caliber.920
CASE: Stainless Steel
DIAL: Silver Dial
CONDITION: Pre owned – Vintage 1970
BOXES/PAPERS: Omega Service Travel Case – Everything in pictures
WATER RESISTANCE: – 150m – Vintage
STRAP/BRACELET: – Original Omega Stainless Steel Integrated Bracelet with all links.
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