Ryder Cup Rivalry: Rolex vs. OMEGA
Watches and watchmakers have long been a part of the sport of golf. Rolex was one of the first brands to build a strategic partnership within the golf community. It began in 1967 with Arnold Palmer and has continued to expand for more than 50 years. By 2010, Rolex was serving as the Official Timekeeper for the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open, The Open Championship, LPGA, and PGA of America. A year later, that changed. OMEGA partnered with the PGA of America in 2011, adding fuel to the rivalry with Rolex. Learn more about OMEGA’s official entry into the world of golf and their work with the Ryder Cup over the years.
Official Timekeeper OMEGA Commemorates the Ryder Cup
OMEGA’s partnership with the PGA of America marked their official entry into the world of golf. The brand had long supported the sport internationally. They served as the title sponsor of events like the European Masters and Dubai Desert Classic. However, OMEGA’s deal with the PGA of America offered them something more. In addition to the designation as “Official Timekeeper,” it aligned the brand with the world’s largest sports organization, one comprised of nearly 30,000 athletes. They initially signed a five-year contract, carrying through to 2016. However, their work together continues today.
Together, OMEGA and the PGA of America launched their partnership with the PGA Championship at the Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek, Georgia in August 2011. It continued the following year with both the PGA Championship and the biennial Ryder Cup. In addition, OMEGA further expanded their work with the sport and the Ryder Cup by tapping the 2012 U.S. team captain, Davis Love III, as a brand ambassador. They commemorated the partnership by gifting Love a custom OMEGA Seamaster Aqua Terra “Captain’s Watch.” Other members of the team received a similar special edition model that OMEGA also made available to the public. This began a longstanding tradition of commemorative models for the Ryder Cup.
Limited Edition Seamaster Aqua Terra “Ryder Cup” Watches
The inaugural special edition Ryder Cup model was the Seamaster Aqua Terra 150M OMEGA Co-Axial. As the name suggests, this 41.5mm model houses the brand’s Co-Axial Caliber 8500 movement. It features a silicon balance spring and chronometer certification along with a 60-hour power reserve. You can see it in all its glory through the transparent caseback. From a design standpoint, this OMEGA Ryder Cup limited edition showcases a rather monochrome color scheme. It features a stainless steel construction and silver Teak Concept dial. However, the model gets subtle red and blue accents on the hands and indices in the competition’s signature colors. In addition, the watch features a date function at the three-o’clock position and boasts water resistance up to 150 meters. All in all, OMEGA didn’t specifically optimize the model for the green. However, they believe the watch is robust enough to withstand regular play.
The Ryder timekeeper made subsequent editions, building on the original with subtle updates. The next came in 2016, this time with two OMEGA Ryder Cup limited edition models. This year, they made one for men and one for women. Both watches showcase a similar color scheme as the 2012 edition, with blue hour and minute hands. However, OMEGA has added a pop of gold with an 18-karat yellow gold seconds hand. In addition, they replaced the Teak Concept dial with two new textures. The men’s variation features a unique dimpled pattern resembling the texture of a golf ball. Alternatively, the ladies’ version boasts a mother of pearl dial laser-engraved with the Ryder Cup logo. The men’s model maintains the same 41.5mm construction while the ladies’ is smaller at 34mm. In addition, the ladies’ model features diamond indices, and the date function is repositioned at the six-o’clock position. Inside, you’ll find the upgraded OMEGA Master Co-Axial Caliber 8520 movement. Lastly, the brand offers the option of a blue-coated nylon strap with white stitching as an alternative to the bracelet.
Two years later, the brand welcomed another OMEGA Ryder Cup limited edition model. The watch features a similar 41mm construction and color scheme with the hues of the Ryder Cup logo. This time, the Ryder timekeeper revives similar styling to the original Teak Concept dial. It showcases wider horizontal stripes that create depth and texture. In addition, they’ve relocated the date window to the six-o’clock position. Likely, the biggest design update is the band. This time, the model features a sporty yet structured blue rubber strap with 18-karat yellow gold end links. Inside, OMEGA has made another upgrade in the form of the Master Chronometer Caliber 8900 movement with METAS certification. Once again, it’s visible through the sapphire caseback. However, this time, the exhibition caseback is coated with a 24-karat gold Ryder Cup logo.
The 2020 Ryder Cup Matches will take place in the month of September. This year, the U.S. will host the event on the Straits course at Whistling Straits in Haven, Wisconsin. The brand has yet to release a new OMEGA Ryder Cup limited edition model to commemorate the occasion. However, the year is still young.