Omega Olivier Keller and his Omega Seamaster
Police Commissioner Olivier Keller, a former diver, has always felt a strong affinity with Omega.
“I’ve been interested in watches since I turned 18, when I started having a little bit of money to spend. But I had to save up for four years for my first one, which I bought myself when I completed my police training.” As a Swiss, and a diver, Olivier Keller was obviously keen that this first milestone should be marked with a diving watch – one that was automatic, and Swiss. After doing some research, he quickly came to realise that the Omega Seamaster 300 Automatic Professional Diver came the closest to what he was looking for, on his budget. “I fell for it immediately, and not only because I’d seen James Bond wearing one!”
© WorldTempus/Edouard Haegi
A memorable dive
But the history of Olivier Keller’s diving watch has almost as many plot twists as one of 007’s adventures. While preparing for a “table dive” (using decompression tables rather than a dive computer) in Lake Geneva, when we was working for the Brigade du Lac (the lake police), he left his watch on top of his oxygen tank while putting on his diving suit. But he forgot to put it back on his wrist. The Omega Seamaster followed the tank into the water, but, not being attached, it soon drifted free and sank. “Because I was concentrating on my dive charts I didn’t notice until I’d finished and was getting dressed. I had an awful moment of realisation!” Back in his diving gear, with his diving itinerary and perimeter burned into his mind, the distracted Seamaster owner set off optimistically for the bottom of Lake Geneva, off the shore of Hermance. But, no luck. He refused to give up hope, and started asking other divers. Two experienced women divers soon emerged from the water like mermaids, and returned his precious watch to him. “Since that incident which, luckily for me, had a happy ending, I have had the backs of all my watches engraved, either with my initials and birth date, or my licence number.” Taking the customisation even further, Olivier Keller also asked a watchmaker to swap the blue dial for a black one.
Omega, synonymous with quality
For his 30th birthday he kept the faith with Omega, and bought himself a dressier, more classic watch, an Omega De Ville. For his 40th birthday he was given another luxury watch, made by another brand known for its ties with the diving community. “My next one will probably be the Omega Seamaster Ploprof, because I love the way it looks. In my opinion, Omega conveys an image of quality. That might also be because my mother worked as a regulator for Omega, when the brand was based in Geneva.” While he was group leader of the Brigade du Lac, Olivier Keller worked on producing a commemorative series for the brigade’s 50th anniversary. He had many discussions with Omega, which has a history of working with army and police forces in these kinds of occasional collaborations. Although the project ultimately fell through, he has good memories of that time. For someone who considers themselves authentic, honest, simple and humane, this positive perception of the brand is very important.
© WorldTempus/Edouard Haegi
A budding novelist, perhaps?
As a police commissioner, he appreciates the diversity of his work, the human contact, the freedom to take decisions, and the ability to discuss the situation on the ground, and develop an understanding of events. His rank of captain brings him into contact with every police department, both his own and the border guards, the crime unit and the city police. He has also served his time in different services, at the station and as an elite marksman, but mostly with the Brigade du Lac, where he worked for 16 years, and which left a strong impression on him. “It’s humanly enriching, physically demanding and sometimes psychologically difficult, particularly in drowning cases, but overall I have good memories of it.” He is always open to possibilities, and went back to the University of Fribourg to take a course in religious extremism. “It’s interesting to challenge yourself by seeking out the perspective of people whose views you don’t share.” As a fan of crime novels, he got in touch with the Swiss author of a book bought for him by his wife, “Le dragon de Muveran”, which he particularly enjoyed. Marc Voltenauer and he got on so well that the author asked him to read his latest novel, “Qui a tué Heidi?” to ensure that the police investigations were credibly portrayed. Olivier Keller is now consulting on a third novel, due to be released next year. He is self-deprecating: “When I was a boy, I wanted to work on Jacques Cousteau’s Calypso. I had to settle for the Rudevent and the Rivolin, the motor launches used by the Brigade de Lac!” But he is above all a family man, and what matters most to him are his children and family, his friends and his social circle. “That’s what keeps me going. I love the idea that my fine watches will pass down to my three children one day.” But not for quite some time, obviously.
© WorldTempus/Edouard Haegi
A company of the Swatch Group, OMEGA has been behind major revolutions in watchmaking technology and the timekeeping of numerous Olympic Games. Its watches are worn by world-famous celebrities and have travelled to the moon, the depths of the ocean and everywhere in between.Find out more >
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