Omega At the PGA Championship with Omega
WorldTempus spoke with Omega CEO Raynald Aeschlimann at the 2018 PGA Championship in St. Louis.
“Golf has been one of the pillars of our sport strategy,” says Omega President and CEO Raynald Aeschlimann, in the brand’s hospitality “chalet” at last weekend’s 100th PGA Championship in St. Louis. Indeed, the brand has sponsored golf events around the world for more than three decades. “It’s not only a question of target audience,” he adds. “It’s about being close to the emotion of the people during the moment when they are linked with golf—whether they play, watch it on television, or come here.”
On Saturday, Omega’s VIP guests had a chance to play. They were invited to take a golf clinic at Norwood Hills Country Club with Hank Haney, friend of the brand and a legendary golf coach who formerly worked with Tiger Woods. The lesson was followed by a round of golf before returning to Bellerive Country Club for lunch in Omega’s suite overlooking the 10th fairway.
Another way that Omega taps into that emotional connection is with its golf ambassadors, which include Sergio Garcia, Rory McIlroy, and Tommy Fleetwood. Omega’s guests had the chance to cheer on McIlroy and Fleetwood as they shot for the 10th green.
Last year, the brand launched two Aqua Terra Golf editions dedicated to Garcia (black dial with green accents) and McIlroy (white dial with orange accents) on sporty striped NATO straps.
Aqua Terra Golf Rory McIllroy and Aqua Terra Golf Sergio Garcia © Omega
And during this year’s PGA Championship, Omega unveiled its latest Ryder Cup Aqua Terra with a white dial accented with red and fitted with a blue rubber strap. Like last year’s golf models, it is powered by the Master Chronometer Calibre 8900 movement, meeting the highest standards of precision and performance, as approved by the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology (METAS).
The 43rd edition of the biennial competition between U.S. and European golfers will take place next month in Paris. Omega serves as official timekeeper when the Ryder Cup takes place in the U.S. and outfits the U.S. team. Fleetwood and McIlroy are expected to play for the Europeans, so Omega watches will be represented on both sides.
Aeschlimann underscores that Omega’s ambassadors have a genuine passion for the brand, and he refers to them as part of the family. “It was important, for example with Sergio, not only to have a number one player, but to have a personality who shares our values of being a brand of achievers, a brand that is also a bit different from the others,” he says, adding that McIlroy has taken the time to visit Omega’s headquarters to see the watchmakers in action. “The family is growing, but it’s a family of people who care as much as we care for them. It’s not only about signing another one and saying, ‘Okay, you’re next.’”
Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia, Tommy Fleetwood © Omega
Olympic swimming champion and Omega ambassador Michael Phelps also made an appearance at the event, joining the brand’s guests for dinner and spectating on Sunday. Omega has been the official timekeeper for the Olympic Games 28 times since 1932.
“We have the Olympic Games but being here and having the opportunity to work with this incredible PGA—people who also want to grow the sport—is a rare opportunity for us to show our commitment to golf and our commitment to a worldwide Major,” says Aeschlimann. “I prefer to be a big player in a few sports. We like athletics—we like swimming, and we like golf.”
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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