We covered news of Omega's anti-magnetic 8508 calibre when it was announced back in January. The movement was shown fitted in an Omega Aqua Terra model which is now available for purchase as the Omega Aqua Terra >15,000 Gauss. Using a special version of Omega's co-axial 8500 series, the >15,000 Gauss is the world's first completely anti-magnetic watch. While other brands have a long history of producing magnetic-resistant watches like the Rolex Milgauss or the IWC Ingenieur, Omega's solution is not to shield the movement but rather to produce the movement using non-ferrous materials.
Capable of withstanding magnetic fields in excess of 15,000 Gauss (1.5 Tesla), thanks to the construction of the movement, the AT >15,000 Gauss (ref 126.96.36.199.01.022) comes fitted with a sapphire display case back, a design not possible in magnetically-shielded watches. The 8508 is otherwise a very recognizable member of the calibre 8500 family, with automatic winding, a co-axial escapement, 60 hours of power reserve and Omega's Si14 silicon balance spring. This technologically advanced movement design is the result of a partnership between Omega, ETA, Asulab and Nivarox FAR.
Magnetism is a huge factor in the accurate performance of a watch and demagnetization is a common step when servicing a watch. The >15,000 Gauss is capable of withstanding a 15,000 gauss magnetic field without losing the ability to maintain COSC timing. While anti-magnetism may be a passive feature, it is a big innovation in movement design and Omega is so happy with this new movement that they plan on implementing the technology into all of their watches by 2017.
The Omega Aqua Terra >15,000 Gauss sports a steel 41.5mm case and its recognizable, teak-style black dial has a yellow lacquer treatment that is very subtle but works well with the yellow dial accents and distinctive seconds hand. It's hard not to like the Aqua Terra design and, much like the green AT Golf, I like the splash of color added to the >15,000 Gauss version.
On wrist, you'd have no idea that this version is technically any different from any other 41.5mm steel Omega Aqua Terra, aside from the inclusion of a bracelet with polished center links. While not specifically limited, the Omega Aqua Terra >15,000 Gauss with its $6600 USD price tag ($100 less on a brown leather strap) will likely be one of the rarer Omega Aqua Terra variants of this generation and it is a noteworthy evolution point on Omega's watchmaking timeline. omegawatches.com