Pictures courtesy of Omega
As one of the world’s most sought after watch brands, Omega has no problem attracting high profile names to front its campaigns. Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne (picture above) is the latest celebrity to become an Omega ambassador, joining a star-studded list including Daniel Craig, George Clooney, Nicole Kidman and Cindy Crawford.
However, as any keen sailor will know, the Swiss watchmaker has historically had a strong connection to the sea, particularly in its long-standing sponsorship of the America’s Cup Team New Zealand. Click through to see our pick of the top sailors who have made Omega their watch of choice.
Omega’s association with Team New Zealand began back in 1995 when skipper Peter Blake, often thought to be the world’s most famous sailor, became an ambassador for the brand. Blake led his team to victory in the same year, which Omega celebrated by releasing a special edition Seamaster Peter Blake watch. After he retired from professional racing, Omega continued to support Blake’s Blakexpeditions projects – and he in turn named his boat The Seamaster – until his tragic death in 2001.
Skipper Dean Barker picked up Sir Peter Blake’s mantle, not only at Team New Zealand, but also as an Omega ambassador and advocate for oceanic health. Barker worked with Omega from 2001 through to the 34th America’s Cup in 2013, during which time he led his team to a second place finish at the 2011-2012 America’s Cup and Omega launched a limited edition Seamaster Diver ENTZ watch to celebrate the America’s Cup in San Francisco.
Another member of Team New Zealand, who sailed alongside Peter Blake and Dean Barker, Russell Coutts served as an Omega ambassador during the RC-44 series in 2005. At the time Coutts was dominating the sailing circuit, having won the previous three editions of the America’s Cup and becoming the first person to have 14 consecutive individual race victories.
Omega spotted the potential in solo yachtswoman Dame Ellen MacArthur early on, signing her as an ambassador three years before she broke the world record for solo round-the-world-sailing in February 2005. Omega also served as the official timekeeper for this expedition, which MacArthur completed in just 71 days, 14 hours, 18 minutes and 33 seconds. MacArthur remained an Omega ambassador until 2007, in which time she won the Laureus Alternative Sports award and was named the ISAF Woman Sailor of the Year, Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year and narrowly missed out on BBC Sports Personality of the Year (coming second only to David Beckham).
Most recently Omega has turned its attention to the health of our oceans by working with the GoodPlanet Foundation established by filmmaker Yann Arthus-Bertrand. In 2011 Omega supported Arthus-Bertrand and Micheal Pitiot in producing Planet Ocean, a documentary film uncovering the beauty of the oceans, the challenges facing marine ecosystems because of human actions and highlighting the ways in which we can halt this damage. The film was debuted at the Earth Summit in Rio in 2012 and has since been viewed over 1.5 million times in eight different languages on YouTube.