What is Axial – Troubleinthepeace

What is a Co-Axial Escapement? Who was it created by, and why only Omega uses it in its movements, find out with Watch Hospital.

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The idea of ​​creating an escapement with higher performance arose about 40 years ago. It is cherished by the genius mind of a British master craftsman who has managed to become one of the greatest watchmakers of the 20th century. After many attempts to find an escapement will work better than a lever escapement. George Daniels eventually designed the “Co-Axial” escapement. This superb escapement is now the heart of most Omega watches and is a key element in meeting the unsurpassed quality requirements set forth by the brand.


Undoubtedly, the Escapement is one of the most important parts of a watch. It can be considered the brain of the watch movement because of its importance, or some see it as the heart of the watch. It is the part that controls the energy released from the mainspring. It works in conjunction with the oscillator and generates pulses to power the active oscillator, which in turn is regulated by the oscillator. Its role is very important in the quest to increase the accuracy, stability and greater durability of the watch movement.



The lever escapement, used in the vast majority of watches, was invented about 250 years ago by Thomas Mudge. Although it has been universally adopted, it has one small drawback: OIL. Its sliding friction makes lubrication necessary, and it affects the stability of the clock speed over time. Over the years, the development of new escapements has once again been seen as new limits that a watchmaker must overcome – a tribute to the most skilled and innovative watchmakers. .

However, this field of study really began about 50 years ago, when George Daniels questioned the superiority of lever escapements. After much effort, he successfully developed the Co-Axial escapement, a superb escapement that showcases craftsmanship to the extreme. Today, the Co-axial escapement – ​​his brainchild is the only other escapement product manufactured on an industrial scale, of course, it is still a lever escapement.


George Daniels has been to Switzerland many times to present his invention to several brands. At the time, the watch industry was undergoing a true revolution with the arrival of electronics and quartz being seen as the future of watchmaking. He first produced drawings of his escapement in a pocket watch, but without success. Fortunately, Daniels was not one to give up easily, he continued to persuade and was agreed.

The first application of Co-Axial escapement in wristwatches dates back to 1974/75, when George Daniels hand-manufactured the components to fit his Co-Axial escapement into the Omega Speedmaster Mark 4.5 movement. his personal possession – a piece of history, is now on display at the Omega Museum in Biel. He created a second wristwatch prototype (a thinner wristwatch) and he again introduced it to some of the most famous Swiss brands.



However, it was only in the early 1990s that Daniels found support and had the Co-Axial escapement developed and manufactured on an industrialized scale by Omega, a historic, well-established brand. unique in the field of chronographs. However, the ultimate determining factor of this success lies in the personal support of Nicolas G. Hayek, Chairman of Omega’s parent company – The Swatch Group, a group that produces the Swiss watch industry.

First Co-Axial Movement Into Caliber 2500

The first movement to be commercialized with a Co-Axial escapement was the Caliber 2500, marketed in 1999 as a specific watch, the refreshed De Ville. Since then, Omega has introduced the Co-Axial Escapement into nearly all of its collections – with the exception of the remarkable Speedmaster Moonwatch, which has remained virtually unchanged from the precision standards set by NASA approved in 1965, including its movements (Caliber 321, later Caliber 861 and Caliber 1861).


The original Caliber 2500 was a modified ETA 2892 movement and fitted with a Co-Axial escapement (still with 28,800vph oscillator), while the Omega Co-Axial chronograph introduced in 2003 was based on the movement. Frederic Piguet. However, Omega soon worked on developing its own purpose-built calibers to fully optimize the potential of Co-Axial technology. Among other improvements, space for the escapement has been made, to optimize the kinematic chain and introduce some of the latest technical advancements from the brand.

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Some Small Improvements to Increase the Performance of Co-Axial Escape Powder

Interestingly, the 8500 and 8520 series movements run at a rather strange frequency (25200 oscillations per hour) determined by Omega to be optimal. The same goes for the Caliber 2500, although it was initially introduced with a frequency of 28800vph. 8800 runs at 25200 vph. Finally, the Chronograph 9300 series runs at 28,800 vph. Naturally, the Co-Axial movements incorporated Omega’s latest advances and technical innovations when they were introduced.



Silicon Technology – used for hairsprings (Si14). The aim is to take advantage of silicon’s magnetic resistance, as well as its stability and resilience. That makes the manufacturing precision and perfect geometry of the Silicon filament so outstanding.

Anti-magnetic technology – especially the pivot (balance wheel support point) made of NivaGauss, the shock absorber system (Nivachoc) made of good elastic material, etc.

Gold Sedna – a new gold alloy that is a combination of gold, copper and palladium. This is Omega’s exclusive, super-durable rose gold material.

Mainspring box – the inner surface of the barrel is coated with a layer of DLC (diamond-like carbon surface- a super-smooth material)

Certifications – COSC certified (currently for all Co-Axial movements). Magnetic resistance certification. METAS certification.


Omega’s meticulousness in quality finishing is extremely high

The Co-Axial production line in the Villeret shows a lot of the quality meticulousness at Omega. Forget about the independent watchmaker appeal here for the moment (although this is a good thing this is not the aim of a brand like Omega). Advanced manufacturing technology and processes are used throughout to ensure optimum quality, consistent performance with tolerances and strict Omega requirements. Therefore, it can be said that the co-axial machines achieve very high performance, which is really one of Omega’s foundational movements.


Omega extends its warranty to 3 to 5 years

This allows Omega to offer an industry-average 3-year warranty on their watches with Co-Axial escapements and a 5-year warranty on a Si14 hairspring model and on the 8500/8501 movements. .

Despite possessing a modern line in the production process, there is still considerable craftsmanship about the machine. The finishing touches of the movements are truly beautiful and refined with special features such as Geneva waves with arabesque patterns radiating from the center of the movements or golden splashes. Full balance bridge on deluxe versions (used for gold/precious metal watches).

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So Watch Hospital introduced you to an invention of George Daniels, a great invention and only Omega Brand can really optimize in its movements. No brand dared to change to fit the Co-Axial Escapement except Omega.

You can read more articles about: How is Hairspring Made?


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