Technical

What is Omega’s Naiad Lock? — Water Nymph or Baby Dragonfly?

Click to scroll down
0
100
Omega’s solution to the problem of misaligned text that you have probably never thought about.

Imagine this, you've spent hours crafting your beautiful divers watch. It’s case back polished to perfection, beautifully engraved and decorated. Then, with bated breath, you start to screw it onto the case.

Turn after turn it gets tighter, increasing in water resistance as you go. Until finally, it stops, reaching the end of the thread. You look down, and a tear falls from your loupe'd eye as you realise the Omega logo is off-centre by 10mm. The Swiss perfectionist in you wants to scream. “Pourquoi” you cry as you sob into the sleeves of your white coat.

Back to the drawing board, you think, as you throw your tenth case back in the bin.

That’s a little dramatic, I know, but it’s what I imagine lead to the creation of The Naiad Lock, Omega’s solution to the problem of misaligned text that you have probably never thought about.

The Omega Naiad Lock
The Naiad Lock

Have you ever noticed that most brands don’t have an obvious ‘up’ position for their case backs? Look at Rolex, for example. They are blank. 'It’s for aesthetics', I hear you say. Nope, it’s because you’re not allowed to scream in Geneva.

What Is Naiad Lock, And Why Does It Exist?

The Naiad Lock is a fastening system from Omega that ensures water resistance while making sure the case back is oriented perfectly every time.
Let's dive into the details. Warning, we are about to get nerdy.

Aesthetics

A screw down case back makes it nearly impossible to have any decorative markings orient the same way every time. The tolerances are too small in a screw thread to have them end in the same position each time. “But Mitch!” I hear you say, “The screw heads on a Royal Oak are all orientated perfectly!” And to that, I would say, “You’re Wrong!”

The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak
Misaligned Case Screws

Well, you’re right and wrong. Yes, they are all perfectly aligned, but what look like screw heads on the bezel are actually the heads of the bolts. Fixed into octagonal counter sinks flush with the bezel. The threaded part is actually on the back of the watch. Myth Busted.

Material considerations

Omega's use of ceramic case backs necessitated a rethink of the sealing process. Traditionally, dive watches like the Submariner for example, would have screwed down backs. This would allow the watch to achieve the desired water resistance required. However, the problem with ceramic materialsis the potential of breakage with the high linear force required to screw them in. Ceramic is an incredibly durable material in one dimension (scratching), but it’s prone to breaking with high torsional or impact stress.

The Omega Seamaster
Ceramic case back on an Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean

Omega could have gone the easy route not put any markings on the case back like their lazier counterparts, but watchmaking at its core Is about innovating for innovation’s sake. Make it perfect or don’t do it all, I say.

How does Naiad Lock work?

It’s basically a light bulb…
No, seriously. Back in the 90s, when we had to change the old incandescent light bulbs all the time, there were two different types of connectors. Screw and bayonet.
It’s the one with the two little pegs coming out the side that I’m referring to here. The Bayonet was the bulb that you would push in, and do a half turn to lock it into place.

A bayonet fitting
You Get the idea....

At its most basic, the Naiad lock works like a bayonet fitting. You insert it into the case, and by applying rotational force, it tightens and locks itself. Like a really shallow screw thread with a spot at the end for some ‘pegs’ to latch into. This system allows Omega to manufacture thousands of case backs and have them all lock into place in exactly the same position.
In theory, this also eliminates the risk of cross threading, making it easier for the watchmakers to remove and replace the case backs. I see this ‘user-friendliness’ coming up a lot in Omega’s engineering recently. See the ‘Spirate’ system here.

What does Naiad mean?

A Naiad (from the Greek word ‘naiein’ which means ‘to flow’), is the mythological nymph of flowing water. These female spirits would preside over fountains, springs, and other moving bodies of fresh water, dancing gracefully along the banks.

A Naiad
"Are you alright mate?" Says a Naiad to a man who's had a rough night on the ye old town

Along with the hippocampus, Omega’s use of ‘Naiad’ is another nod to Ancient Greek mythology. I think it fits perfectly with the device that bears its name. Managing the flow of water, and ensuring the beauty and symmetry of the case backs.
Although the word can also be used to describe an immature dragonfly, I've chosen to run with the above, it’s more romantic that way. The Naiad Lock is the water Nymph of the watch world.
I appreciate Omega for always pushing the boundaries of innovation, it’s rare that a brand at this price point has the resources and the motivation to do so. Although they do heavily rely on their history, their commitment to future forward details is impressive.

Cya in the next one x

A Star to indicare popular posts
POpular