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WATCH REVIEW Omega De Ville Hour Vision

Editor's opinion
71.5 / 100
The gigantic success of the Speedmaster and the Planet Ocean would make us almost forget about the rest of the Omega catalog. Today, let's focus on the De Ville Hour Vision and its 8501 Caliber.
Straight to the Point

Omega De Ville Hour Vision

Ref.: 431.
$13,500.00 US retail price April 25th, 2011
  • a great success esthetically
  • an innovating caliber and a great overall technical achievement
  • the stocky case middle made of sapphire crystal breaks the continuity of the design, and ultimately doesn’t reveal anything very interesting
  • the electronic circuitry look on the dial could have been toned down a bit
Brand Omega
Model name
De Ville Hour Vision
Case material
Red gold 18 carats
Case diameter (without crown)
41 mm
Case diameter (crown included)
44.08 mm
Movement type
Cal. Omega 8501
Base Caliber
Cal. Omega 8500
Hour (GMT setting)
Single-face crystal with anti-reflective coating
Power reserve
Transparent back
Lug width
20.20 mm
Length from lug to lug
49.57 mm
Case thickness
12.47 mm
Strap material
Clasp type
Deployment clasp
Clasp material
Red gold 18 carats
Total weight
111 grams
Retail price USA at April 25th, 2011
Comfort (/15) 14
Movement (/20) 13.5
Movement Optimisation / Garnishment (/5) 4
Ease of handling and adjustment (/5) 5
Movement control proceeded by the Manufacture / horlogical awards (/3) 2
Power reserve (/2) 1
Complications (/5) 1.5
Finishing (/20) 14
Dial finishing (/6) 4
Case finishing (/6) 5
Quality of garnishment / caseback engraving quality (/2) 1
Crystal quality (/4) 2
Clasp finishing (inner and extern) (/2) 2
Functionality (/20) 13
Diurnal legibility (/5) 5
Night legibility (/4) 0
Water resistance (/3) 1
Strap : ease of size adjustment + ease of substitution (/4) 3
Clasp : quality and safety (/4) 4
Additional items (/10) 4
Limited edition (/3) 0
Watch delivered with several straps (/2) 0
Quality of the watch box (/1) 1
Portability with shirtsleeves buttoned (/2) 2
Goodies included (/1) 0
Understandability of the brochure (/1) 1
Value for money (/15) 13
When to wear it ? At a techno exhibition!
Users opinion
like this watch
Do you like this watch?

A comfortable automatic watch to wear

The case’s figure of this Omega is thick, almost stocky.
The De Ville Hour Vision case back’s diameter being smaller than the diameter of the bezel, the case increases in size and opens up towards the top.

As a result – with its short, curved lugs – the positioning on the wrist is excellent, and the overall comfort optimal.

The brown crocodile strap is fitted with a folding clasp made of red gold, comfortable and easy to use.

The feeling of power visually conveyed by the case is reinforced by the real-life weight of the red gold, along with that of the sapphire crystal: part of the case middle is made of this see-through material, revealing the 8501 Omega Caliber profile on the flanks and between the lugs.

We’ll get back to that.

A dressy watch

Let’s take a look at the dial from the outskirts moving inward.

First off, we have the internal brushed bezel made of red gold, inclined all the way to the dial with its color fluctuating between black and dark brown.

Furthermore, we find a very discreet white railway track graduated from 0 to 60, used as a marker for the minutes and seconds.

Then, we have the time display located on a rhodium surface with its grooves spread to make room for the date.

The look of the surface is reminiscent of a printed circuit on an electronic board, adding a certain technological touch to the overall look of this otherwise dressy watch.

Then come the red gold faceted hourmarkers.
The different types of finish on these markers give them the ability to capture light with a variety of different angles.
The hands and the date window also benefit from the same design.
The overall result gives this Omega an excellent display readability.

The writing on the dial is reduced to a miminum, to the great joy of austerity fans. Also visible, other than the brand and model name, are the inscriptions “CO-AXIAL” and “CHRONOMETER”.


An innovative movement

All this information leads us to the in-house automatic movement, the 8501 Omega Caliber, which is visible under all of its different facets on the side of the watch’s case middle, and also behind the sapphire crystal back.

Let’s first take a look at its design: the rotor is made out of red gold, like the balance bridge.

The screws and the balance are blackened (using rhodium plating) as well as the barrels which are coated with DLC – or Diamond-Like Carbon.

These coatings provide a delicate contrast with the decorated surfaces of the Côtes de Genèves and their arabesque design.
The overall look gives the whole piece a strong and beautiful visual identity.

On the technical side of things, the 8500 Caliber, which was the basis for the concept behind 8501, is the first of Omega’s newest generation of calibers (launched in 2007), improved with its increased reliability and regularity, and simplified maintenance.

We first notice the co-axial escapement developed by the great watchmaker Georges Daniels, initially introduced by Omega in 1999 – evidently the only brand to use it for mass production.
This escapement improves the regularity of the movement’s functioning.

Omega 8501 Caliber: the overall look gives the whole piece a strong and beautiful visual identity.

The bi-directional rotor of this automatic watch, without the bearings and equipped instead with a new pinion, has improved in efficiency and reliability and requires less lubrication.

It provides energy that simultaneously winds the two barrels, which now have minimal friction thanks to their internal and external DLC coating, and no longer require any lubrication.

These two barrels are mounted side-by-side to allow for optimal usage, and again improve the watch’s regularity by reducing the tension of its springs – as opposed to having a system with a single, longer spring in one barrel (with an equivalent power reserve).

The substantial improvements provided by Omega in this 8501 caliber contribute greatly to the overall maximized reliability of this De Ville Hour Vision.

What to remember

The De Ville Hour Vision could almost be considered the display model for Omega’s R&D department. Its caliber is indeed clear evidence of real technological progress in the watchmaking world that can also be applied to a mass production scenario.

Setting the technical considerations aside, the design of this timekeeper’s case is a real visual triumph, and wearing it is nothing short of a daily pleasure.

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