The Endless Pursuit - Promises Made & Kept
As Irish olympic gymnast Rhys McClenaghan stepped up to deliver the performance of a lifetime at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, one can only imagine what was going through his mind and how much he had sacrificed in his pursuit of perfection. The journey of an olympian is a road travelled by the few who have the tenacity, will and courage to see through their lifelong dreams.
In this respect, a watchmaker and an olympian share many commonalities. Both share passion, vision and determination. And both share a common pursuit for perfection that will transcend time. Like watchmakers, olympians are timeless. Their accomplishments live on forever in the performances and art they create. What better to commemorate Rhys’s historic achievements than a watch that will similarly live on forever.
A native of Newtownards, Rhys is the most decorated gymnast in Ireland’s history. Competing for Northern Ireland, Rhys won the gold medal both at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and the European Championship on the pommel horse dethroning the reigning Olympic and world champion. Rhys became the first Irish gymnast to represent the tricolour at the Olympics at the Tokyo 2020 games finishing seventh in the pommel horse finals. His story is one of trial, tribulation and triumph. Although he did not medal this is surely only the first of many Olympic games he will compete at. At his age and with his talent, there is no doubt Rhys will continue to be a perennial contender and a source of inspiration for the Republic of Ireland for many years to come.
In addition to being Ireland’s most decorated gymnast Rhys also happens to be a big watch enthusiast. Gaining an appreciation for watches from a young age Rhys turned to Pride and Pinion to develop his tastes and satisfy his curiosity and passion. As Rhys is now in a position to purchase his first luxury watch, Rhys entrusted this honour to Nico based on a promise he made to him long ago.
Since 1932, Omega has been an official timekeeper for the Olympic games. To celebrate and commemorate their part in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games, Omega created a number of special edition watches. However, perhaps the most overlooked of them all is the Tokyo 2020 SeaMaster, the choice of Rhys to commemorate his incredible achievements over the last four years.
The watch shares a lot of similarities to the standard Omega Seamaster Professional 300M models including the 42mm twisted lug stainless steel case and H link style bracelet, the co-axial METAS certified calibre 8800 movement, ceramic wave dial and superluminova indices. The Seamaster Professional is of course best known as being the watch of choice of secret agent James Bond. Pierce Brosnan wore a Seamaster on all four occasions he played the role on the big screen. The modern version is simply the natural evolution of that same watch.
However, the Tokyo 2020 Omega Seamaster features a distinct blue ceramic bezel with white enamel filled diving marks along with a white ceramic dial and steel hands and indices which are thermally treated to turn blue. Tempering steel in such a fashion is not only for cosmetic purposes but also allows the hands and indices to be better protected from long term oxidation and gain hardness and strength.
This is the first time Omega features this colour combination on the Seamaster Professional and Omega absolutely knocked it out of the park. The watch is beautifully executed and the stark contrast of the blue bezel and white dial really make the watch pop. On the back of the watch is where you can see the movement behind an exhibition case-back that also features a commemorative Tokyo 2020 emblem.
It serves as a timeless reminder of the Olympic games that never happened in the year they were supposed to and a lifelong dream achieved as Rhys tirelessly worked, trained and prepared in his endless pursuit that will live on forever.