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  • Omega Time for Olympics in 2010, 2012


    <table align="right" border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td><table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="150"><tbody><tr><td colspan="2"><img src="/_images/articles/OldStories/UrquhartCastellaniRogge_article.jpg"></td></tr><tr><td style="padding: 5px;"><span class="caption"><b>Omega's Stephen Urquhart (l) in Turin with TOROC President Valentino Castellani and IOC President Jacques Rogge. (ATR)</b></span></td><td width="12">&nbsp;</td></tr></tbody></table></td></tr></tbody></table><i>This is the last in a series of profiles of the worldwide Olympic sponsors based on their activities around the Turin Olympics.</i><br><br>(ATR) Worldwide timekeeping sponsor Omega apparently is pleased with the way the Turin Olympics unfolded: the decision has been made to keep Omega part of the Games for 2010 and 2012. The announcement comes May 16. <br><br>"Olympics are our DNA," says Omega President Stephen Urquhart told Around the Rings in a February interview in Turin. <br><br>"We went to the moon, we created the photo finish, and we are part of the Olympics," says Urquhart about the fit of Omega's sponsorship of the Games. <br><br>Indeed, for years, Omega was a brand associated with Olympic timekeeping. It began in 1932 and continued through the 1980's, covering 22 Olympics. <br><br>In 1996, Omega parent Swiss Timing won back the timing category, but chose to use the Olympics to market its Swatch brand, continuing with Sydney and Athens. <br><br>"The Olympics are our heritage. That is what is important," says Urquhart, who says the company isn?t focused on revenue generated by the Games. <br><br>"We are not looking for a figure. The Olympics give us credibility," says Urquhart about the payoff from the Games. <br><br>It's estimated that the deal to be announced May 16 in London will be worth upwards of $70 million for the 2010/12 Games, a significant portion value-in-kind for the timing and scoring systems used in the venues. <br><br>And one of the priceless perks that comes with the timing sponsorship is the placement of the Omega brand inside the otherwise advertising-free venues as part of the timing display. Only Panasonic shares in the privilege, with its name included on the big screen monitors at the venues.<br><br>"We are everywhere," says Urquhart.<br><br>"No matter what, at the start, at the end people see Omega," he says. <br><br>But Urquhart says brand awareness is one thing. What is more important, he says, is for people to associate Omega with "quality" as a result of the Olympics. <br><br>Omega's use of the Olympic trademarks in its sophisticated product line has been much more subtle than the brash branding<table align="left" border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td><table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="150"><tbody><tr><td colspan="2"><img src="/_images/articles/OldStories/Omegawatcharticle.jpg"></td></tr><tr><td style="padding: 5px;"><span class="caption"><b>The stopwatch used at the 1932 Olympics that inspired the re-creation produced for 2006. (ATR)</b></span></td><td width="12">&nbsp;</td></tr></tbody></table></td></tr></tbody></table> used when Swatch held the Olympic rings. <br><br>Urquhart says that Omega has kept the use of Olympic trademarks "discrete" on its products. <br><br>And while Swatches with the rings were produced by the tens of thousands, Omega's Olympic collection is much more limited in supply. <br><br>Perhaps the most prized piece made so far is the re-release of Omega's first stopwatch for Olympics in 1932. Parts for the old watch were found in a warehouse and combined with newly fabricated components to produce the 2006 version of the Omega classic. Just 30 watches were made, costing $65,000 a piece.<br><br>Urquhart says Omega has high expectations for the 2008 Olympics: "China is Omega's biggest market." <br><br>Omega already has a high-profile location in Tiananmen Square, on the countdown clock on the steps of the National Museum. And just as it does inside the venues of the Olympics, Omega is the only corporate name to be found on display inside the giant square in the center of Beijing. <br><br><b>Your best source of news about the Olympics is</b><br>