Watches of Knightsbridge, London, 20 June 2015
Sold for £6,080
Launched in 1957, the Railmaster was Omega’s ultra-anti magnetic answer to the IWC Ingenieur and preceded the Rolex Milgauss by a year. But, although the name of the Rolex implied resistance to 1,000 Gauss, the early models were only rated to 800 Gauss– unlike the Railmaster, which genuinely could withstand the greater force.
The Railmaster’s anti-magnetism was achieved by using a non-magnetic movement in conjunction with a double case, the outer one being made from conventional stainless steel, but the inner from “mu-metal”, which is non-magnetic. Working on the same principle as a Faraday cage, the inner case deflects stray magnetic fields away from the movement.
When the Railmaster was launched more than 50 years ago, it really was a revolutionary watch thanks to the mu-metal, which is an alloy of nickel, molybdenum and iron. It was originally developed in 1923 to prevent underwater telegraph cables being affected by the conductive seawater, which could cause signals to be distorted.
All of which makes the Railmaster an innovative, interesting and high-tech watch – and one which is steadily rising in value. It still has a way to go before reaching the heady sums of its more sought-after (and some might say inferior) Rolex rival, however.