Omega House opens its doors during the London 2012 Olympic Games
It may be the official Olympic timekeeper but Omega is also proving to be the unofficial party champion of London 2012. The brand, which has strong links with London (its Seamaster watch was launched at the 1948 London Games) made the savvy move of setting up a private members’ club in the heart of Soho for the duration of the Games.
Omega President Stephen Urquhart told us: ’The idea was to create a place where you could greet old friends and meet new ones in a relaxed environment. We wanted to give our guests a chance to re-energize between the events, too.’
Omega House is brimming with top film stars, DJs, artists and Olympic medal winners every day, boosting the general feelgood factor and establishing Soho as the go-to place for Olympics après-event fun. A giant screen has turned the Secret Garden in the outdoor courtyard into the best room in the House: it’s where everyone converges to watch real-time events and cheer on the athletes.
Inside, the rooms of the Georgian townhouse in Greek Street have been given a bold, poppy spin, each reflecting one of Omega’s key collections. A kinetic diver installation, designed for Omega by Wootton & Dawe is suspended over the staircase and points to the brand’s great diving watch heritage.
Another iconic Omega watch provides inspiration for the Speedmaster Room. Omega created the first NASA-approved watch to be worn on the moon. Last week, the world’s most famous astronaut, Buzz Aldrin, popped in to give assembled House visitors a talk. Medal winners stream through the doors every day: Jessica Ennis, Jennifer Suhr and Tyson Gay just dropped by and, on Friday, a big Brazilian night is planned celebrating Rio as upcoming host of the 2016 Games.
But the last word is probably best left to the man they call the Greatest Olympian of All Time, the American swimmer Michael Phelps. Having just announced his retirement from professional sport this week, he dropped in to Omega House to reveal what he intends to do next: ’The biggest thing I plan to do is relax,’ he said. Omega House is the best place to start.