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Feature: What’s A METAS Master Chronometer Certification?

If you’re reading this article, then chances are you’re not quite sure what is meant when brands refer to their watches as METAS Master Chromometer certified.

METAS, or the Federal Institute of Metrology, can be found in Köniz—a quiet little village near Bern, Switzerland. It was first established by the Swatch Group in 2015 and is considered the crème-de-la-crème of certifiers.

To qualify for a METAS Master Chromometer certification, a watch must already be COSC certified. COSC— Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres—like METAS, also puts a watch through its paces to ensure quality and reliability. The difference between the two is ultimately how strict they are—METAS conducting the stricter tests of the two, of course.

So, what are these tests? There are few tests a watch must go through to earn its METAS stripes—each test relates to either the quality of the watch, its durability, or its accuracy—they are:

Magnetic Exposure Testing

Each METAS certified watch must be able to withstand a dosage of 15,000-gauss. First, the movement is tested, and then the watch as a whole.

Water Resistance Testing

METAS takes the watch and tests it to the water resistance specified by the manufacturer. If the watch does not pass this test, the manufacturer doesn’t receive its METAS certification.

Power Reserve Testing

The power reserve is tested. Like the water-resistance testing, if it does not match what the manufacturer has told METAS, it fails.

Accuracy Testing

The watch in this area of testing is first subjected to a four-day test in everyday conditions. No extreme temperatures or submergings, but the watch will at some point be exposed to 15,000-gauss and then demagnetised. To pass, the watch must be able to stay within a 5-second range of variation each day throughout the testing process.

Further to this test, the watch is tested between 100% and 33% power. The watch during this test spends 30 seconds in each of the following positions: dial up, dial down, crown up, crown down, crown right, crown left. Again, it must not deviate from a (0 +5) accuracy.

Rate Deviation Testing

Similar to the 100%/30% test mentioned above, the next section of the testing looks at rate deviation as a whole. The watch is again tested in 6 positions—sending 30 seconds in each position—and yep, you guessed it, must maintain a (0 +5) accuracy.

So, you now know how, but now we move onto why—and it’s fairly simple. Other than bragging rights—"mines better than yours; nah, nah, nah, nah, nah”, or something like that—It makes sure that you receive a watch that is not only reliable but is built to last.

Fun fact: the first watch to receive a METAS certification was the Omega Globemaster

Fun fact: the first watch to receive a METAS certification was the Omega Globemaster