Omega launched its new Omega Railmaster watch—based on its 1950s model—on June 27 with a celebrity-laden ride on the famous Orient Express train and a mystery that required the sleuthing of Agatha Christie’s famed Belgian detective Hercule Poirot.
The VIP guest list on this special journey from Vienna to Prague included top officials of Omega, The Swatch Group (Omega’s parent firm), actors, models, beauty queens, and sports figures, including Omega “Ambassadors” from Europe and Asia. One other star, the original Omega Railmaster watch—normally safely stashed in the Omega Museum in Switzerland—was delivered to the train before it left the Vienna station.
At the Austrian town of Pöchlarn, during a press conference for Omega’s new Railmaster, the sound of breaking glass and shouting was heard inside the Orient Express. The train manager interrupted Omega president Stephen Urquhart’s presentation to tell him that the original Railmaster had been stolen. Assured that police were coming, Urquhart went on to introduce the VIP guests as they disembarked from the train. Within 15 minutes, none other than supersleuth Hercule Poirot himself (played by an actor) arrived and was asked by Urquhart to investigate. Before the VIPs reboarded the train to continue their trip, Poirot was already conducting his interviews.
As the Orient Express arrived at Prague station the next day, there were rumors on board of low-flying aircraft and muffled noises heard during the night. In typical Agatha Christie fashion, Poirot called the VIP passengers—all “suspects”—together for his final report, and said he had solved the case with the help of Swatch Group chief executive officer G. Nicholas Hayek. Hayek revealed that he had expected a robbery from the outset, due to the watch’s popularity, and had installed a fake watch in the showcase on the train. He then produced the real original Railmaster. With the valuable watch safe, the session ended with each of the VIPs receiving a new Omega Railmaster.