A Saudi artist is suing Omega in the French courts over the unauthorised use of a photographic concept he developed for his most renowned work.
Ahmed Mater argues that the concept for Omega’s Seamaster Aqua Terra advertising artwork is a direct copy of his 2012 Magnetism series.
Both images feature an object at the centre, surrounded by iron particles that are being subjected to a magnetic field. In Omega’s case it is the anti-magnetic Seamaster Aqua Terra watch, in Mater’s a black cube representing the Kaaba shrine in Mecca.
As originally reported in Le Quotidien de l’Art, it is believed that Omega originally approached Mater to gain permission to use the image, and while no formal contract or agreements were signed, court papers apparently show that Mater agreed to its use on the understanding that the Swiss watch brand buy two pieces from the series and donate them to a museum.
Bastien Buss, head of corporate communications at Omega’s parent company Swatch Group, told WatchPro: “As a matter of principle, we do not comment on an ongoing legal case. However, we are convinced to be in the right. Regarding the picture, it is underlining the advantages of the anti-magnetism of an Omega watch. For the first time in history, a watch resists to magnetic fields of over 15,000 gauss – a great technological accomplishment! What these metallic particles show is that they clearly cannot approach the watch, thus demonstrating the magnetic resistance. In every reference manual, anti-magnetism is illustrated in the same way.”