Friday, April 15, 2005

Omega Speedmaster 50th Anniversary Edition Specification Thoughts

You may know the huge expectation that is already building around this topic, so I thought it was time to post my views about the specification of Omega's Speedmaster 50th Anniversary Edition due in 2007.

Like I felt about a Jaeger LeCoultre Polaris Re-issue, I think there are several ways of approaching this. Clearly there is nothing to discuss if we look at a no compromise facsimile; just make the original again with everything visually the same. And of course, the movement could not be original,.... or could it?

Picture: Omega Museum

However I don't think this is the right way forward. The broad arrow hands limit readability and anyway Omega have already 'done' it, in the form of their somewhat (imho) cynical 1957 Replica. What do I mean, cynical? Well, sticking broad arrow hands and leaving off the word 'Professional' from the dial of an otherwise serial model doesn't exactly grab me as special.

Ref 3594.50.00 The 'Replica.' Click here for Hi Res. Picture: Omega.

I think the way to celebrate 50 years is to take the functional best of the Speedmaster in the spirit of developed astronaut useability and do something that hasn't been done before amongst Omega's plethora of mostly meaningless 'limited editions' by giving it straight lugs. Then add baton hands for legibility, no 'Professional' on the dial and give the buttons guards.

Regarding the movement, I think there may be a temptation to use the Cal. 33xx, due to its column wheelness, but that would be a mistake. In the absence of the Cal 321, the only watch still qualified for use during EVA (in the vacuum of space) to this day is the Lemania based 187x, Omega Cal 861. For the case size, rather than the original small one, I think it should use the current size as I don't think smaller watches 'fly' right now. For, the bracelet, well I have a preference for the earlier styles and certainly should not be the current one. So we finish up with something looking very much like ST 105.003, the first Omega worn in the vacuum of space. Kind of fitting I think.

Picture of a ST105.003: Chuck Maddox hosted by Robert Jan Broer

Now, can we take some advantage of incorporating new things discretely? For earth bound humans, the ability to operate in the swimming pool is more useful than a vacuum and I see no reason why we could not have WR to 100m minimum. The case might be titanium. Dial should be a replica design: absolutely the same as ST the above; in particular the type face and colour. No stupid words like 'replica' or 're-issue' or 'ltd edition' on the dial. Hands to be exact replica shape. The back to be replica design with 're-issue design feature or words' if necessary. Crystal to be sapphire! So we finish up with something like:

Based on picture by 'nivelacuso'

Now THAT's a 50th anniversary Speedy......

Or how about:

I think that one's self explanatory.

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