Feature: 3 Omegas You Didn’t Know You Wanted
Looking for a watch that’s a bit different, a bit interesting? Of course you are. Well how about this: we’ll save you the effort of looking, so you can just sit back, relax and enjoy discovering three Omega watches you didn’t know you wanted.
Omega Specialities Olympic Official Timekeeper 5126.96.36.199.01.005
To quote comedian Dave Chapelle, “It’s green.” It also comes in blue, caramel, black and red, and by “it” I of course mean this Omega Olympic Official Timekeeper. Unless you have adblocker in your eyes or generally aren’t that interested in the Olympics, you’ll know that Omega has been the official Olympic timekeeper for what seems like forever.
To be precise, twenty-eight of the games have been proudly and no doubt expensively officiated by Omega timekeepers. You may remember that one time the Omega countdown clock for the London 2012 Olympics stopped mere hours after it was unveiled, but other than that it’s been smooth, consistent and most importantly accurate sailing.
And we all know how Omega likes to celebrate an association, with James Bond, Apollo and even hit Japanese TV show Ultraman receiving the Omega limited edition treatment—often with dubiously large production runs—and the Olympics are certainly no different. Unlike previous Olympic special editions, this celebrates the association as a whole rather than a specific year, commemorating a partnership that’s existed since 1932. So, you know how many watches this limited edition is capped at; that’s right, two-thousand and thirty-two. No, me neither.
Aside from a sneaky logo at six o’clock, the Olympic association is kept to the case back, which lists all twenty-eight games around the outside of the calibre 8800, which itself is equipped with all the usual niceties you’d expect from a modern Omega.
But what really makes this watch a bit of an unexpected hit is that it’s just a great-looking watch. In green, it’s unusual, interesting, different from the plague of monochromatic watches taking up the rest of the jeweller’s window display, and it’s got to earn some points just for that. Beyond that, the inverted dial centre, contrasted by blocky hour and minute hands and patrolled by a colour-coordinated second hand, is just different enough to stand out amongst the noise without being so different that it’s try-hard.
And none of this is spoiled by poor decisions like an oversized case or lumpy bracelet; at just 39.5mm across and about 11mm thick, with a slim bezel and appropriately downsized lugs, the case avoids the common sin of being weirdly proportioned, leaving the Olympic Official timekeeper feeling just right.
Omega Constellation Double Eagle 188.8.131.52.01.001
If you want a modern-looking sports watch and you’ve got smaller wrists, you’re bound to run into a dilemma: there are no modern-looking sports watches for smaller wrists. Your Audemars Piguets, your Hublots, you name it—they’re all sized for gorillas. It seems the dream has been crushed.
Or it would be, were it not for this Omega Constellation Double Eagle. At just 35mm, it gives slender folk an opportunity to enjoy something that doesn’t look vintage and isn’t the size of a small country. It’s fitted with the prerequisite rubber strap, segmented for extra tech-noir kudos, flanked by retro-modern Roman numerals and given a pop of texture with a carbon weave-esque dial.
And because this is part of the Constellation collection, which draws its heritage from the record-breaking watches competing at the Swiss accuracy trials of the early twentieth century, the attention given to the finish of the Double Eagle extends right down into the smallest details. The hands, when you see them up close and with a flash of light, are grazed with brushwork that neatly points to the tips. The date window and chronograph sub-dials are recessed into the black dial with a silver bevel sharp as a razor’s edge. The whole thing has the impression of a moon base sunk into the lunar rock.
Oddly, it turns out that this watch is affiliated with the Mission Hills World Cup, which I think is that sport where players hit balls with sticks across the green thing, erm—snooker, I think it’s called. A special edition sponsorship affiliation is, as we discussed earlier, not so surprising—what’s weird is the connection between this uniquely futuristic watch and a sport played in white shoes.
Anyway, at the risk of using a pretentious word like juxtaposition, this Constellation Double Eagle offers a one-time opportunity to enjoy something a bit more contemporary and unusual without needing wrists the size of Arnie’s calves to pull it off.
Omega Specialities Steel Chronograph 5702.50.02
If a band is ever short on an idea or two, it’s to the back catalogue it goes, raiding the classics to spin out as a remaster, live version, or any other way they can earn a quick buck. There aren’t many bands that have a career spanning nearly two centuries, however, and so when Omega reprises some of its past classics, we can afford to be a little bit more receptive.
We’ve mentioned before about growing case sizes, both in thickness and diameter, as well as the trend towards more form-led designs, as reimagining a centuries-old product gets harder and harder. With vast archives to pillage, however, and a wealth of technical ability, Omega has no cause to swing and miss when it comes to vintage reissues, and that’s certainly true of this 1945-inspired officer’s watch from the Specialities collection.
It clearly looks like it’s from 1945, busy dial like an airport runway at night, so overburdened with information that the hour markers have been forced out onto the bezel—and even those have a font that looks like it was lifted straight off a World War II recruitment poster. Other details like the domed sapphire crystal and diminutive crown and pushers give this watch a genuine time capsule feel, rather than simply standing out as thematic elements on a more modern watch.
Even the movement gets the vintage treatment, the calibre 3200 starting life as a 3303 and losing its ability to auto wind for the full, authentic vintage experience. If you’re looking for a watch that gets you involved, this is it. It would probably take a lifetime just to work out what the different scales on the dial are even for. You can see why Breitling added the slide rule to try and make some sense of it all.
With actual vintage chronographs appreciating so quickly they’re practically catching fire, the prospect of owning one becomes more and more unlikely. With this Omega 1945 officer’s watch, however, you can get the best of both worlds with no compromise whatsoever—unless you simply must have a watch that dates to the period. If you’re happy with the deluxe remastered version, however, you won’t be disappointed.
If you’re short of ideas for your next watch, hopefully this brief list has given you some fresh options. And there are plenty more like this out there if you’re willing to look; let’s not forget that it’s often the journey that sticks with us forever.
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