I was introduced to the world of horology only recently. Since 2010, I have been actively collecting, writing and reading up on the intriguing world of watches. For me, my passion is skewed towards mechanical timepieces and I rarely go head-over-heels over quartz watches – until now.
Omega will be launching the Speedmaster Skywalker X-33 Ref. 3126.96.36.199.01.001 sometime in 2014. This watch is made in conjunction with Solar Impulse 2, the new solar powered plane that is crafted in collaboration with Omega. Purist have been calling it the third generation of the X33 series that features an all new quartz movement and a design that took some cues from the second generation X33’s matte bezel and mid crown as well as the LCD arrangement of the Z-33 Spacemaster.
This latest version has been developed together with the European Space Agency (ESA). It was developed based on an ESA patent filed by astronaut Jean-François Clervoy. This association can be seen with the engraved case-back ‘Tested and certified by ESA’.
The watch is a large piece of real estate on one’s wrist. At 45 mm, the Speedmaster Skywalker X-33 is a bit larger than the previous models. However, the use of grade 2 and grade 5 titanium for the casing and bracelet construction makes it light. The X-33 has a rotating bezel with a ceramic insert and coated with chromium nitride with white Super-LumiNova. The dial design is a mixture of the Speedmaster Professional and the Z-33.
The X-33 Skywalker has the following functions: hour, minute and seconds of up to three different time zones, three alarms, chronograph and countdown functions, and a perpetual calendar with day, date, month, year and week number indications. In addition to its analogue and digital displays, it also has two additional functions, the mission elapsed time and the phase elapsed time that are used by astronauts in space missions. The display can be lit in the dark and gives a bright green tinge to the readout.
The use of the codename ‘Skywalker’ for this watch is also very intriguing. As a Starwars fan, I immediately assumed the watch was a collaboration between Omega and Lucas Film (now owned by Disney). However, this is not the case. My guess is the word ‘Skywalker’ is another nice description of an astronaut which was supposed to be the primary user of this watch. Some form of association with the Starwars franchise won’t hurt the marketing image either.
Based on the some reports, this model is going to be priced relatively steep for a quartz watch. Only those that appreciate the technology will be enticed to get it. I doubt many authorized dealers would want to stock such a piece considering the expected low demand from normal consumers. However, such situation makes perfect sense why it should be considered as a piece to be acquired – scarcity creates value. I for one believe in this expectation.
Meor Amri is a passionate watch collector from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Having bitten by the horology bug in 2010, he has written extensively about the watch scene and has assembled a large collection of watches (excessively!!) on his own free time. His blogs on the same subject are: Eastern Watch & Western WatchRead his articles here.