Since 2006, when Omega became an official partner for the Solar Impulse team, the likelihood of a dedicated watch to acknowledge the partnership was there. The continuing success of the Solar Impulse team to reach the ultimate stage where they can actually proceed to circumnavigate the globe using a solar energy powered plane makes such possibility highly likely. In fact, when I wrote about the Omega Speedmaster Skywalker X-33 Watch (Ref. 3188.8.131.52.01.001) back in May 2014, I alluded to the fact that the X-33 would be a basis for such a partnership. Lo and behold, Omega officially launched limited edition watch for the Solar Impulse project.
The engine that powers this watch is the same as the one that was reviewed earlier, the multi-functional quartz chronograph movement, OMEGA calibre 5619, with a thermo-compensated integrated circuit. It has three alarms, chronograph and countdown functions, and a perpetual calendar with day, date, month, year and week number indications, as well as mission elapsed time and phase elapsed time.
Crafted from the same lightweight grade 2 titanium, the 45 mm brushed case now has a few cosmetic changes to give it a different character than the core X-33. It now features a blue ceramic bezel coated with white Super-LumiNova. Coupled with the pinch of blue and green on the dial as well as the green seconds hand, the watch has a more ‘lively’ feel to it.
To complete the transformation, instead of a titanium bracelet, the Solar Impulse Limited Edition now has a green-blue Nato fabric strap with Omega branded metal loops.
The case-back is stamped with the Solar Impulse “Around the World” patch and engraved with the name of the timepiece as well as the words “TESTED AND QUALIFIED BY ESA”. The production run is only for 1,924 pieces, to commemorate the year that the first round-the-world flight took place by the United States Army Air Service.
Solar Impulse: Exploration To Change The World
A few observations can be noted after comparing the core X-33 watch against the Solar Impulse Limited Edition watch. The most obvious is the energy of the Limited Edition watch with colours that reflect the living Earth. The Limited Edition watch has the perception to be more at home in an experimental or adventure flying environment by virtue of the Nato strap. User can easily wear the watch on the outside of any flight suit, unlike the bracelet version. Yes, the Solar Impulse Limited Edition watch appears to be more visually appealing. However, from a practical point of view, unless one is really an adventurer, the core X-33 watch is a better option. It looks more refine and fits perfectly in formal settings.
The bracelet merges gracefully with the watch casing to exude sophistication and style whereas the use of fabric strap with the watch casing exude more of fashion and sportiness . I for one prefer the former. For more info, please visit omegawatches.com
Meor Amri Meor Ayob – Contributing Editor
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.