Baselworld 2017: The Omega Speedmaster Co-Axial Racing Master Chronometer (329.53.44.51.01.001): Review

Baselworld 2017 saw some stunning, royally expensive luxury timepieces this year. Among them were Omega’s Speedmaster Racing Master Chronometer. True to Omega tradition, this Speedmaster is immediately identifiable as a part of the exclusive collection. The dial immediately reflects Speedmaster’s motor racing heritage and offers a distinctive style and refined details.

Brand: Omega
Type: Speedmaster Co-Axial Racing Master Chronometer
Model: 329.53.44.51.01.001
Purchase: Available from July 2017 at your nearest Omega boutique

 

Size/Specs/Design

Featuring an unusual diameter size, the 44.25mm steel case is polished to perfection and makes the perfect home for this unique timepiece. Also available in 18K Sedna gold (which you can find in the 329.53.44.51.03.001 model).

18K Sedna Gold model

Technical Specifications and Features:

  • Case Size: 44.25mm
  • Case Shape: Round
  • Movement: Automatic
  • Calibre: 9900/9901
  • Swiss Made
  • Jewels: 54
  • Crystal: Domed Scratch-Resistant Sapphire with Anti-Reflective Treatment on Both Sides
  • Case Material: Steel (18K Sedna Gold option available)
  • Case Finish: Polished
  • Case Back: Exhibition Backing, Sapphire Crystal
  • Dial Type: Analog
  • Dial Color: Matte Black
  • Dial Hands: Orange, Varnished; White Second Hand with Orange Tip; Super-LumiNova Fill
  • Subdials: 2
  • Bezel Material: Black Ceramic with Liquidmetal Tachymeter Scale
  • Band Type: Strap
  • Band Color/Material: Black Leather (Blue Leather option available on Gold case model)
  • Features: Steel, Sapphire,
  • Functions: Chronometer, Anti-Magnetic, Chronograph, Date, Liquidmetal, Small Seconds, Tachymeter, Exhibition Case Back
  • Water Resistance: 50 meters / 167 feet (5 BAR / 5 ATM)

Power Source

The Omega Speedmaster Co-Axial Racing Master Chronometer features an automatic movement. Driven by the calibre 9900/9901 engine, this Swiss-made piece has 54 jewels, magnetic resistance (approved by METAS), and the precise timekeeping we have come to expect from luxury Swiss watches.

This movement is anti-magnetic and powers two subdial, a date window, three-hand central time, and a chronograph.

The Good

The special size of the polished steel case on this Speedmaster is a wonderful example of how Omega doesn’t try to fit their design within defined parameters, but rather they create their own unique parameters and customizes the design and performance through their own innovative ideas. The case size is 44.24mm in diameter, which is not your typical 44 or 45mm.

Interestingly, the 44.25mm Omega cases tend to be thinner than their previous versions thanks to the commitment put into their new Sapphire crystal displays. The Sapphire crystal has been re-worked by Omega and dons a domed design that takes up less vertical space while remaining incredibly protective and the best crystal one could place on a luxury timepiece (more information about the Sapphire crystal can be found under the “Highlights” section below). The thinness of the new watches mean that the look is sleeker, more modern, innovative, and offer an optimized look onto the highly readable racing dial.

Take a look at the beautifully domed Sapphire from the 18K Gold model

The dial design of this piece starts with the matte black of the background. With alternating minute-track markings on the outer edge of the dial, this timepiece was given its name for these racing style markings, linking back to a beautiful 1968 Speedmaster design by Omega which was known for its superior readability. Along with the Super-LumiNova filled bevelled arrowhead hour indexes and central dial hands lies two subdials at 3 and 9, as well as a calendar date window located at 6 o’clock.

The black bezel is made of slick ceramic and features Liquidmetal (an alloy that bonds seamlessly onto stainless steel) for superior scratch resistance and style. The Tachymeter on the ceramic bezel features the accent orange color for the lettering, white for the Arabic numerals and markings, and black for the background of the ceramic.

The 9900/9901 calibre engine is Swiss-made for excellence by Omega, and is anti-magnetic, has allowed the timepiece to be certified as a chronometer due to its precision, and powers many complications on this Speedmaster. Featuring 54 jewels and a self-winding power source, the movement is one of the best new calibres by Omega and is powerful, precise, and perfect for a racing luxury timepiece.

The exhibition back on this timepiece means that you can view the gorgeous Swiss calibre engine from behind a protective Sapphire crystal via the back of the case.

The Bad

One small negative out of dozens of incredible positives of this Speedmaster would have to be the water resistance. To give credit where it is due, this model is a Speedmaster, not a Seamaster, but with a water resistance of 50 meters (167 feet), this is adequate for accidental drops, washing hands, and showering, but no more. That being said, this is not much of a con, since some luxury watches wouldn’t even bother and would offer only a 30 meters W/R. Overall, this is not a deal breaker by any means. Most owners of this timepiece would not be wearing this gem around the water.

Functionality

The Omega automatic movement is worthy of being used in such a fine timepiece — the new calibre 9900/9901 is created in-house and has been approved for the highest standard of precision, magnetic resistance, and performance (as approved by METAS (the Swiss Federal Institute of Meteorology).

There are two subdials and a display window that grace themselves on the matte black dial. One is used for small seconds and used for the chronograph feature, while the other is a 12 hour subdial. There is also a low-key calendar date window at the 6 o’clock position that does not stand out, which is great for looking at it only when you need to and it not overwhelming the racing-inspired design.

The water resistance is actually pretty respectable in this watch, considering that it is a Speedmaster and is intended for racing and not diving. While other luxury brands may not bother and simply include a 30 meter W/R rating, Omega offers 50 meters / 167 feet (5 BAR / 5 ATM).

The Highlights

The Sapphire crystal protection on this Omega is simply one of the best we’ve seen. First, the Sapphire crystal is domed with a new, slimmer design that offers a stunning view that is sleeker. The Sapphire itself is scratch resistant and has been treated with anti reflective properties on both sides of the glass. Overall, you can’t wish for a better crystal on your timepiece. In addition, the exhibition back on the steel case is protected by another Sapphire crystal for comfort and superior viewing.

The design is obviously a huge part of the appeal to this Speedmaster. With a black dial, black ceramic bezel, black strap, and black subdials, one would think this would be on-par with the traditional Omega design. On the contrary, this timepiece embodies its racing heritage incredibly.

The “alternating” minute-track on the outer rim of the black dial is an homage to the style from a 1968 Speedmaster, which offered incredible readability. The dial has excellently chosen orange accents.The hour and minute hand are orange with Super-LumiNova fill, the second hand is white with an elegant racing orange tip, and the bevelled arrowhead indexes are filled with the luminous material. With an orange subdial on the left subdial and a white pair of hands on the right subdial, the orange accenting is minimal but tastefully done. The orange rubber that lies in the black leather strap is exposed through race-inspired pin-holes.

The sporty strap of this beautiful looking Speedmaster Co-Axial Master Racing Chronometer model is simply perfect. In true racing style, the black leather strap contains a series of holes (created by a milling tool), which creates the micro-perforations (the holes) in the leather — at a variety of angles, you can see the orange color of the rubber that lies within the leather strap, which gives this racing Speedmaster an extremely cool look.

Pricing

This new Omega Speedmaster will be available from July 2017 at your nearest Omega boutique. Likely, you will be able to purchase it online if need be, soon after. We do not know yet what this (or the gold model) will retail for.

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