“What would you recommend for under $5,000?” That has got to be one of the questions I get asked most often by those making their first foray into the world of mechanical timepieces. Generally speaking these first-time buyers are looking for a well-known brand name, one that inspires confidence and comfort in the mind of the purchaser, and one that their friends will all recognize, and envy. Well, thanks to Omega, I now have a new piece to add to my running list of recommendations, the Speedmaster Racing.
Let’s Go Racing
Released at Baselworld earlier this year the Speedmaster Racing is Omega’s latest attempt at making a more affordable version of their incredibly popular Speedmaster collection, and in my opinion for the most part they have succeeded. There are some obvious design variances between this new collection and the original that I will touch on later but the main difference is the movement. Unlike the Speedmaster series, which uses Omega’s in-house manufacture Co-Axial caliber 9300, the Speedmaster Racing is animated by a self-winding chronograph movement called the caliber 3300.
Although it’s not technically an in-house movement, the specifications of the Caliber 3300 are still quite impressive. Like the 9300 it uses Omega’s patented Co-Axial escapement with 3 levels, and features a Si14 silicon balance spring, NIVACHOC shock absorber and a column-wheel chronograph mechanism. It has 31 jewels, runs at 28,800 vph (4Hz) and a power-reserve of 52-hours. Last but certainly not least it is also an officially certified chronometer. Not bad for under $5k.
The new movement is housed in a stainless steel 40 mm case the various surfaces of which feature either polished or brushed finishes. Similarly the center links on the screw-in stainless steel bracelet are polished while the rest are brushed. Simple touches perhaps but still ones that add an extra element to the overall appeal of the watch. For those who prefer something a little sportier the Speedmaster Racing is also available on a rubber strap.
The dial is offered in several different color variants including black, grey, yellow, white and blue but to be honest my more conservative tastes lean towards the black dial/white sub-dials combination (pictured above). It’s not that I don’t like a bit of color but in this particular layout it just seems to cheapen the design. Visually the most immediate difference between this model and the original is the size of the sub-dials. Specifically the sub-dials at 9 and 3 o’clock are noticeably larger than the one at 6 o’clock, whereas on the Speedmaster they are all the same size.
Functions include hours and minutes plus a central chronograph seconds hand, whilst the three sub-dials, which feature triangular textured “Clou de Paris” finishes, incorporate a small seconds counter at 9 o’clock, a 12-hour counter at 6 o’clock and a 30-minute recorder at 3 o’clock. There is also a date window at 6 o’clock. Finishing off the design is a stainless steel bezel with matte black aluminum tachymeter ring with scaling that matches the dial color.
All this for just US$4,800.
The Final Word
To be perfectly honest I’m still not sure if I’m sold on the design of the new Speedmaster Racing from Omega, possibly because I have always been a die-hard fan of the original. Be that as it may however I still think this is an excellent package from one of the best-known watch brands in world, offering real value for money for first-time buyers looking to acquire their first ‘real’ watch.
Of course for those of you that fall into that category with the exception that you’re not particularly fixed on getting a new watch, than my advice would be to do you research and pick yourself up a vintage Speedmaster Professional instead – trust me, you won’t regret it!
For more information please visit the official Omega website: www.omegawatches.com
Category: Watch Reviews