Seemingly out of nowhere, Omega unveiled the new Speedmaster X-33 Marstimer. I’ve had a good look at this unusual quartz chronograph and have come to the following conclusions: This Omega release couldn’t be more unnecessary, AND it may be exactly what the watch world – and you – need right now.
What’s the story with the Omega Speedmaster X-33 Marstimer?
The Omega Speedmaster X-33 Marstimer: From A Whole Nother Planet
The new Omega Speedmaster X-33 Marstimer is a sports chronograph developed in tandem with the European Space Agency (ESA). But this release isn’t adding another mechanical Speedy to the Omega catalog. No, the newest Omega Speedmaster not only boasts an unusual name, but also has an extremely precise, multifunctional quartz caliber and offers both analog and digital time displays. The watch also has impressive wrist presence, measuring 45 mm across and standing 14.9 mm tall. With those dimensions, it’s a good thing the case is primarily made of titanium, meaning the Omega Speedmaster X-33 Marstimer weighs just 112 g (4 oz) and is still comfortable to wear despite its size. The bidirectional rotating aluminum bezel comes in a reddish hue reminiscent of the dust found on Mars. The same color can be found on the central second hand. When you flip the watch over, you’ll recognize the iconic Speedmaster inscription and seahorse logo. The case back also reveals that the new watch has been tested and qualified by ESA.
The new Marstimer seems uninterested in marine environments, however; the watch is only water-resistant to 30 m (98 ft) – really, is that all? I also think Omega could have redesigned the titanium bracelet and clasp, which look dustier than the Red Planet itself. The bracelet is the same one used for other X-33 variants and the now-discontinued Omega Speedmaster Professional. Luckily, the new timepiece also comes with a 20-mm NATO strap, in a perfectly coordinated color scheme. The strap gives the watch a more modern and less bulky appearance. Omega has once again proven that it has mastered the art of presentation: the timepiece comes in a special watch roll, the lining of which reproduces the contours of Hebes Chasma, a deep basin on the surface of Mars.
The Omega Speedmaster X-33 Marstimer: The Main Event
Looks aside, I have yet to mention the most important feature of the Omega Speedmaster X-33 Marstimer: its namesake attribute. This titanium chronograph displays not only several time zones on Earth, but also the time and date on Mars, which requires accounting for the Red Planet’s comparatively longer days. To top it off, the watch is equipped with a solar compass, enabling the wearer to find true north on both planets. These are quite innovative tricks from Omega, and upstage the watch’s other functions, like its chronograph, alarm, day-date display, and perpetual calendar. The sapphire crystal is standard, of course, and, according to Omega, the battery has a lifespan of 24 months.
The Omega Speedmaster Marstimer: An Unnecessary Watch That the Watch World Definitely Needs Right Now
The Omega Speedmaster X-33 Marstimer is a luxury watch that, in one sense, couldn’t be more unnecessary. It is incredibly large, and thus hardly suitable for everyday wear, and it displays the time on a planet that no human has ever set foot on. But even if this release doesn’t match the furor of the MoonSwatch debut (not least of all due to its $6,400 price tag), the Omega Speedmaster X-33 Marstimer is exactly what the watch world needs right now. We live in the era of the smartphone, so it’s exactly these fresh, unexpected ideas that make watch enthusiasts sit up and take note. This is what keeps the industry exciting. Even if the watch isn’t for you, it’s still great to see manufacturers breaking new ground in unconventional ways. Omega probably has a fair idea that this timepiece isn’t going to be their next bestseller, but they’ve released it anyway. There’s sure to be one audience where this watch goes down like a house on fire: staff at the ESA mission control center. The Omega Speedmaster X-33 Marstimer will have an important role to play in rover missions going forward. Plus, it may also have a place on future astronauts’ wrists. Mars has long been considered the next frontier for man, so maybe this watch isn’t so unnecessary after all. Who knows? Perhaps it will one day be the first watch on Mars, and thereafter affectionately known as the “Marswatch.”