Looking for a watch that’s a bit different, a bit interesting? Of course, you are. Well, how about this: I’ll save you the effort of looking. Here are three hidden gems from Omega — and there isn’t a Speedmaster in sight.
Omega Specialities Olympic Official Timekeeper 5126.96.36.199.01.005
Unlike previous Olympic special editions, this Olympic Official Timekeeper celebrates the association as a whole rather than a specific year, commemorating a partnership that’s existed since 1932. So, you know how many watches this limited edition is capped at — that’s right, 2032. No, I don’t understand either.
Aside from a sneaky logo at six o’clock, the Olympic association is kept to the caseback, which lists all 28 games around the outside of the caliber 8800, which itself is equipped with all the usual niceties you’d expect from a modern Omega.
But what really makes this watch a bit of an unexpected hit is that it’s just a great-looking watch. In green, it’s unusual, interesting, different from the plague of monochromatic watches taking up the rest of the jeweller’s window display, and it’s got to earn some points just for that. Beyond that, the inverted dial center, contrasted by blocky hour and minute hands and patrolled by a color-coordinated second hand, is just different enough to stand out among the noise without being so different that it is try-hard.
And none of this is spoiled by poor decisions like an oversized case or lumpy bracelet. At just 39.5mm across and about 11mm thick, with a slim bezel and appropriately downsized lugs, the case avoids the common sin of being weirdly proportioned, leaving the Olympic Official Timekeeper feeling just right.
Omega Constellation Double Eagle 188.8.131.52.01.001
If you want a modern-looking sports watch and you’ve got smaller wrists, you’re bound to run into a dilemma: there are no modern-looking sports watches for smaller wrists. Your Audemars Piguets, your Hublots, you name it — they’re all sized for gorillas. It seems the dream has been crushed.
Or it would be, were it not for this Omega Constellation Double Eagle. At just 35mm, it gives slender folks an opportunity to enjoy something that doesn’t look vintage and isn’t the size of a small country. It’s fitted with the prerequisite rubber strap, segmented for extra tech-noir kudos, flanked by retro-modern Roman numerals and given a pop of texture with a carbon weave-esque dial.
And because this is part of the Constellation collection, which draws its heritage from the record-breaking watches competing at the Swiss accuracy trials of the early 20th century, the attention given to the finish of the Double Eagle extends right down to the smallest details. The hands, when you see them up close and with a flash of light, are grazed with brushwork that neatly points to the tips. The date window and chronograph sub-dials are recessed into the black dial with a silver bevel sharp as a razor’s edge. The whole thing has the impression of a moon base sunk into the lunar rock.
Omega Specialities Steel Chronograph 5702.50.02
I’ve mentioned before about growing case sizes, both in thickness and diameter, as well as the trend towards more form-led designs, as reimagining a centuries-old product gets harder and harder. With vast archives to pillage, however, and a wealth of technical ability, Omega has no cause to swing and miss when it comes to vintage reissues, and that’s certainly true of this 1945-inspired officer’s watch from the Specialities collection.
It clearly looks like it’s from 1945, busy dial like an airport runway at night, so overburdened with information that the hour markers have been forced out onto the bezel — and even those have a font that looks like it was lifted straight off a World War II recruitment poster. Other details like the domed sapphire crystal and diminutive crown and pushers give this watch a genuine time capsule feel, rather than simply standing out as thematic elements on a more modern watch.
Even the movement gets the vintage treatment, the caliber 3200 starting life as a 3303 and losing its ability to auto wind for the full, authentic vintage experience. If you’re looking for a watch that gets you involved, this is it. It would probably take a lifetime just to work out what the different scales on the dial are even for. You can see why Breitling added the slide rule to try and make some sense of it all.
With actual vintage chronographs appreciating so quickly they’re practically catching fire, the prospect of owning one becomes more and more unlikely. With this Omega 1945 officer’s watch, however, you can get the best of both worlds with no compromise whatsoever — unless you simply must have a watch that dates to the period. If you’re happy with the deluxe remastered version, however, you won’t be disappointed.