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    [2017-] 329.32.44.51.01.001 / 329.53.44.51.03.001 - Speedmaster Racing Master Chronometer

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    [2017-] 329.32.44.51.01.001 / 329.53.44.51.03.001 - Speedmaster Racing Master Chronometer

    Message par Copeau le Jeu 27 Juil - 10:44

    Lors du Baselworld 2017, Omega a présenté un nouveau modèle, fortement inspir de ses anciennes montres mais sans oublier des les moderniser pour attirer de nouvelles audiences. La nouvelle Speedmaster Racing Master Chronometer rend ainsi hommage à l’héritage automobile de la marque.




    Chaque nouvelle Speedmaster hérite de l’esprit et l’esthétique de ses prédécesseurs. Ces liens s’expriment clairement sur le cadran de la nouvelle Speedmaster Racing Master Chronometer : la première apparition de cette minuterie caractéristique sur une Speedmaster remonte à 1968. Dans la droite lignée des montres dédiées à la course automobile, ce modèle fait son grand retour.

    La disposition générale est celle d’un chrono bicompax avec le duo 12h-60 minutes à 3h, le compteur de la petite seconde à 9 heures et en plus un petit guichet date qui remplace l’index à 6 heures. Le monde de la course automobile se retrouve à travers une minuterie caractéristique évoquant les motifs à carreaux des pistes de course, clin d’œil au nom de la collection. Un motif apparu pour la première fois en 1968, prévu pour offrir une meilleure lisibilité aux pilotes mais qui ajoute surtout une touche d’originalité comparé aux Speedmasters classiques.

    On remarque également la présence d’index en flèches biseautées revêtus de Super-LumiNova, et de compteurs légèrement agrandis pour plus de clarté.

    Ce modèle est décliné en 4 version, 3 en acier et une en or. La version en acier inoxydable propose un cadran noir mat, blanc ou gris surmonté par une lunette en céramique polie avec échelle tachymétrique en Liquidmetal brossé. Le tout est ponctué de touches de orange, avec l’inscription du tachymètre, le logo Speedmaster, les points derrière les index horaires ainsi que les aiguilles vernies et la pointe de la trotteuse. La version noire se porte sur un bracelet en cuir noir doté d’un insert en caoutchouc orange avec des microperforations qui accentuent le coté sportif et racing.


    La dernière version est en or 18K avec un cadran et une lunette en céramique bleue foncé qui offrent un contraste saisissant et très stylé. Ici pas de orange, l’échelle tachymétrique est en Ceragold, les aiguilles et le logo sont en or également et assortis au boitier. Ce modèle se porte sur un bracelet en cuir bleu qui rappelle le cadran.


    un verre saphir retravaillé, pour être moins épais

    On notera que le boîtier de 44,25 mm de cette nouvelle Speedmaster Racing Master Chronometer, plus fin que celui des anciennes Speedmaster d’après Omega, reste tout de même assez imposant. On regrette que la marque ne propose pas une version plus petite en 40 mm ou moins pour cette belle montre qui reste néanmoins difficile à porter pour ceux qui ont des poignets fins. Pour la mécanique, elle embarque un calibre automatique 9900, certifié Master Chronometer par le METAS, de 60h de réserve de marche et conçu pour résister aux champs magnétiques jusqu’à 15.000 gauss. 

    Comptez entre 7 000 € et 20 000 € selon les modèles, acier ou or.

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    Re: [2017-] 329.32.44.51.01.001 / 329.53.44.51.03.001 - Speedmaster Racing Master Chronometer

    Message par Copeau le Jeu 24 Aoû - 8:40

    BY DAVID BREDAN


    The new-for-2017 Omega Speedmaster Racing Master Chronometer reference 329.32.44.51.01.001 is the modern – and, until now, quite fat – Speedmaster Moonwatch put on a diet. Yeah, right, it's just as wide from the front, but very noticeably slimmer in its profile. It is not all looks and no smarts either, as it now packs the latest generation, METAS-certified, 15,000 Gauss-resistant Master Chronometer caliber 9900. Let's see if all that, a lower price, and some orange accents suffice to make one's heart go racing. There are a few quirks to note as well.

    Brief History Of Not The Speedmaster...

    ...Instead, I will just keep it short and concentrate on its most modern iteration. Although to me it feels like it was way longer ago, it actually happened in 2011 that Omega launched the Speedmaster Co-Axial Chronograph, a modern Speedmaster equipped with an all-new, 9300-series, two-register, automatic chronograph movement. Since then, they have officially called this collection a range of different and wildly confusing names, including the Speedmaster Moonwatch (yes, that's right), although it very much belongs to that group of 99.99999% of all watches that have never ever been to the moon. I mean it. Google Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch and see what comes up first – it's this collection and not the classic and actual Moonwatch Speedy. The closest this modern Speedy has been to the moon is when it received a cool moon phase indication recently, with a stellar blue-dial model that Ariel reviewed here.

    This is to say that around the classic Omega Speedmaster "Moonwatch" (the one that did go to the moon and back) grows an increasing variety of other Omega Speedmaster chronographs. And while the "original" Moonwatch I bet will remain unchanged until we colonize the moon, it also is one of the very few watches that deserve the label "iconic." The good news this entails though is that the rest of the Speedmaster collections are free to change and evolve as Omega and the market dictates. Now, with the Omega Speedmaster Racing Master Chronometer, we see what that unequivocally dictated direction is, and I am pleased to see and report: it means more wearable, technically more advanced, and visually more fascinating.

    Before we move on, a quick word about the history of the racing dial, and especially an interesting quirk that you may want to know, next time someone poses as a historian and gives whatever storied explanation for the racing dial's existence: "Despite great research and theory, the exact origin and purpose of these 1968 models is still shrouded in mystery." These are Omega's words on the racing dial – and I appreciate them being up-front about this fact instead of making up some faux, misty-eyed racing story instead.

    What's New For The Speedmaster

    Cutting straight to specifics: the case is 1.1mm thinner when compared to the Speedmaster Moonwatch (still referring to the 2011-model that didn't go to the moon). The case itself is still crafted from stainless steel and is still 44.25mm-wide. Omega says that they have changed the design of the sapphire crystals to shave off this bit of thickness. About how it actually wears and looks on the wrist just a bit later.

    Another important update is how the 9300 caliber has been updated to the 9900 version. There's plenty of boasting on both the front and back to help you figure out if this is the latest generation of Omega in-house movements: the dial says "Co-Axial Master Chronometer" on it while the rotor has "Omega Master Co-Axial 9900" written in red. I was there at Omega's event in Geneva in late 2014 when they announced their new partnership with METAS, and I also recall how many times since then I've had to fact-check the exact wording Omega uses to refer to these calibers.

    It is quite confusing since the exact same watch refers to two very similar things in two different ways: as it turns out, "Co-Axial Master Chronometer" and "Master Co-Axial" mean that this watch is a chronometer (as only COSC-certified watches can be called as such), and, as the text on the rotor explains, also METAS-certified tested in-house by Omega. More on the movement below. Beyond these updates, the racing dial returns once more – if I remember correctly, as a first for this larger Speedmaster – and with it also comes a new, perforated, sporty-looking strap. It really cannot possibly get any more confusing than Co-Axial Master Chronometer and Master Co-Axial – not to mention that not too long ago Omega Seamaster 300 dials said Master Co-Axial Chronometer, that already had the "Master Co-Axial" bit in it.

    Wearability

    Time to take a closer look at these novel elements of the Omega Speedmaster Racing Master Chronometer and so let us begin with wearability. A day into wearing the watch and after adjusting the strap a few times, I realized that the Speedmaster Racing (with the strap set to offer a secure fit – which is how I prefer to wear watches) wears like loosely set, slim watches do.

    The eye-trickery comes from the fact that the Speedmaster Racing has a very thin case profile – in the traditional sense, that is. The super long, nicely curved, polished edge runs from the end of the upper lug and doesn't end until the other corner of the watch. For one, this angled, shiny, sweeping curve makes the watch appear longer and slimmer. Underneath it is the slender, vertical case profile that is brushed and hence darker, making it appear yet slimmer to the eye.

    Now, the trick is in the fact that the case-back itself is just as thick as the case-band, but it is tucked away in a way that most of the time when the watch is on the wrist it cannot be seen at all. So, when you look at the watch on your wrist, it gives the illusion of a slim watch that sits a finger's width above the wrist – this is possibly the best way to describe it.

    While it may sound clumsy – loosely worn watches I find look clumsy not all, but the majority of times – in truth it actually looked just fine in this instance. Because the watch sits securely, it does not wobble around, but it still has that slim profile that renders it more of a regular, nice watch, than the brutish showpieces I consider Omega's other 9300/9900-equipped watches to be. The Seamaster and Speedmaster Chronographs are super thick at over 16mm, while this one measures in just below 15mm and looks even thinner than that figure would suggest.


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    Re: [2017-] 329.32.44.51.01.001 / 329.53.44.51.03.001 - Speedmaster Racing Master Chronometer

    Message par Copeau le Jeu 24 Aoû - 8:40

    BY DAVID BREDAN


    Since we're talking wearability, we should also talk basic, but essential stuff, like wearing comfort. The Omega Speedmaster Racing Master Chronometer reference 329.32.44.51.01.001 comes on a black strap the material of which, at the time of writing, Omega does not publicly say anything about – not in the Baselworld launch document, nor on their site. The strap is not marked as "Genuine Leather" and although because of its color and texture I presume most (including myself) would call it a leather strap after first sight and touch, upon closer inspection it actually has a strange, rubbery feel that makes me think it's not leather.

    It is soft to the touch, but more like very supple and lightly textured rubber than any type of real leather. Therefore, even if it was genuine leather, it must have received some strong surface treatment that changed its feel. Having had this watch for about two months and on the wrist very often, I don't have great concerns about the durability of this material, but I do wish it was genuine leather. It works fine in our age when car interiors are plastic and yet are somehow desirable (think of alcantara, for example) – but I do prefer the durability and patina of real leather.
    On this note, I know some people can destroy a leather strap in a year, but for me they always last several years, so how this rubbery strap holds up will also depend on how you handle it. It has held up against water, sweat, heat, and other elements so far.

    There are machined perforations on the strap – based on original images I thought these were just in the upper, black layer, but in reality they go all the way through the strap. You'll be surprised how much of a difference these small perforations can make: not even in heat exceeding 40°C (104°F) did I ever find this watch uncomfortable. The strap never stuck to my skin and I didn't sweat much underneath it. In the middle of the strap is an orange rubber padding that peeks through these perforations and works nicely with the dial's orange details.
    The comfortable strap is attached to a single-folding buckle that closes with a reassuring click if you attach the strap correctly – if the pin doesn't go all the way through, the strap will keep it from closing. You just have to get it right once and then it will open and close just fine.

    Racing Dial & Legibility

    The racing dial has been around since 1968 and while I think it looks cool, I cannot agree with Omega when they say "it is generally accepted that this 'Racing' style was added to make the chronograph easier to read." I mean, it may have been added with that goal in mind, but it didn't quite work for me that way. This is the first racing dial Speedmaster that I got to wear for an extended period and so the first time when I could realize how difficult it is, for me at least, to read not only the chronograph seconds, but also the running time minutes with great accuracy in between the applied markers.

    The problem that I have with the racing dial is that the funky minute/seconds track on the periphery of the main dial has its subsequent indices share the first and the last mark, so my eyes (or brain, rather) cannot tell where one minute ends and the other begins. I am ready to admit that it could be just a bad wiring in my brain, and if I really wanted to, I guess I could tell where each section ends and begins (at the longer marks) but, for some reason, the minute track just did not add up for me when I tried to read it at a glance.

    This, controversially, doesn't mean that I don't like it. This, I think, is one of the coolest and most beautifully balanced dials Omega has done, thanks to a clever dosing of colors and a yet more ingenious choice in textures for the dial and hands. The double-tier seconds track pulls the entire dial closer together, making the 44.25mm watch look smaller and more balanced to the eye. Furthermore, it adds a sporty element that works really well against both the track of the tacyhmeter scale as well as the long, arrow-like, polished, applied hour indices.

    The orange accents are an even more subjective design twist of the Omega Speedmaster Racing Master Chronometer, but these splashes of color are distributed in a very sensible and tasteful way. The running time's indications are in orange, while the chronograph's three hands are in white – makes sense. The orange tachymeter text of the bezel, the Speedmaster line, and the small orange pips by the hour markers create a sublimely balanced look. The crisp white Omega logo just jumps off the dial.

    The date window is above the short, lumed block of the six o'clock hour marker. The shape, size, font style, and color combination render this one of the most sensibly and least obstructively done date windows – making this one of the very few occasions where I never once wished that it wasn't there.
    Overall legibility is great, the almost perfectly flat sapphire crystal has AR coating on both sides, while all the hands, thank goodness, are properly sized. Omega has also enlarged the 3 and 9 o'clock sub-dials a fair bit when compared to previous models so they finally look just right and are way more legible than they had been before.

    Design & Execution

    The case, as I said, remains 44.25mm-wide and is crafted from stainless steel. The bezel on the Speedmaster Racing Master Chronometer reference 329.32.44.51.01.001 is ceramic with a brushed Liquidmetal tachymeter scale and a spot of "Tachymètre" orange text to match the orange elements of the dial and strap. I'll say I'm still not a fan of random French words on watches where every other bit of text is in English – or vice versa.

    The box sapphire crystal extends about two millimeters above the plane of the flat bezel and after a gentle curve on its periphery, it is almost perfectly flat throughout. Omega added a very thoughtful element to the bezel by wrapping the ceramic into steel and by keeping the sapphire crystal low and closer to the inside. This step-like design and the softer steel frame of the bezel will keep your fragile (but extremely scratch resistant) ceramic bezel insert safe from impacts from the side. Ceramic is notoriously hard but, as a direct consequence, is also notoriously fragile, so this framed bezel not only looks good, but will also save you a several hundred dollar repair bill.

    The polished edge that runs across the side adds a touch of refinement, rendering the Speedmaster Racing Master Chronometer an ideal fit for everyday office wear. It isn't a funky-looking tool/racing watch that only aficionados will get – it's an objectively versatile, modern, but restrained looking watch.


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    Re: [2017-] 329.32.44.51.01.001 / 329.53.44.51.03.001 - Speedmaster Racing Master Chronometer

    Message par Copeau le Jeu 24 Aoû - 8:41

    BY DAVID BREDAN


    The overall design, as a consequence of all these elements, is one that, at last, is far from boring, but I wouldn't call it desperately over the top either. Tastes differ, but if you want a steel-cased, modern Speedmaster that steps away from the regular monochrome/basic aesthetic, I strongly believe the Speedmaster Racing adds just enough to the mix to make it much more lastingly interesting, without compromising wearability or the seriousness that is rightfully expected from a watch that many are eyeing as their only watch that they wear every day of the week.

    Apart from – possibly exclusively my personal – issues with the minute track's legibility, the Speedmaster Racing is one exceptionally handsome looking watch that balances well between spicing things up and remaining perfectly wearable on an everyday basis. Many try but just a fraction of recent big-brand-releases pull this off so neatly.

    The Master Chronometer Caliber 9900

    The Caliber 9900 (and 9901 with gold rotor and bridges in gold cased versions) is the latest and greatest Omega can do with a movement. It is an automatic chronograph equipped with a column wheel, a vertical clutch, two barrels, and a Co-Axial escapement with silicon parts and an operating frequency of 4Hz.

    The "Master" in the name of the watch – let it be Co-Axial Master Chronometer or Omega Master Co-Axial – refers to this movement as well as the completed watch passing Omega's extremely thorough in-house quality control procedure, certified by METAS. METAS is the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology, they are responsible for the dissemination of the official time in Switzerland and, as a federal institute, they certify countless important projects linked to measuring stuff. Additionally, as a federal institute, they are of course independent from Omega.

    A common misconception is calling the watches METAS-certified. METAS certifies Omega's testing procedures and the equipment used for it. The institution insisted on having an independent office in the Omega manufacture right where the testing happens which allows them to conduct random tests and inspections.

    Omega's METAS-certified Master Chronometer tests include 8 steps which are preceded by Omega first sending its to-be Master Chronometer movements to COSC for chronometer certification testing. Then the 8-step progress begins which involves several tests concerning timekeeping performance, first conducted on uncased, then cased-up movements, in 15,000 Gauss magnetized and demagnetized states, as well as at 100% and 33% power reserve. Lastly, water resistance is checked under water. We'll have a complete run-down on these tests in a separate article because it sure merits one.

    The 9900 movement looks stunning and – now priced under $8k – this is among the nicest looking movements at this price point. It is machine decorated, but done in a decent way: excessively detailed, reaching even difficult to see places like the plates deep under the balance wheel and finished off in a silver-purple-green hue that depends on lighting and that is rarely encountered elsewhere.

    The vertical clutch means there are no coupling-decoupling chronograph wheels to elevate the show, but the curved striping on the icy silver looking rotor and plates still offer plenty of candy for the eye. Dark grey screws and intelligently placed, variously sized texts in red add a few splashes of color. For real nerds, the column wheel is on display neatly close to the large balance wheel, which in turn is hidden several levels into the movement.

    Good points are deserved by the totally silent operation and the also inaudible or, at times very barely audible, automatic winding rotor. Pusher feel is good, if a bit unique, the piston-style pushers travel straight and give a supple clicky feedback always at the same depth. It's what a well-engineered column wheel chronograph should feel like, and with the vertical clutch to boot, the chronograph seconds start and stop super smooth. Chronograph hours and minutes are displayed by two hands that run around the same, 3 o'clock sub-dial.

    The Omega Caliber 9900 is one impressive movement. While I do wish it was a bit thinner, it has to be realized that this could only be achieved by losing the vertical clutch and possibly also the second barrel – and, in truth, I'd rather have these modern features than a watch that's 2, maximum 3mm thinner. I mean, no movement engineer in their right mind would design a movement thicker than the thinnest it can possibly be.

    Summary

    At times the evolution of a product can be just as noteworthy, as the launch of an entirely new one. With the Speedmaster Racing Master Chronometer Omega shows that it does actually care about improving and fine-tuning its watches both inside and out. The new movements are tested to an extent that is unique to Omega at the moment (and I doubt any major brand will get in this anti-magnetic game at a similar scale anytime soon), while the modern Speedmaster's exterior has also been fine-tuned just enough. It's one of the very few times in the luxury watch industry where a product has genuinely been improved both inside and out in a way that renders the wearing and owning experience a priority. I also appreciate the lack of historical BS when it comes to over-emphasizing the role of the racing dial.

    I remember when I first checked out this new Speedmaster Racing at Baselworld 2017. I very soon had the impression that this would be a great piece for a one-watch guy, who just wants something new but timeless that also works and looks alright. After having worn it for several weeks, it reassured me about that impression. I just wish every new offering from Omega (and all other major brands) would be as solid as this.

    Price for the Omega Speedmaster Racing Master Chronometer reference 329.32.44.51.01.001 is $7,800, and the racing dial is also available on a Sedna Gold (Omega's proprietary gold alloy that is appears close to red gold), with a blue dial and gold indices. omegawatches.com
    Necessary Data
    >Brand: Omega
    >Model: Speedmaster Racing Master Chronometer reference 329.32.44.51.01.001
    >Price: $7,800
    >Size: 44.25mm wide
    >Would reviewer personally wear it: Yes.
    >Friend we'd recommend it to first: The one looking for one watch to wear everywhere, and who enjoys classic design, but is confident and comfortable in getting a modern iteration.
    >Best characteristic of watch: Colors work absolutely great in real life, finally the styling is spot on without being stale and boring. Good wearability, stellar movement.
    >Worst characteristic of watch: To-the-second legibility to me wasn't great. Weird strap I wish was actual leather.


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    Re: [2017-] 329.32.44.51.01.001 / 329.53.44.51.03.001 - Speedmaster Racing Master Chronometer

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