WRIST SHOT: OMEGA’S 2022 MEN’S WATCH RELEASES STRIKE A BALANCE BETWEEN ALL-NEW AND THE TRIED-AND-TRUE

by | Mar 13, 2022 | Style, Watches

First of all, when talking men’s watches, I’d better admit up front that I’m not a big Omega fan, at least in the past. As a result I haven’t followed them very closely over the past decade. I tend to be conservative in my approach to watches – conservative designs and simple collections that demonstrate a clarity of purpose.

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I feel at times that the OMEGA Speedmaster has been run through the mill with many special or limited additions. That, for me, distracted from the iconic nature of the Speedmaster itself. Dare I say that the Snoopie Speedmaster never struck a chord with me? I may now have to hide out in fear of retribution from the very dedicated Speedmaster fan base for saying such a thing!

Omega Seamaster Diver 300M Steel

I was, however, delighted to have the opportunity to be able to hear directly via Zoom from both Omega President Raynald Aeschlimann and Omega Head of Product Development, Gregory Kissling about OMEGA’s new 2022 watch releases.

What I found was a stronger clarity of purpose than I expected. I came away with a deeper respect for the people behind Omega and the brand itself.

The OMEGA Seamaster Planet Ocean Ultra Deep

The original Ultra Deep was tested in 2019 during a 12-hour dive conducted by explorer Victor Vescovo on a mission to the bottom of the Mariana Trench. He went to a record depth of 10,935 meters  All three Ultra Deep prototypes completed the dive.

Not unlike Formula 1 technical innovations in automative racing, where new technologies make their way into regular production vehicles. Here we have the technical innovations that allowed the Ultra Deep to operate at astounding depths now available in the Ultra Deep collection, water resistant to over 6,200 metres, available to the general public.

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The Ultra Deep is available in versions with case materials in either Grade 5 titanium or OMEGA’s brand new O-MEGASTEEL with yield strength twice that of 316L or 904L stainless steel and 40 to 50 per cent harder when compared to 316L stainless steel.  The Ultra Deep is available in a number of colour combinations

These watches do not have a helium escape valve, a remarkable achievement. OMEGA’s EFG sapphire crystal is only 5.2mm thick, yet it can withstand 7.5 tons of pressure, while the case has four patent pending design innovations.

The OMEGA Seamaster Aqua Terra

OMEGA has developed a new PVD and CVD process that has allowed them to produce rich metallic colours on a radial sunburst finish.  I think this creates a dynamic alternate voice in the crowd of vibrant and pastel colour dials that are trending in the watch world right now.  With the release the new Aqua Terra dials there have been inevitably direct comparison to the Rolex Oyster Perpetual dials in similar colours and hues.

The watch world in general is influenced by fashion trends, automotive and aerospace industries and diving (as with the Ultra Deep). So I think it is fair to say that the new Aqua Terra series comes to the table with these new dial colours. These include earthy colours from “Aqua to Terra” in Atlantic Blue, Bay Green, Sandstone, Saffron, and Terracotta in the 38mm models.

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Constellation 41mm, 29mm, and 28mm

New models have been released in the Constellation series. However, I found that these models resonated with me the least. The 29mm Constellation series has been introduced with Aventurine stone dials in a number of vibrant colours with matching leather straps. I think it will be interesting to see these in person, when available in Canada to hold in ones hand. The 28mm Constellation models are available in a more conventional metal sunburst finish in Blush Rose, Patchouli Blossom, Celestial Blue and Green Matcha.

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Men’s watches: Omega Speedmaster ’57 Calibre 9906

I think that Omega is moving in the right direction with the return of the Speedmaster ’57.  First released in 2013, the new 2022 version with new calibre, thinner case (12.99mm), and manual wide will strike a chord with Speedmaster enthusiasts that are looking for Speedmaster DNA with a hint of vintage feel.

For those looking for maximum vintage the sandwich dial version with “vintage” Super-LumiNova will be the go-to piece. I personally prefer the other three models with applied markers and standard Super LumiNova. In three colours I would have to personally pass on the deep red. But it might be a hard decision between the deep green or deep blue models. Definitely something that could only be resolved by holding the pieces in your hand, and of course on the wrist!

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Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch – Moonshine Gold

With a Sedna Gold Speedmaster Moonwatch released in 2012, I felt like Omega might be on to something (especially with full Sedna Gold bracelet – a bracelet being my personal prefence in a sports watch).  For all my complaining about how many different Speedmaster references there are and the practical impossibility of keeping them all straight I find myself very intrigued by the new Moonshine gold Speedmaster.

Omega’s Moonshine Gold is paler than traditional 18k yellow gold.It also has a higher resistance to fading of both its colour and lustre, mostly due to the addition of palladium to the alloy.

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Let’s tackle the obvious comparison head on: The Rolex Daytona reference 116508 yellow gold with green dial.  I think that Omega has taken the precious metal sport chronograph and done what Rolex hasn’t. They use a dial colour that didn’t come out of a set of Crayola crayons and use a modern alloy instead of a bright and often garish blazing yellow of traditional gold. That’s especially true when it also includes the bracelet.  As I gaze at the image of this Speedmaster I can feel the digits slowly oozing (make that gushing) out of my bank account and into the hands of my local authorized dealer. This Speedmaster is all grown up – and I want one.

Omega’s sweet spot between the all-new and the tried-and-true

The new Moonshine Gold Speedmaster also comes in a rubber strap variant and a 18k Moonshine gold panda dial. The rubber strap is a nice option for those who love a rubber strap – although not to my liking. The panda dial (light colours dial with dark sub dials) I am reserving judgement on. I’m just not sure yet – something that could be resolved with a “week on the wrist” I’m sure.

However, if I had my way the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch in Moonshine gold and green dial would be my play of choice. The only issue: If it went on my wrist, it just might never come off.

Colin Potts is founder of Watch off the Cuff, a watch repair service based in Milton, Ontario, and a member of the Horology Society of New York in support of advancing the art and science of horology. Image up top: Omega Aqua Terra 150M 38mm

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