Over many years it’s been an Omega tradition to create facsimiles of its iconic models of the past. This is a smart marketing move as it reinforces the rich bloodlines of a prestigious brand and adds heritage value to owning a contemporary Omega. Amongst the more recent of these offerings is the caliber 2403 Railmaster, a watch of clean simple lines and stark dial contrasts.
Based on the famous and highly collectible Railmaster CK 2914 created in 1957 (see first picture above) as a successor to a watch produced for the British Air Force in 1953, the Railmaster 2803.52.37 at 39.2 mm in diameter is marginally larger than the original 38mm case, although the mid-size at just over 36mm would be ideal for those with smaller wrists.. The original also had a double anti-magnetic case to protect the movement from strong magnetic fields, however with modern metals of today and high-tech hairsprings, such measures have been rendered largely redundant.
The new Railmaster case has an angled polished bezel not dissimilar to the original. Whereas the original has a fairly uniform appearance on the rest of the case, its progeny features a satin brushed finish on lugs and case side, interrupted by highly polished bevelling that widens out at each lug and sweeps down the lug end. This creates a three-dimensional effect to the case and adds a level of design sophistication not present in the 1957 model.
The flat black dial, uncluttered by various sub-dials, has a simple chapter ring punctuated by luminous arrow hour markers. A perigal centre sweep and large skeletonised pyramid minute hand (often known as a broad-arrow) and a skeletonised dauphine-like hour hand are reasonably faithful to the original design.
So why the Railmaster? Well, putting aside Jeremy Clarkson’s enthusiastic recommendation, the Railmaster’s classic lines and heritage make it a watch that can be worn through various fads and fashions. It’s a watch for life, not only in the sense of its timeless style, but also for its solid work horse movement.. Based on the incredibly reliable ETA 2892-A2, the caliber 2403 has a free sprung balance and George Daniels Co-Axial escapement and is meticulously finished. With a good service at recommended intervals this movement will keep on purring well into, and probably beyond, your old age! For a review on the ETA 2892, click here
Priced at roughly $3000.00 USD in stainless steel, depending on how generous your authorised dealer decides to be, the Railmaster offers incredible value.