Basel-world 2012: The Omega Spacemaster Z-33

Ever since Omega somewhat belatedly patented its ‘Ligne Pilote’ case design in November 2010, watch aficionados knew something was up. Informed speculation leaned towards an upgraded X33 sitting in a pilot line case.....and it was right. 

Featuring a freshly minted calibre 5566 quartz movement, the Z-33 offers analogue time-telling adjustable at the crown and a range of digital functions that will be very useful to pilots - even in these days of iPads and digital paraphernalia that allow pilots to do practically everything, except perhaps have sex with their chief stewardesses. Functions include Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) and two other time zones, also allowing owners to cross the international date line and accommodate forward and regressive date changes.  The chronograph function of the movement can measure elapsed time from destination, and ten separate flights can be logged and represented visually

With four pushers and a crown, the Spacemaster Z-33 is a complicated piece of kit. If you have problems programming digital recorders or setting up a new television set, this will really flummox you. But, with a little practice and a certified membership from MENSA, you should get the hang of it! 

The design is pure brutalism with a dark side that will appeal to anyone who nurtures and enjoys their Jungian shadow. The classic titanium pilot line case, a derivative of the Flightmaster cases of the late nineteen-sixties and early seventies,  features a deep linear adoucissage finish that radiates from the centre point of the watch and you can almost cut yourself, or others, with the sharpness of the perimeter edges. The 19.3 mm case is much thicker than the earlier Flightmaster cases and overall measurements are a whopping 43mm by 53mm.  

The dial is simplicity itself. A deep charcoal ground is highlighted with white superluminova indices with the outer ring featuring the classic Flightmaster five-minute configuration. Two mirror image digital displays with black backgrounds pulse out red characters.  Dagger hands, also coated in superluminova are skeletonised to allow better visibility of the digital displays.

A choice of rubber or leather straps is offered, but the rubber strap with the red outlines, in my opinion, completes the implicit ‘menace’ of the design story.  This is the ultimate electro-mechanical tool watch, and it may well become a cult piece just as the Omega X-33 has.  Available only from Omega boutiques, the Z-33 will set you back around USD 5900.00 and will be available from May, 2012.

Oh, and for those who may have described, or will describe, this wonderful piece of ordinance as “fugly’, I simply ask, have you looked at yourself in the mirror lately?