The X-33 was originally released in 1998 and its successor the Omega Spacemaster Z-33, like the original is aimed at professional pilots and astronauts. The Omega Spacemaster Z-33 is a big, bold retro styled watch recalling the 70′s Flightmaster pilots watches and comes loaded with functionality and high-end quartz technology.
Omega Spacemaster Z-33 – The Case
The Z33 case is inspired by the original shape of the legendary “Omega Pilot’s Line” (Flightmaster 1969) and is virtually identical except for its thickness and material – grade 5 titanium compared to steel. The similarities between the Z33 and the Flightmaster are more obvious when you compare them, not only the shape of the cases but also the arrangement of the crown and buttons are similar, however most of the differences are inside the case.
This thickness of the case is caused by a special double caseback employed to create an air chamber so that the alarm resonates and produces a much louder sound than typically found on most watches. The main requirement for a louder alarm is due to the noise that is generated in a cockpit.
The heft of this substantially sized watch of 53mm x 43mm is reduced by the lightweight titanium construction, though its size guarantees a striking wrist presence its chunkiness is offset by the use of a subtle sunburst pattern which gives the case a more refined look.
The buttons of the Z33 are designed to make a distinct click when pushed, this is needed to aid in the correct and precise operation of the watch’s complex functionality, so complex in fact that Omega issued an iPad app to help you learn all the features.
Omega Spacemaster Z-33 – Functions
To control the impressive functionality of the Z33 you have a left side crown and four buttons, while the basic analog hour, minute and seconds hands are adjusted by the crown at 3 o’clock.
Among its functions include UTC plus two time zones (in 12 or 24 hour), an alarm and a perpetual calendar. For time measurement, there is a chronograph function and a countdown timer, there is also a Log Book function which Pilots can use to log up to ten flights and visualize the logs with date and hour indications. To fully explore the watch’s large array of functions Omega has developed a fully operable flash version of the Z33 on their site.
I should just mention a clever feature attached to the lower left button. This can be used to move the analog hands out of the way so as to give a clear unobstructed view of the digital display. With one push both the hands instantly move to either the 3 or 9 o’clock position very useful when a pilot needs to quickly and clearly get a digital readout.
Omega Spacemaster Z-33 – The Movement
Powering all these functions is the thermo-compensated quartz calibre 5666. Originally developed for the X-33 which was intended for use in space so it can be assumed to be a highly resilient movement able to withstand extreme temperatures and impacts.
Thermo-compensated quartz movements provide greater accuracy and longevity compared to their standard counterparts, typically being accurate to 10 seconds per year. These thermo-compensated quartz movements are produced by Swiss company ETA. The battery is rated by Omega to have a two year battery life which is fairly typical.
Omega Spacemaster Z-33 – Dial
When compared to the Flightmaster the dial is considerably less busy due to a lot of functionality being displayed via the LED screens. There are dial similarities between the Z33 and the Flightmaster, for instance around the bezel is a minute scale that resembles the inner rotating bezel of the Flightmaster.
The red seconds points across the dial and stops precisely to point at red markers situated every five seconds/minutes on the silver ring. It reads well against the silver ring and predominantly black background of the dial. Added depth is given to the dial thanks to a sloping chapter ring and dial edge. Helping give an unspoilt view of the dial is a double-sided anti-reflective sapphire crystal.
Omega Spacemaster Z-33 – Conclusion & Price
A timepiece clearly aimed at professionals the Omega Spacemaster Z-33 will also no doubt appeal to fans of gadget watches and those that like highly accurate ones built to exacting standards and able to withstand harsh environments. Its also certainly a unique item that will attract those interested in wearing something with bold styling. The Omega Spacemaster Z-33 watch is priced at $6,600.
You’ll find a nice in-depth Hands-On review of the Omega Spacemaster Z-33 on ABTW.