In a world dominated by smartphones, supercomputers and wrist-borne tech that would’ve gotten Captain Kirk’s heart racing had it been available in 1966 when Star Trek debuted, you’d be forgiven for asking the following question:
Why care about accuracy in a mechanical watch, a device whose timekeeping technology has been obsolete for decades?
Chances are good that if you’re a regular Robb Report reader, you already know the answer to that question: Yes, mechanical watches are inferior, compared to their quartz counterparts, with respect to accuracy. And they’re certainly inferior as regards precision when compared to your smartphone.
However — and here’s the rub — they’re superior in numerous other ways: They never require a battery to be changed or charged; they’re based upon technology that’s largely future-proof and can theoretically run forever; and, via their aesthetics, engineering, and storytelling, they bring us joy. ‘Nuff said.
So in that spirit, allow us to introduce to you a new Omega Speedmaster that features a mechanical marvel worthy of your complete attention: The brand new Speedmaster Super Racing may look vaguely like certain Omegas before it—primarily, like the Speedmaster Racing Edition and the Seamaster Aqua Terra 15,000 Gauss upon which its aesthetics are based—but it’s what’s inside that counts. Namely, a new mechanism dubbed the Spirate System that has allowed the Swatch Group’s star brand to achieve an accuracy of 0/+2 seconds per day.
You read that right—this patent-pending spiral, which can be easily adjusted by a trained watchmaker at an Omega boutique, allows for ultra-fine rate adjustments with better-than-chronometer accuracy (-4/+6 seconds per day). This can be achieved thanks to a new Si14 balance spring and an “eccentric” (Omega’s word, not ours) adjustment system on the movement’s balance bridge. Within the new Speedmaster Super Racing, said movement is the Co-Axial Master Chronometer 9920. Still, the brand hopes to cart this technology over into more movements—and thus, more watches—ASAP.
All this is pretty exciting for serious watchmaking fans. This sort of accuracy is fairly hard to come by even today; indeed, unless you’re dealing with a specialized, in-house movement such as one of Omega’s own Co-Axial calibers, even a COSC-certified movement isn’t going to deliver this type of precision. (Granted, as outlined earlier, being impressed by such accuracy will probably occur in concert with the suspension of disbelief inherent in accepting the fact that mechanical watches are inherently obsolete, yet celebrating their accuracy. But I digress.)
Back to this new Speedy for a moment: It’s pretty freaking cool. Measuring 44.25 mm by 14.9 mm tall—with a pesky lug width of 21mm, damn it—it features a Racing-inspired dial replete with yellow-on-black accents, the classic, lumed Speedy baton handset, and the (also-)classic Racing checkered 1/5th-seconds track around the periphery. Look closely and you’ll realize that the watch sports an interesting subdial configuration: While running seconds are relegated to 9 o’clock, as usual, at 3 o’clock, there’s a combination 60-minute/12-hour recorder.
The date wheel at 6 o’clock hides yet another secret: The numeral “10”—and only the numeral “10”—is executed in Speedmaster logo font. A cool (albeit useless) Easter egg, to be sure. Shipping on a matching steel bracelet, the watch also features a Polyamide, black NATO-style strap with a neat yellow racing stripe running down the middle, which is made from recycled materials. It comes in a fancy back and will set you back 10Gs. (Pricing is currently only available in CHF at 10,200.)
What can we say? The watch looks great, but it’s what’s inside that’s truly exciting. When this tech makes its way down to more Omega movements—and perhaps, to movements at other Swatch brands?—it’ll be a special day, indeed. For now, you’ll have to have the wrist girth to pull off a 44+mm Speedy, however. If you can do that, more power to you!