Those who know me know that I’m a big fan of Omega as a watch brand, so when I was asked to be one of the aBlogtoWatch team members who would test-drive an Omega Globemaster for a few months, I gladly accepted. I’m also keen on the bygone Omega Constellation models, so the Globemaster with its “pie-pan dial” and “C-shape case” was an intriguing model for me to wear.
Note that while I, Matt Smith-Johnson, am doing the main watch review, other members of the aBlogtoWatch team will weigh in at points below with their thoughts on Omega’s Globemaster collection and their respective experiences.
Each ABTW team member got to pick which Omega Globemaster they wanted to wear, and for me that had to be the all-stainless-steel model with silver dial and bracelet. For me, the all-silver look means you pay much more attention to the individual finishes and lines of the design. You can lose some of those details when the watch uses a few colours or different kinds of material. An all-steel watch, on the other hand, needs to have a solid design foundation to work. It’s sort of like driving an all white car — it’s got to have a great silhouette, or it looks like you’re driving a cheap refrigerator.
That said, I am also a huge fan of the yellow gold version, especially on the alligator strap. In fact, I really love how the leather looks on the Globemaster. Since I’m already a fan, however, I figure the steel bracelet levels out the playing field and my personal bias enough to make this a fair review. Now, let’s get down to brass tacks.
From what I have gathered after years of watchnerdery, the name Globemaster comes from the name originally given to US market Constellations in the mid 1950s. This was due to a legal dispute with Lockheed Martin, as their warplane-become-civilian-transport was called the Constellation, affectionately known as the “Connie.” If you spend a bit of time on Google, or fall into an Omega forums click-hole, you can find some images of these non-branded Globemasters from the 1950s. You could also just take my word for it and spend your time like a surface-dwelling human being.
Surface-dwelling aside, what’s really neat is that Omega had actually stamped some pre-pie-pan dials with the Globemaster name. If you can find one of these, you’ll notice the contemporary Globemaster uses the exact same script treatment on its dial. It’s an interesting callback, and I have no idea why Omega decided to resurrect this long-forgotten naming convention.
I really loved the polished hands and black star on the face of the Omega Globemaster, and I must say the blue dial is a stunning variant as well. The hour markers are really simple and modern, but work well with the 12-faceted dial.
Back to a bit of history, the Omega Constellation was definitely a status symbol in its day, but an icon was made when Omega adorned its Constellation watches with the pie-pan dial. This design feature has been rumoured to have been the work of the all-encompassing Gerald Genta, yet I’m quite sure those murmurs come from some similarities between the Constellation and the Universal Geneve Polerouter. What you can’t dispute is the lasting impact that dial would have on Omega’s history, and it’s something I am very happy with on the Omega Globemaster.
I’m also a big fan of the date at 6 o’clock as it keeps the design neat, symmetrical, and simple. For this watch it just works, and it adds to the class-factor.
Next up is the re-interpretation of the C-shape case, which was definitely designed by Gerald Genta (Praise Be To Genta) and is a throwback to the Constellation models of the 1960s. The fluted bezel wasn’t always present on vintage references, but I’m glad Omega included it. To address the elephant in the room, it makes this watch a stylistic rival to the Rolex Datejust, and I think that’s a good thing. I’m not a Rolex guy myself, but I can understand why people appreciate them: they are versatile timepieces you can dress up or down, and that’s what we have in the Omega Globemaster as well.
While wearing the Omega Globemaster, I found the case shape exceptionally fetching, and at 39mm wide x 12.5mm thick it was the perfect size for my 7.125” wrist. And the case back! I took off the watch many a time to examine the beautifully finished co-axial caliber 8900 and observatory medallion. This is probably my favourite feature of the watch, and it has to be one of the watch-porniest case backs out there… With exception to Andersen Geneve, of course, which is more literal than mechanical.
Another thing the Globemaster has going for it is the chamfered and polished edges on the case and bracelet. It’s a sharp feature that really helps accentuate the lines carried throughout the design, and it’s done in a simple and clever way.
There was only one detail that bothered me about the Omega Globemaster, and that was a small gap in the fitting between the first and second links of the bracelet. The links themselves are much smaller than, say, an Oyster-style bracelet, and that was fantastic, yet my wrist seemed a bit too small to obtain optimal spacing between all of the links. I had a few Redbar companions chastise me for being overly picky when discussing this detail (it actually got slightly raucous, with one friend screaming “screw the gap, mate!”), but it was something I noticed. If your wrist is about 7.5” or over, the link spacing looks perfect all the way around, so keep that in mind if you are detail-obsessed like me.
Ariel Adams says: Once again, the Globemaster represents Omega combining the old with the new. The Omega Globemaster is the first standard collection of watches that was produced with the “Master Chronomater” designation which implies that each in-house-made movement inside the watches is METAS-certified for performance. These are truly anti-magnetic watches with durability features which eschew the more genteel design of the modern retro design.
For the design, Omega borrows cues from a few distinct models from their history, resulting in a sort of vintage-homage amalgamation of elements. Those with no awareness of the brand’s history will not need to know anything about the design synthesis to see that the watch is inspired by the past, but in construction the piece really feels modern.
When the Omega Globemaster first came out, I felt that Omega really missed a marketing opportunity to define who a “globemaster” is, and then to try and match that demographic with the watch. For me, a globemaster is someone who not only regularly travels for mostly professional purposes, but also has a comfortable degree of cultural experience and literacy to not only survive in strange places, but also find interesting and new things in those places even as a foreigner.
Not to sound narcissistic, but I actually think people like professional bloggers would easily qualify as globemasters. Omega should have emphasized this lifestyle as a personality type and created campaigns designed to show people like me (a professional blogger) wearing the Globemaster around the world and showing why it is both style-wise and function-wise a good timepiece choice. Oh well, I suppose I’ll be the only one promoting that message for now.
Another missed opportunity is for Omega to market the Globemaster as the “hands-on guy’s” Rolex Datejust. While the latter piece enjoys success as being the perfect blend of watch and men’s jewelry, Omega might have success marketing the Globemaster and the engineer’s dress watch. Just an idea, but sooner or later the watch industry has got to start doing marketing like this or its going to continue to miss out on getting the attention of Western men in many of their advertising messages. As it stands now, Omega doesn’t seem to hide that many of its products aim for Rolex product types. Omega has a lot of good propositions to make given their strong products, but right now they (like many of their colleagues) aren’t doing the best job in communicating those values to the mainstream consumer who will be the cornerstone of global demand.
At its best, the Omega Globemaster is a masculine-looking dress watch with the movement equivalent of the engine from a high-end luxury sedan: smooth, powerful, and full of cool tech that you might not know when you’ll need it, but you sure appreciate that it is there. This is a solid product that just needs its marketing niche better carved out for it so that the right people can be informed about this collection.