Omega Spacemaster Z-33 Watch Review

Omega Spacemaster Z-33 Watch Review

Omega Spacemaster Z-33 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The Omega Speedmaster Spacemaster Z-33 watch is the thematic follow-up to the famed Omega X-33 pilot watch that we recently discussed again as it was worn (and loved) by Astronaut Chris Hadfield (now apparently retired). The X-33 was originally released in 1998, mostly intended toward the professional and active enthusiast market as a sort of Omega answer to the Breitling Aerospace. What makes all these watches unique in the high-end space is that they are not mechanical, but rather quartz-based. Though, as I will explain, that is nothing to dissuade you from wanting one.

Yeas ago, Omega stopped making the X-33 and it quickly became a cult favorite with increasing values on the used market. The titanium watch had an analog-digital display and was, for many people, an incredible timepiece as it mixed functionality with durability - as well as a really loud alarm. Then, Omega began to announce that it would begin to phase-out quartz watches altogether in favor of promoting mechanical timepieces as well as its growing volume of in-house made movements. This was a message directly to us from the CEO. But, when telling us this information, he said that something special was also coming in the high-end quartz department. This was about a year and a half before the Z-33 was to debut, but we already knew what Omega was brewing up - and were thrilled that Omega would be returning with something in this category.

Omega Spacemaster Z-33 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

For many watch lovers, there exists a world of "high-end quartz." These are high-quality timepieces with high-quality quartz movements. They are worlds away from your standard $50 quartz watch, yet are most always priced under mechanical watches. The allure of high-end quartz is all about utility. Many people love mechanical watches because on the exterior they have the best cases, best dials, and best bracelets. Those are things that come naturally with higher prices.  At the same time, quartz movements offer features and a level of accuracy not available in a mechanical watch. In my opinion, there is room for both high-end quartz and mechanical watches in any well-rounded watch collection. We point all this out because among watch lovers there is usually an anti-quartz bias. There are a few reasons for this, but I am telling you that this should not apply to watches like the Omega Z-33.

So, in 2012, Omega released a new high-end quartz watch with the Omega Speedmaster Spacemaster Z-33 that we debuted here. After spending a fair amount of time with it on the wrist, we offer a full review. Let me just get the negative element of the watch out of the way - it is very thick. The Z-33 has a special double caseback that creates an air chamber that allows for the alarm sounds to be much louder than on most watches. Because cockpits are noisy, one of the essential features of the Z-33 is a loud alarm. The effect though, is a watch that sits tall on the wrist. It isn't uncomfortable and it doesn't slide around, but it is a tall watch. If you are hesitant about this element then I recommend you try one on before you buy it.

Omega Spacemaster Z-33 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

What do you think?
  • I want it! (7)
  • I love it! (5)
  • Interesting (3)
  • Thumbs up (0)
  • Classy (0)
  • Ulysses31

    Didn’t you already review this some months ago?  I’m getting déja vu here.  I quite like the case shape but boy is it fat.  It also looks ridiculous on that mismatched bracelet, on leather it’s fine.  There are several elements about this watch that look like sloppy, lazy design on the part of Omega.

  • Kris C

    There is no chance this watch could have been made any uglier. I probably said this last time we discussed it, so I won’t dwell.
    There is a group of watch enthusiasts I privately refer to as “Carcharodon O-megalodons” (not so private anymore I guess). For them, Omega can do no wrong, and thier numbers are great enough that they are best left unchallenged, lest you be bludgeoned to death with blind fanfare thinly disguised as fact. They are the elite hunters, and when you are looking for suggestions on a $1k watch, you need to save a liittle more for Omega, and when you are looking for a $50k watch you sould just buy an Omega and save some money. We are in a  Cenozoic Era of watchmaking, and doubt about Omega is like blood in the water to them.
    So, when something like this that I don;t particularly enjoy pops up, I just say ‘nah’ and move on. Sometimes it’s just not worth it to chum the waters.
    Whats next?

  • Ryan B

    horribly ugly watch, bad Omega bad bad bad

  • roadhand

    Wow! This is a watch that a tech guy would have to love. I looking for words but simply very cool

  • MatthewPicano

    LCD & analog watches never work.  Didn’t they learn that from the 80’s & 90’s?  How many of those crappy 1990’s Breitlings are on the collectors’ top-ten lists?  None.  Adding an LCD screen underneath watch hands is like a designer’s kiss of death.  Nobody will touch these things in 20 years.

    • Panagiotis

      MatthewPicano As a big fan of ana-digi I can safely say that the aerospace is DEFINITELY on every top ten pilot watch list. And for practical use it’s on #1 more often than not. And it’s still going strong, being one of B’s best sellers.
      True, ana-digi love is not for everyone, but there is a big market for it…Otherwise companies would not be making them 🙂

  • I am not going to challenge the LCD & Analog theorists – I don’t own any hybrid display watches myself, and moreover, I generally am among the anti-quartz people, (even though I do love my Campanolas).  What even Ariel seems to have missed here is that the Z-33 is not simply an homage to the X-33, but both the Z-33 AND the X-33 were homages to the 1969 Flightmaster.  See article here: 
    I do own one of these in pretty good condition, and as others have suggested, its style does not lend itself to every occasion.  Nonetheless and although I am not a pilot, I do enjoy wearing mine sailing and autocrossing, as its multiple timing functions are useful in keeping several simultaneous events well-coordinated.  Pictures here:

  • CG

    Looks like an homage to one of my favs: The Rado Original… which if given a choice I’d go with first. But the digital readout is nothing new, all the big names have done the combo for years. I like it and it could be far more useful in certain situations where you need a quick scroll thru event timing. I do like the digital letter and number fonts, makes me think of Kubrick/Clarkes view of the future.

  • PandaBeat

    So little ana-digi love here 🙁

    I like it a lot.

  • Panagiotis

    Love it but it needs to go on a diet! The resonance chamber alone does not justify the height…the Breitling aerospace has most of the functions at 42mm and around 10mm height (if memory serves).
    Also think it would go great on a mesh bracelet! There’s some 70’s flava for ya!

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  • I personally own this watch and while it is at the top mountain for height i truly love it’s monstrosity. why must all watches conform to standards? i say go screaming onto my wrist Z-33!!!!!

    • Diaken After seeing this I am heading over to the Omega site to play with the simulation tool.  I already have decided I want one, though, (God help me, that I need another watch!).  I own a very nice Flightmaster so the case style will be a natural with me.

  • Ariel, I forgot to mention that I was doing something else at my desk when I started this video, so when I heard you exclaim “Focus! Focus, Damn You!”, I thought you were having a few little ADD issues…  I had to rewind and look again 🙂

  • Actually, I could not find the simulator tool on the website, but there is one for the iPad.  One thing I found out is that the chrono function is only available in the digital display, which is a little disappointing. So, if you are operating with the display off (which I assume would be SOP under normal wear conditions), you cannot preempt the sweep seconds into use for chrono operation.  It makes sense in a number of ways, but it does require that you go through several operations to make the watch ready to time an event, by which time the event may have come and gone.

  • Kerlnelok

    Please, stop criticize easily the z33 and let fans express their view. Yes we are very few but with good reasons. Mine are the followings:
    Z33 is a watch dedicated to measure time with all different manners (GMT, date, chrono, timer, weeks number, day number in the year, duration of flights with date marker,….) and it does it with excellent and original features. One criticism only, timer is based on seconds of the watch (probably same register of the computer) and this is a shame because not independent from main time system.
    Z33 has a tremendous red display digital double screen which integrates perfectly from a design point of view compare to x33 I do not like for its circle display I do not find easy to read and not very aesthetic.display at night or in full sunshine is just awesome, you will not find it elsewhere, even on aerospace (which I like for other reasons even it is less ergonomic because of a single button, the crown).
    Z33 has a very high standard of quality product with titanium, double face non reflect screen, very innovative design of hands, deep black panel for quick reading, no “superflu” information on the dial.
    Z33 is the first real and virtual watch , you can have both on your wrist and your iPad. One is very costly, the other is free and so real and close to reality! Just astonishing the iPad z33 app virtual watch.
    Z33 is such a courageous project and demonstration of YES, there is still space for crazy but high-end project which can find fans on the planet who love high tech, design and time.
    Yes z33 is tall, not deep water resistant, could have some additional features for time capturing but what a watch just dedicated to TIME pleasure of measure! (A few seconds difference with atomic watch per year….!) Of course, I love it, I have it and it fits very well with my other mechanics such as rolex or panerai.

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