September 23, 2021
When most enthusiasts think of chronographs from Omega, the first watch to come to mind is the classic, functional handwound Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch. However, before the Moonwatch or even the introduction of the Speedmaster series in 1957, Omega had a decades-long legacy of chronograph production with a far more ornate and detailed stylistic bent. The Chronoscope nameplate dates back to the very first chronograph offering from Louis Brandt (the brand that would become Omega) in 1885, and since then the Chronoscope name has found its way into a wide array of offerings from the brand. Until now, however, the Chronoscope line and the Speedmaster series have never crossed paths, but for its latest release Omega aims to meld its most successful chronograph series with a design echoing the brand’s complex “officer chronograph” Chronoscope offerings of the ‘40s. The new Omega Speedmaster Chronoscope line, encompassing seven new references, treads dramatically different stylistic ground from the standard Speedmaster series, attempting to bring complex scales and a new early 20th century-inspired elegance to one of the world’s most famous chronograph designs.
Model: Speedmaster Chronoscope Master Chronometer
Water Resistance: 50 meters
Case Material: Stainless steel, one reference in Bronze Gold
Crystal/Lens: Sapphire front and back
Movement: Omega cal. 9908 (hand-wound chronograph)
Power Reserve: 60 hours
Strap/Bracelet: References available on both leather strap and bracelet
Price & Availability: $8,450 USD (stainless steel on leather strap), $8,650 USD (stainless steel on stainless steel bracelet), and $14,100 USD (Bronze Gold on leather strap)
All seven versions of the new Omega Speedmaster Chronoscope series are sized in between the standard Moonwatch and the larger Speedmaster Automatic offerings at a diameter of 43mm. While this is on the larger side of current trends, the new shorter Speedmaster lug architecture introduced with the current Moonwatch is carried over here, and the watch should likely remain wearable for a wide variety of wrists with a lug-to-lug length of 48mm. Available in either stainless steel or Omega’s proprietary warm Bronze Gold alloy, the case design should be familiar to fans of the brand, with a broad polished case side chamfer, twisted lyre lugs, and a notched case side to accommodate the pillbox crown and wide piston pushers. The first real stylistic departure from the standard Speedmaster here is the anodized aluminum bezel insert, available in blue, black, or warm mahogany brown. Compared to the stark, utilitarian tachymeter scale of the Moonwatch, the tachymeter design here is softer and more intricate with a new rounded ‘40’s-inspired typeface and an inner highlight ring rather than the Moonwatch’s simple dots. All seven references in the Speedmaster Chronoscope line are equipped with sapphire crystals in the front and display back, and like the rest of the Speedmaster line water resistance remains an Achilles heel at only 50 meters.
The dial designs of the Omega Speedmaster Chronoscope series are by far the line’s largest departure from the rest of the Speedmaster stable. While the Moonwatch’s signature printed indices continue in a vestigial state around the edge of the dial here, every other element takes on a new, ‘40s-inflected look. Everything from the light, rounded applied Arabic numerals, to the azurage accent ring, the stacked bi-compax subdials, and the simple polished leaf hands are a far cry from the established Speedmaster look. With that said, the new layout brings a refined, classical, and handsomely busy ethos all its own. Naturally, the most striking visual features of the new Chronoscope’s design are its triple scales. Located just inboard of the sunken azurage hours ring, the dial provides the classic suite of tachymeter, telemeter, and pulsometer functions that form the backbone of so many pre-Speedmaster midcentury chronograph designs. The outermost of these rings is a telemeter scale, which can be used in conjunction with the chronograph to determine the distance of an event based on the speed of sound – for example, measuring the distance of a lightning strike by timing the arrival of thunder. Next up is a pulsometer scale, allowing the wearer to easily measure heart rate over an elapsed time. The inner two rings continue the tachymeter scale of the bezel, tracking average speeds from 450 down to 20 units per hour. These tightly packed concentric rings create the intricate “snail” look commonly found in earlier Chronoscope designs, and firmly root the Speedmaster Chronoscope in an earlier visual tradition than the rest of the Speedmaster family.
Omega offers this new dial design in four different colorways. Stainless steel models can be optioned with deep navy blue sunburst dials and contrasting silver azurage subdials, a silver-on-silver sunburst finish with blued dial hardware, or a panda dial option with a silver main dial surface, black subdials, and striking red and white accents (unfortunately, Omega was unable to provide images of this variant before press time). The Bronze Gold model, on the other hand, is paired with what Omega refers to as a “patina brown” colorway. This rich, warm brown tone is complemented with Bronze Gold PVD hands and indices, and rather than the usual methods of faux aging Omega takes a subtler route here. The dial scales are in a light, grayish off-white for a more muted look in images, while the opaline silver subdials have markings in a dark brown. The intersection between these subdials and the “snail” scales are where this aged look really shines through however, as the scales transition from off-white to an almost peanut butter shade of light brown. The stainless steel model’s navy blue sunburst dial also performs this scale transition handsomely in initial photography, shifting the text from clean white to sky blue for greater contrast with the silver subdials. Omega wisely avoids a date window for the Speedmaster Chronoscope series, which might well have made an already-busy design feel cluttered and unbalanced.
Omega powers the Speedmaster Chronoscope series with its in-house Calibre 9908 co-axial handwound chronograph movement. Like all modern Omega movements, the Calibre 9908 is certified to exacting Master Chronometer accuracy specifications by METAS. Beyond its accuracy, the Calibre 9908 is equipped with a column wheel chronograph actuation system and twin DLC-coated mainspring barrels for a robust 60 hour power reserve at a 28,800 bph beat rate. Omega finishes the three-quarter plate with its signature arabesque wave pattern, radiating outward from the bow-shaped balance bridge. All screws and the balance wheel are finished in black for a sharp, modern look in images.
The Omega Speedmaster Chronoscope series is available with a variety of strap options. Bronze Gold cased models are paired with a simple dark brown leather strap for a clean and classical look. For stainless steel models, buyers can choose from navy blue alligator leather straps, perforated racing-style black leather straps, or the revised five-link stainless steel bracelet introduced with the current Speedmaster Moonwatch with polished mid links. For the Speedmaster Chronoscope, Omega equips this bracelet with a micro-adjustment feature for the first time, allowing up to 5mm of adjustment for added comfort.
With an unorthodox look that pairs the familiar Speedmaster case formula with a richly detailed ‘40s-inspired dial layout, the new Omega Speedmaster Chronoscope series offers one of the most distinctive and charismatic designs in Omega’s current catalog. All seven references in the Omega Speedmaster Chronoscope series are available now through authorized dealers at an MSRP of $8,450 for stainless steel models on leather, $8,650 for stainless steel models with bracelets, and $14,100 for the Bronze Gold variant. For more details, please visit the brand’s website.