February 11, 2015
by David Bredan
It was at BaselWorld 2014 that Omega debuted the new X-33, which we referred to as “the real heir to the cult favorite Omega X-33 aviation/aerospace watch of the 1990s.” Now, as a new-for-2015 version we have the Omega Speedmaster Skywalker X-33 Solar Impulse Limited Edition, which adds what first appears to be a stunning color combination that links this space-age watch to an interesting project called Solar Impulse.
We were excited to go hands-on with the new X-33 in 2014, a version with a case and bracelet in grade 2 titanium and a color scheme that overall appeared to be mono-chromatic – save for a splash of red on the seconds hand. With the Solar Impulse limited edition the X-33 receives a much more colorful outfit and one that, with its deep blues and vibrant greens, is admittedly more linked to planet Earth than the cold nothingness of outer space.
While the 45 millimeter wide case is still crafted from grade 2 titanium, new is the beautiful blue of the ceramic bezel, the green and blue rings on the periphery of the dial, as well as the green seconds hand. The reason for this Earth-themed color selection is that with this limited edition, Omega connects the X-33 with the Solar Impulse project, which they have been a part of since its earliest phases back in 2006.
The aim of this project is to create an airplane that is powered only by solar energy and is capable of flying around the globe, as Omega puts it: “making a bold statement about viable alternatives to non-renewable energy.” In March 2015, the around-the-world Solar Impulse flight will take off from Abu Dhabi and over five months the pilots will stop in Asia, North America and Southern Europe, flying day and night, to complete the first solar-powered circumnavigation of the world. In fact, this 2015 X-33 is not the only watch Omega has created with ties to this project: in 2009 they presented the Omega Speedmaster HB-SIA limited edition watch with a more unusual carbon fiber dial (article here).
The Omega Speedmaster Skywalker X-33 Solar Impulse Limited Edition features the Omega calibre 5619 multi-functional quartz chronograph movement, with a thermo-compensated integrated circuit, with analog hands and a grey-on-black liquid crystal display that can indicate the hour, minute and seconds of up to three different time zones. It has three alarms, chronograph and countdown functions, and a perpetual calendar with day, date, month, year and week number indications, as well as mission timers such as mission elapsed time (MET) and phase elapsed time (PET), and of course a backlight.
The Speedmaster bracelet of last year’s X-33 has been replaced by a green-blue Nato strap, the texture of which reminds us of the one we saw on the Speedmaster Professional Apollo 11 45th anniversary piece (hands-on here), although this time around with Omega branded metal hardware replacing the fabric loops of the strap – certainly a welcome choice.
The case-back, although for the most part covered by the NATO strap, is secured with eight screws and is stamped with the Solar Impulse “Around the World” patch and engraved with the name of the timepiece as well as the words “TESTED AND QUALIFIED BY ESA” (the European Space Agency). Being a limited edition of just 1,924 pieces – a number picked to commemorate the year that the first round-the-world flight took place as members of the United States Army Air Service flew around the world from 4 April to 28 September 1924 – it is here where we’ll likely find the individual number of the piece as well.
Price for the Omega Speedmaster Skywalker X-33 Solar Impulse Limited Edition is 4,900 Swiss francs, which presently accounts for around $5,200, which actually is $700 less than the version on the titanium bracelet we saw last year. omegawatches.com