The Omega Speedmaster Day-Date
30 (vintage) minutes on the wrist
The Omega Speedmaster Day-Date
The 30 minutes on our wrist today are vintage and could be provided only by those who invented the 30 minutes on the wrist column, Horbiter. For us, vintage does not necessarily refer to the 70s or earlier, and if this classification does exist it’s of no interest to us, because as far as we’re concerned ‘Vintage’ can also be a watch created in the 90s, for in the past twenty years or so watchmaking has made tremendous strides and much has changed, including communication. Even though this particular watch looks so modern that it could easily be confused with one of the many contemporary versions of the Omega Speedmaster, manual or automatic, that have come out since 1957, the year of birth of one of the most celebrated chronographs in watchmaking history. The watch that happens to be on our wrist is from 1996, and it has such an up to date style that it could easily be confused with the current version of the ‘reduced’ Speedmaster, the 39/40mm automatic, a watch that is incredibly difficult to find, unless you can get access to the collection of a true watch aficionado. The Omega Speedmaster Automatic “Day Date” (reference number ST 375.0084 for the fans out there) was created in 1996 under the lucky star of a young and promising German race car driver and holder of two world titles, Michael Schumacher:
Having retired, the multiple times German champion is now the ambassador of the maison Audemars Piguet (article here). But in 1996, and for many years after that, he was the ambassador for Omega, contributing to the launching and advertising of the Speedmaster automatic series, the ‘reduced Speedy’ as it is affectionately referred to by collectors. An enthusiast who happens to have this Speedy in his collection is a fan of Formula 1 and a great admirer of Schumacher and readily admits to being lured by the commercial that came out in 1996 portraying the champion alongside one of his favorite brands, the Omega. The Ad was very effective: Michael lovingly gazing at a Speedmaster Day-Date with the braided bracelet and case forward. A perfect entente, attributing a definite racing image to a new version of the Speedmaster, projecting it from a total absence of gravity to environments in which gravity is at least 2 times that of earth. What’s so special about this watch? We’re more than happy to tell you…in detail. But doesn’t the dial remind you of something?
It’s inspired by the Omega Flightmaster of 1969, a manual winding chronograph for pilots, indicating the second time zone, both day and night, in the dial placed at 3 o’clock, with adjustment for the second time zone (blue hand) at 10 o’clock and the internal rehaut at 8 o’clock. And a beautiful curved mineral crystal. This watch is adored by collectors, and not just Omega collectors, throughout the world. The dial of the Omega Speedmaster Day-Date, an automatic chronograph with calendar, reinterprets this scheme, with a blue and black day-night pointer for ordinary seconds and a color combination of tremendous skill – blue, yellow and red are a perfect blend:
When the chronograph is stopped you have three perfectly aligned red tipped baton hands, with a small dual color dial at 9 o’clock and the hand indicating the days of the hybrid calendar that ends with a yellow arrow fashioned like a jet…wow! It is a watch of absolutely disconcerting modernity, very attractive and with a clear allusion to aeronautics, but it is a 100% Speedmaster as you can tell from the unmistakable bracelet, the typical propeller shaped lugs, the chrono push-down buttons and the Speedmaster logo on the caseback. At the same time it has a strong vintage feel that reminds you of watches from a time prior to the 90s and to the history of watch-making. Which ones? Note the Arabic numerals...we’re talking about a period before the wide use of the SuperLuminova. Yes, perhaps you’ve reached the same conclusion. They are covered in Tritium, which means that if you and a friend purchased this Omega Speedmaster Day-Date 17 years ago, the two dials would be different, because tritium changes color over time, but does so in a different manner for each watch, making your Omega Speedmaster Day-Date absolutely and totally unique (please see the photos below made with a weak light). You just can’t get more vintage than that! Another reason to add this watch to your collection today, because it will very probably be much sought after in a very short time.
(Photo credit: Google, Horbiter's photo shooting)
Gaetano C. @Horbiter - Watches & Luxury