While Omega released a series of sporty new models at Basel this year, few stood out like their new Spacemaster Z-33. The Z-33 is Omega’s follow up to the discontinued but much-loved X-33 (you can read our review of the X-33 Ref 3991.52 here). Returning back to the Ana-Digi game is no small affair for Omega as the X-33 has achieved cult status and is quite collectable on today’s secondary markets. The X-33 is one of only two Omegas to qualify for use in space by NASA, the other being the mechanically-powered and exceedingly famous Speedmaster. Since being discontinued in 2006, buyers have been hunting for the unique Omega X-33 with its curved display, titanium case and legendary 80db alarm. Has Omega managed to create a fitting sequel to the X-33, or have the made something that is entirely different, a quartz multifunction for modern-day Omega?
The X-33 presents Omega with a large pair of shoes to fill and Omega seems to have combined many different elements into a super legible and retro-inspired design. The Spacemaster Z-33 features a 43 mm titanium case which is 19.85 mm thick and 53 mm lug to lug. The titanium crown controls the analogue hands while the pushers control the Z-33′s many features. The Z-33 uses its twin lcd displays to show date, UTC, dual timezones, chronograph, countdown timer, alarm and perpetual calendar information. Omega has also included a flight log feature that will allow pilots to log flight data with date and hour indications. The twin displays look very cool with red-on-black readouts and they even a feature a back-lighting system which automatically adapts its brightness to ambient lighting conditions. The Z-33 comes fitted with a sapphire crystal and a solid case back designed to amplify the alarm tone and still provide a minimal 30m (100ft) of water resistance.
The flaw of most ana-digi watches is that the screens are often obstructed by the hands as they display analogue time. Omega battles this issue in two stages on the Z-33, combining the pass-though view of a skeleton handset with the ability to have the hands disengage and point in a direction that does not block either screen (activated by pressing the 8 o’clock pusher). Both analogue and digital functions are managed by the new Omega 5666 thermo-compensated quartz movement which is powered by a traditional lithium battery that should last about two years before needing to be replaced. Omega does not make direct reference to the accuracy of this new movement but we hope that it will provide better accuracy than standard quartz movements which run +/- 15 seconds a month.
The Z-33 will come fitted to a signed rubber strap but Omega is also offering an optional leather strap. Aesthetically, the Z-33 is very different from the X-33, to my eyes the Z-33 looks quite a bit more sporty and may have lost some of the futuristic design that made the X-33 stand out. We have yet to see a Z-33 in person but the nearly 20 mm height may turn away buyers who were interested in the Z-33 as a novelty but don’t require its laundry list of features in their everyday lives. Pricing and availability have yet to be announced.