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MartynJC (UK)

Omega Speedmaster SKYWALKER X-33 Review - 318.90.45.79.01.001 >>>

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Quote Originally Posted by MartynJC (UK) View Post
Review of the Omega Speedmaster Skywalker X-33



Model number: 318.90.45.79.01.001

This review comes from someone who is a massive space fan, so do bear that in mind

History and Introduction
This is the third edition of the X-33 to be in production the previous production models are generally named as the Generation 1 and Generation 2. The have been prototypes leading up to the design used in testing. Some history is given here:

(pages kindly photographed from the huge Omega book at my local Omega AD at the Royal Exchange, London):





External aesthetics
The watch case and bracelet are made from Titanium (Grades 2 and 5 links for the bracelet). The bracelet cover and opening pushers are grade 5 titanium, the inner folding clasp is grade 2.



The case back is engraved with the familiar Speedmaster Hypocampus but also includes an inscription indicating it is tested and qualified by esa (European Space Agency).



It has an unusual crown design that unlike a 'standard' watch, has no function when turned – rather all settings are made using the four pushers equal spaced on the four quadrants of the case. And it is designed to be pushed IN rather than pulled OUT like the earlier versions



The case is stated as being 45mm in size but after looking carefully at the website this is the dimension across the watch including the pushers - if the pushers are not included I estimate the diameter more like 42mm. It sit very comfortably only 6 3/4" wrist in a similar size to the Gen2 X-33 that is meant to be smaller. There is a slight size difference but it is marginal.



This edition has a black face with very legible LCD with three registers allowing for a variety of information to be displayed - and if that is not enough a quick double push of the crown shows a second page of information -

For example on the standard day display the LCD shows:

Page 1: MM.DD. YY HH24:MM:SS
where MM=Month in digits, DD=Day in digits YY=Last two digits of the year (YYYY is actually stored) and time 24H format

Page 2: NNN WNN DAY HH24:MM:SS
where NNN=day number since the beginning of the year, WNN= Week number since the beginning of the year



The red second hand moves each second and the minute hand moves in 30sec increments - and hit the markers precisely - Omega have done a good job here!



I have yet to get a total lume shot, but I can confirm the markers, hands, and 12 o'clock bezel marker are all illuminated. The hands are baton style rather than the previous broad-arrow style of the Gen 1.2.



Water Resistance
This is not designed as a dive watch. However Omega documentation has some interesting notes on this. The echo chamber which enable such a loud >80dB alarm (designed to be heard over cabin and engine noise) is also a weakness and liable to buckling under increased negative pressure. Apparently without the echo chamber it might have been rated at 10bar. Nevertheless, it is noted to have been rigourously tested for water resistance and is listed at to be water resistant to 3ATM negative pressure. I have already worn mine in my local sauna - probably the harshest environment I will ever be in.

Documented tests (Omega / ESA)
The Skywalker has passed rigorous testing at ESA’s technical heart, ESTEC, in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, where many ESA satellites are put through their paces before launch.

The timepiece proved itself capable of surviving anything an astronaut might experience – and more. First, it displayed ruggedness by surviving ESTEC’s shaker simulating the intense vibrations of a launch. Then it was spun in a centrifuge to reach seven times the gravity we feel on Earth, just like an astronaut might endure when returning to our planet.

The next step was to analyse its performance after sitting in a vacuum chamber with temperatures ranging from –45°C to +75°C, a far greater range than an astronaut would ever have to endure.

Finally, the watch was blasted with radiation in Sweden under supervision by France’s ONERA/DESP aerospace centre to simulate space radiation. Each watch was inspected visually and its functions were reviewed before and after each test.



Function
Omega Caliber: 5619

I really can't go into all the functions of this watch - according to one site's description - this is how the movements functions are given: "Having flown in space three times in the 1990s, Clervoy came upon an idea for improving wristwatches so they could track mission events in a way suitable for astronauts.

The Skywalker's Mission Elapsed Time (MET) and Phase Elapsed Time (PET) allow astronauts to set mission time or the time for a task for any date in the past or future and calculate how much time remains or has elapsed.

In addition, there are 19 functions including multiple alarms with different ringtones, time zones, perpetual calendar, chronograph, and countdown functions."
ref: http://www.gizmag.com/esa-omega-spee...ywalker/35197/

I have notice you can set dates way into the future - I kinda gave up after the year value went past 2500!

Everything s referenced from UTC (Universal Time Coordinates). Once that is programmed everything else falls into place.

Features I use.
Multiple TZ - T1 is my local time = UTC+1 = BST ; T2 is office time in Hyderabad as in UTC+4:30H - is not affected by summer or winter times - I have programmed the MET to be from Jan 1st this year - 6hours relative to T1 (my local time) for CDT or CST in winter. I have one of the 3 PETs set to 1.1.2016 00:00:00 so I can see how many days to new years day. Also - Countdown Timer is also useful, Day alarm for waking me up in the morning.

The movement is thermo-compensated for added accuracy - I am expected a few seconds variance a year. My Gen2 is also (now) equiped with a TC movement and measures up to this standard.

Conclusions
I am throughly enjoying this watch - hours of fun. It is quite a stealth watch due to it's 'matt' finish it remains unnoticed. Great to see it being used in the ISS and I can only dream of counting down the mission take off time while I sit stationary on my commuter train.

Thanks for reading.

Martyn
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