A couple of weeks ago, we presented Omega’s latest chronograph creation, a surprising take on the most famous of the brand’s timepieces, a complex, visually different edition of the Speedmaster named Chronoscope. While we extensively covered the reasons behind the name and all the specifications surrounding the six stainless steel editions in this in-depth article, I wanted to come back on the most characterful and probably (at least to me) attractive of the versions. One that isn’t made of stainless steel and one that has a far less sporty attire. Let’s take a closer look at the Omega Speedmaster Chronoscope Bronze Gold.
Chronoscope is a name that resonates in Omega’s history. It was already in use in 1885, and far more recently, it was attached to the De Ville Chronograph watches. Behind this name is a tribute to the brand’s past, to watches from the 1930s and 1940s equipped with classic multi-scale dials, watches that were made to perform calculations at a time when such timekeeping instruments were proper, functional instruments. The name Chronoscope itself is a well-chosen one since ‘chronograph’ is sort of an established mistake within the industry; the graph in the name means ‘to write’ in English, while scope means ‘to observe’ and would thus be a more realistic description – all of that is explained in detail, here. Omega explains that the Chronoscope is “a device used to accurately determine the duration of a phenomenon“, which is exactly what this watch is all about.
While the collection revolves around six different references in stainless steel – three different dial colours (silver, blue, panda) available either on strap or bracelet – the brand has decided to add a seventh version that is clearly separated from the rest. And while this special Omega Speedmaster Chronoscope shares the same specifications, proportions and technical solutions as the steel models, it has a different look since the materials are different.
The main specificity of this Omega Speedmaster Chronoscope Bronze Gold is about the proprietary alloy used for the case. An internal development, Bronze Gold is the result of Omega’s studies on bronze, one of the trendiest materials these days. Since Omega didn’t want an alloy that would tarnish or oxidise with external aggressions, instead, it developed something that is both stable and slightly luxurious too. Omega’s Bronze Gold is made of 50% copper (the main element of classic bronze alloys), 37.5% gold, silver for the colour and smaller percentages of gallium (a very rare metal that melts at 30 degrees) and palladium. It provides a very specific colour, closer to traditional bronze (at least when new) and different from the brand’s other proprietary gold alloys (Sedna and Moonshine). At the same time, it qualifies as 9k gold and can thus be stamped with hallmarks. The result is an interesting colour and shine, different from anything you’ve seen before. And, importantly, it lets you enjoy a bronze colour without the disagreeable discolouration and oxidation.
For the rest, the case of the Omega Speedmaster Chronoscope Bronze Gold is identical to the steel models we’ve covered extensively here. By no means a small watch, it measures 43mm in diameter. But, keep in mind that it’s just 1mm more than a classic Moonwatch, that the case is reasonably thin at 12.8mm (less than a Moonwatch) and that the lug-to-lug measurement is only 48mm, which is relatively compact considering the diameter (a dimension that is usually seen on 40-41mm watches). On the wrist, the watch has a certain heft but feels balanced and comfortable – it will suit most men’s wrists. Plus, the colour is actually very pleasant and less polarising than traditional yellow or rose gold.
There are other points of differentiation on this Omega Speedmaster Chronoscope Bronze Gold. While it retains the box-shaped sapphire crystal, the classic twisted lugs and the signature asymmetrical design of the Speedy, it also features a bezel with a ceramic insert (aluminium on the steel models) with a tachymeter scale that is executed in vintage-coloured enamel. The Bronze Gold case retains a 50m water-resistance, and here, it is worn on a brown leather strap with a pin buckle matching the case’s material.
The dial of the Omega Speedmaster Chronoscope is certainly the most polarising and surprising element of this watch. While the Speedmaster has often been a utilitarian and somewhat minimalist watch, this Chronoscope model is all about visual complexity, with no fewer than three different scales printed in successive concentric circles. There are three tachymeter scales – from 500 to 60 units on the bezel, and a secondary scale, on two levels, which is at the centre of the dial and can measure speeds from 60 to 20 units. Also, you’ll find a telemeter and pulsometer, both printed on the inner part of the dial. The watch has a bi-compax layout, with a small seconds at 9 o’clock and a minutes/hours sub-counter at 3 o’clock… and no date!
Another specificity of this Speedmaster Chronoscope Bronze Gold is the material of the dial. Just like the Seamaster 300 Bronze Gold, the dial of this Chronoscope is made of solid bronze. The colour is the result of a natural oxidation process, resulting in this dark, not too warm grey-brown colour. It is paired with silver-coloured sub-counters and has Arabic numerals applied on its surface, as well as bronze coloured leaf-shaped hands… elements that are clearly not the traditional apanage of a Speedmaster.
We’ve heard comments regarding the steel models, mostly pointing that the complexity of the dial and its vintage appeal (1930s inspiration) were not in line with the modernity of the case (inspired by 1960s Speedmasters). Well, I think that in this more luxurious and warmer context, assisted by the colour of Bronze Gold and the darker colour of the bronze dial, the combination is very pleasant to the eye, and the watch really does work – it is personal, of course, but I think the balance is right!
Under the sapphire caseback is a newly developed hand-wound calibre 9908, responsible for the lowered height of the case. Based on the automatic Co-Axial Master Chronometer 99xx Series, it retains all the specifications of these automatic versions – double barrel, 60h power reserve, 4Hz frequency, anti-magnetic properties, co-axial escapement, Master Chronometer certification – but now displays a decorated ¾ plate with arabesque Geneva stripes radiating from the centre of the balance. The chronograph function is still actuated by a top-tier combination of column wheel and vertical clutch.
The Omega Speedmaster Chronoscope Bronze Gold Co-Axial Master Chronometer 43mm (ref. 3188.8.131.52.10.001) will be released in November 2021 as part of the permanent collection. It will retail for EUR 13,900 or CHF 14,000.
For more details, please visit omegawatches.com.
This content was originally published here.
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