Omega. A Fine Titanium Quartz Chronograph Dual Time Perpetual Calendar Wristwatch with Analogue and Digital Display, Center Seconds, Alarm, Light, International Warranty, and Box
X-33The striking design of the X-33, the so called Mars Watch, began in 1995. A very early prototype was produced with huge input from both American and European astronauts. They were able to identify those specifications that would be most helpful to them and in some cases absolutely necessary while navigating in space. In fact, the design of the X-33 was aided by a number of important individuals that understood what was required first hand, namely Astronaut Tom Stafford who was the successful Commander of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project flight as well as two Gemini flights to name a few. Others were also responsible for its acclaimed design such as the United States Air Demonstration Squadron pilots of the Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds. Such influence was of paramount importance so that this watch could meet industry standards and perfectly serve the venturous men who wore it.The first design of 1995 had the name Flightmaster on the dial, with no indication of Speedmaster Professional or X-33 at this time. It housed the caliber ETA 990.431, had a standard decibel alarm, and was fitted with a blue anodized rotating bezel. The four screwed pushers were prominent on the case where a removable titanium bracelet was available. With big demand and interest, the following prototype was developed just one year later. This housed the caliber ETA E20.301 and had a double case back which allowed for a much louder alarm. It had a steel bezel and once again had four screwed pushers located on both sides of the case. These early designs evoked a somewhat less streamlined aesthetic to the X-33 model that was to follow.In 1998 came the third example, now fully demonstrating the intention from OMEGA to reach perfection with this multifunctional and largely complicated timepiece. Designed to be used inside the space module, this watch had a more modern hybrid display that was bright enough to see in the obscurity of deep space. With an analogue display for hours, minutes and seconds it also had a digital display which would be for the various and extensive functions that this watch could provide. These included universal GMT time, a perpetual calendar, and a chronograph. Designed to be operated with gloves, the crown requires a push as opposed to the more conventional turning which allows for a more convenient way to use it in the more limited capacity of a spacecraft. Now the dial carried the admirable designation of OMEGA Speedmaster Professional. Over the five year testing period, this watch had come to meet all of the specifications that the astronauts requested. It was indeed flight qualified to be used on the next 100 missions of the NASA Shuttle and was worn on this module from the beginning of 1998, but also worn on the Russian space station Mir. Specifically, it was Russian Astronaut Victor Afansiev who wore the X-33 aboard the Mir. During his career he has remarkably logged over 2000 flight hours in more than 40 different aircrafts.The X-33 from 1998 is now out of production for the general public which makes it increasingly harder to find. OMEGA still continued to produce watches with similar design features such as the Z-33 and the Skywalker X-33, although the original X-33 from the late 1990s really showed OMEGA's innovative strengths and ability for diversification.
Omega. A Fine Titanium Quartz Chronograph Dual Time Perpetual Calendar Wristwatch with Analogue and Digital Display, Center Seconds, Alarm, Light, International Warranty, and Box

SIGNED OMEGA, SPEEDMASTER, PROFESSIONAL, X-33 MODEL, MOVEMENT NO. 56’237’583, CASE REF. 1861998-3861998, MANUFACTURED IN 1998

Details
Omega. A Fine Titanium Quartz Chronograph Dual Time Perpetual Calendar Wristwatch with Analogue and Digital Display, Center Seconds, Alarm, Light, International Warranty, and Box
Signed Omega, Speedmaster, Professional, X-33 Model, Movement No. 56’237’583, Case Ref. 1861998-3861998, Manufactured in 1998
Cal. 1666 quartz movement, 9 jewels, digital dial, luminous baton numerals on an outer grey chapter ring, outer fifths of a second divisions, luminous 'broad arrow' hands, red tipped center seconds hand, tonneau-shaped water-resistant-type case, unidirectional rotating bezel calibrated for 60 units, fluted lugs, screw back with seahorse logo, SPEEDMASTER and O in relief and engraved FLIGHT QUALIFIED BY NASA FOR SPACE MISSIONS, Omega crown, four rectangular chronograph buttons in the band, titanium OMEGA bracelet stamped 1998/998, deployant clasp, overall approximate length 7.5 inches, case, dial and movement signed
30mm diam.
Provenance
From the Private Collection of Riccardo Bernard

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Lot Essay

Accompanied by an OMEGA Extract from the Archives confirming delivery of the present watch on 12 January 1998 to Singapore. Further accompanied by an undated OMEGA International Warranty, OMEGA pictograms card, operating instructions, Worldwide Service Center booklet, OMEGA presentation box, OMEGA polishing cloth, outer packaging, and one additional OMEGA strap.

OMEGA officially launched the Speedmaster Professional X-33 in March 1998, at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. The unveiling was conducted with a live satellite uplink to the Russian Mir space station, which already had pre-release prototypes of the X-33 aboard for final testing. The X-33 derives its name from the code name of a new space shuttle planned by NASA at the beginning of the 1990’s. It fulfilled all the specifications established in over five year tests with the American and European astronauts including professional pilots.

The OMEGA Speedmaster Professional X-33 watch, also referred to as the Mars Watch was designed with a multifunctional analogue display. This was a concept that, although seeming like a departure for OMEGA, was actually something the company been developing and improving upon since the 1980's. OMEGA had been making watches with similar qualifications but without such sophisticated mission-specific functions of the X-33, for example, the Seamaster Multifunction had been made since 1986 using the caliber 1665 quartz multifunction movement.

The case is made of titanium, a light, ultra-resistant and anti-allergenic material. With four pushers and a three-position crown, it is also equipped with a loud alarm function and powerfully lit dial. The sound of a regular alarm would certainly be inaudible within the space shuttle and therefore OMEGA made one of an astounding 80 decibels as well presenting the digital display as larger and with more contrast.

In summer 2006 OMEGA announced that the Speedmaster Professional X-33 would be discontinued and only available to space agencies like NASA for space flight missions. It still remains available to military aviators under under the Military Pilot Program.

The present watch is illustrated and described in OMEGA, A Journey Through Time by Marco Richon, 2007, p. 638.
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