Watchmakers have long sought to add additional, practical utilities to chronograph-equipped timepieces, most often in the form of scales on the dial or bezel that can be used in concert with the stopwatch function to make measurements. The most popular type of these is the tachymeter, a mainstay on popular chronographs like Omega’s legendary Speedmaster, followed by less widespread but still useful and attractive functions like telemeters and pulsimeters. Rarely if ever has a watch offered all three of these scales together, but Omega has now done so, quite masterfully, with its latest collection, the Speedmaster Chronoscope.
The name of the new collection is derived from the Greek words “chronos,” meaning time, and “scope,” meaning to observe, and pays tribute to vintage Omega chronograph watches from the 1940s with their spiral track patterns, snailed subdials, and leaf-shaped hands. The watches “observe time” on three distinct scales: the tachymeter scale on the bezel, which measures speed based on how far the wearer has travelled; the telemeter scale on the inner dial, which measures the wearer’s distance from a visible, audible event like a lightning strike; and the pulsimeter, also inscribed on the dial, which measures a heartbeat based on a 30-minute scale.
Omega is offering seven models total of the Speedmaster Chronoscope, all with 43-mm cases. Six of these cases are in stainless steel, with a mixture of brushed and polished finishes on their surfaces, while the other one is in Omega’s exclusive bronze gold alloy, which made its debut earlier this year on a Seamaster 300 model. The steel models come with a silvery dial with blued hands and numerals; a blue dial with rhodium-plated hands and numerals; or a “panda”-style dial that combines a silver main dial with contrasting black subdials and blackened hands. Each variation comes on either a leather strap, with micro-perforations revealing a red underside, or a polished steel bracelet with a patented comfort release system. All the steel timepieces use anodized aluminum for their tachymeter-scale bezel rings, which are a longtime hallmark of the Speedmaster collection.
The seventh Speedmaster Chronoscope, with a case made of Bronze Gold and a dial of oxided bronze with contrasting opaline subdials, uses polished brown ceramic for that selfsame bezel. In another design first for Omega, the tachymeter scale on the bezel is executed in “vintage” enamel. The leaf-shaped hands and Arabic numerals have a Bronze-Gold-colored PVD coating. The watch is mounted on a brown leather strap with a sandblasted-and-polished buckle also made of Bronze Gold, which is a special alloy that blends gold with other noble materials like palladium and silver to create both a lustrous rose-gold-like shine as well as high corrosion resistance.
Beating inside all the models of the Speedmaster Chronoscope, and on display behind a sapphire caseback, is a manually wound manufacture caliber, the Omega Co-Axial Master Chronometer Caliber 9908. Among its noteworthy features are the Geneva waves in Arabesque that radiate outward from the balance wheel rather from the center of the bridge — the first time that Omega has executed this distinctive, high-horology finish in this way. Omega has also included two mainspring barrels with an anti-wear DLC coating for improved power reserve and a column wheel for precise functioning of the chronograph. Like most all modern Omega in-house calibers, the movement meets the strict criteria of a Master Chronometer as established by the brand in cooperation with the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology, or METAS.
The Speedmaster Chronoscope in steel is priced at $8,300 on a strap and $8,650 on a bracelet, while the Bronze Gold model is $14,100.