The New Omega Speedmaster Super Racing & The Spirate System (Live Pics & Price)
Omega delivers super-high precision ratings with a new spiral and fine-tuning architecture.
Ten years ago, in 2013, Omega presented the first stage of its journey towards higher levels of anti-magnetism and accuracy. With a model based on the Seamaster Aqua Terra, the brand developed a watch capable of resisting magnetic fields up to 15,000 gauss. This was the first milestone in a story that later, combined with the tech developed by the brand and its co-axial escapement, would introduce the Master Chronometer certification. To celebrate a decade of precision watchmaking, Omega writes a new chapter with a watch that feels familiar visually (based on a Speedmaster Racing) but hides a new hairspring and fine-tuning system – the Omega Spirate System. With a guaranteed accuracy of +0 and +2 seconds/day, it may well be the best-in-class for the industry. Meet the new Omega Speedmaster Super Racing.
In 2013, Omega claimed to have launched a watch with the highest level of magnetic resistance of any serially produced mechanical wristwatch. Resistant to magnetic fields of over 15,000 gauss (1,000,000 A/m or 1.5 Tesla), the Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra exceeded the magnetic resistance of most, if not all, other watches, thanks to the use of proprietary non-magnetic alloys for key movement components. Indeed, it was the movement that was magnetic-resistant, eliminating the need for a special protective case.
Following that, Omega, jointly with Metas, launched the Master Chronometer certification, which has become a best-in-class certification, combining all areas of control on the watch – precision, magnetism and even origin of the parts and watch – with an alleged accuracy of 0/+5 seconds/day. Everything is explained in these articles here and here and in this video.
The latest step to reach ever greater accuracy is named Spirate. A brand new spiral and fine-tuning architecture developed for the sake of precision, the new watch you see today has an alleged accuracy between +0 and +2 seconds/day. As a reminder, the idea of fine-tuning a watch is to bring the frequency of the balance wheel the closest as possible to the theoretical frequency – at 4Hz in the present case. This is done by adjusting the screws on the balances, but it isn’t as precise as some watchmakers would like. The other method is to act on the stiffness of the hairspring with an index or a swan-neck system.
With the Spirate, Omega has developed a new method to fine-tune the rate of a watch movement. It combines a new silicon hairspring architecture and a new eccentric tuning system with a snail cam acting on a flexible blade. This system, with its unprecedented finesse, allows regulation as close as 0.1 seconds/day. This is achieved with a graduated tuner – a nod to the design of old watches – with a snail-shaped index on the cock. The graduated tuner, which is still combined with the co-axial escapement, allows fine-tuning on a scale of 5 seconds, with increments of 0.1 seconds/day. Omega’s idea is to introduce Spirate technology into more collections in the near future.
The Omega Speedmaster Super Racing
Like previous Omega Speedmaster Super Racing models, this classic Speedie has two horizontal counters, an automatic movement and modern colours and looks. The case is identical to other Speedies with a 44.25mm diameter, a 50mm lug-to-lug and a height of 14.9mm. Made of steel, it retains the classic asymmetrical profile with lyre-shaped lugs, a box-shaped sapphire crystal and brushed and polished surfaces. The water-resistance rating remains at 50 metres. The crystal is framed by a ceramic bezel with a yellow Grand Feu enamel tachymeter scale… all classic features of the brand and the collection.
The dial of this Omega Speedmaster Super Racing is a bit more special; it pays tribute to the 2013 Aqua Terra with its combination of black with yellow accents. The dial has a new, rather cool grid/honeycomb pattern. It has a sandwich construction, with a laser-etched top plate with a honeycomb pattern and a DLC-coated lower plate. It features applied markers in yellow (with a new and exclusive Super-LumiNova colour) and the classic two-counter layout of the Racing collection: small seconds at 9 o’clock, chronograph counter with minutes and hours at 3 o’clock and date at 6 o’clock. Another reference to the 2013 AT watch is visible on the small second’s hand, with its bee-like yellow and black stripes. Finally, the date has a special 10 numeral as a nod to the decade of anti-magnetism and precision.
Inside the case of the Speedmaster Super Racing is the calibre 9920, based on the classic architecture of the 99xx series. This automatic, in-house movement features a double-barrel architecture with a 60-hour power reserve, a column wheel, a vertical clutch and, of course, the co-axial escapement now combined with the new Spirate System spiral. It is a certified Master Chronometer with 0/+2 sec/day accuracy. It retains the classic 4Hz frequency of other calibres from the series.
The watch is worn on the same bracelet as the Chronoscope – 3-link architecture, brushed and polished, with a folding clasp. The bracelet measures 21mm at the lugs and tapers to 16mm at the clasp. The clasp has a micro-adjustment with a push-and-slide mechanism. It allows a few millimetres of adjustment (about 5mm) for hot summer days. The presentation box also includes a black and yellow NATO textile strap.
Availability & Price
The Omega Speedmaster Super Racing (ref. 318.104.22.168.01.003) with its Spirate System will be part of the permanent collection and available from August 2023. It will be priced at CHF 10,200. More details at omegawatches.com.
I have been waiting for the Monochrome Watches “reveal” for this Omega announcement. As usual I am not disappointed. Great write up as always but there is a lot to unpack about the Cal.9920 movement and M. Goulard’s article really helps with that. My (very) early take on the watch is that it is slightly disappointing to see the 44.25mm case has not been skimmed down to perhaps 43mm like the Speedmaster Chronoscope but the new bracelet is a big improvement on the usual Racing/Moonphase bracelet (the bracelet is interchangeable between the two types of Speedmaster). I will need to dig into the movement a little more before I can comment on it but my first reaction is that Omega have actually moved the standards of mechanical watch accuracy forward quite a lot. While some will say Rolex has a similar standard they are deluding themselves as the so-called “Superlative Chronometer” standard is secretive with unpublished tests and unpublished results. Omega have staked a great deal on a far tighter timekeeping target but with published test criteria and, if you buy the watch, published results audited by a department of the Swiss Federal Government. That take a great deal of effort and confidence.
I think that this watch is a real step up for Omega. I love the fact that they are still working on further advancements in the world of horology. I love the aestetic of this watch and using the improved tapered bracelet was a great idea as well
Technically impressive, but aesthetically disjointed. I’m hoping this kind of accuracy makes its way down their line to watches I can wear while washing the dishes (minimum 150m). Omega do great movements. Just a shame they dilute most of their lines with a gazillion inane limited editions.
@SPQR – thanks again for your comment (sorry for the late reply, travelling back from Omega took some time) – it is really a tiny step on paper, but the R&D behind it is impressive. And again, it’s one other layer in Omega’s quest for quality, reliability, efficiency and accuracy… We’ll have a video very soon to show a bit more in-depth how it works.
@Matti – there are no limited editions anymore at Omega. All watches are either standard collection or special numbered editions, without a limitation (maybe some with a lower production, but nothing limited)
I would like this calíber in a 36 mm wrist watch
@Josep-Maria – since the movement alone is 32.5mm in diameter, it would very difficult to have it in a watch of 36mm. Maybe 39mm would be possible, but below seems very hard.