Speedmasters? Much loved, yes, but far too common today. Well, yes maybe. We still love all things Speedy and this is a rare beast. An X-33 ‘Skywalker’. But this has a possibly unique connection to none other than James Bond. As many will know, Commander Bond has for many years been seen wearing various Omega models as he saves the world. This particular watch is engraved with Pierce Brosnan’s name on the case back as well as the title of one of his best films in the role, “The World is not Enough”.
Aside from its connection to Hollywood, this is a very clean example of an intriguing watch. It was developed by Omega using feedback from American and European astronauts and military pilots as to what sort of functionality would be beneficial. Omega’s advertising strapline for the watch showed a photo of a lunar buggy with the words “Also available on Earth”.
So what functions sit within its titanium case of the Omega Speedmaster Pro X-33 3250.90.?
4 pushers (actually 5 as the crown acts as a pusher also), a large display with local time, date (perpetual calendar), programmable alarm that sounds at 80 decibels!, mission timer, mission alarm, universal time (GMT), universal alarm, countdown timer (with alarm) and a chronograph.
The crown selects the functions of the watch and the other buttons are used to stop, start and reset. The lower left pusher is used to activate the light of the display (8 lux) and the upper left button is used to swap between the current function of the dial (for example date or chronograph) and the mission timer. The mission timer (MT) is always the 2nd function of this button. It takes some getting used to, but once mastered, the functionality and legibility of the analogue/digital dial are exemplary. Sadly it does not come with the original manual but this can be found on the internet.
This timepiece is in overall excellent pre-owned condition with only a few light marks on the sapphire crystal and case. It has a fresh battery and all the functions work well, including that extremely loud alarm!
This watch is a first-generation model, dating it to 1999. About 2 years later on the watch was updated with a new crown, satin-brushed bezel and buttons and a ‘Certified by NASA for Space Missions’ engraving in the case back. It was only available to the public until 2006, so there aren’t dozens to choose from.
The watch comes with 3 straps. A dark green synthetic strap with Omega buckle, a red silicone aftermarket strap (which echoes the original offering of a red kevlar strap) and a green nylon astronaut style strap. So you’re spoilt for choice!
So what is the story behind the engraved case back? To be honest we do not know precisely. The X-33 was a key launch for Omega in 1999, even though it did not appear in the film. Bond wears an Omega Seamaster 300metre quartz. It does have a grappling hook however, an option that Omega never made available to the public! The film was released in 1999.
So an educated guess is that a small number were engraved with the title of the film and also the handwritten “Love Pierce”. They were then used by the Bond actor as personal gifts given to key members of the crew. Assuming we are correct (we’re still chasing Mr Brosnan to ask him, but Hollywood stars can be elusive), this makes this a very rare example of a watch that is rare anyway. Along with the box, we obtained a signed poster for the film which shows the similarity of the signature on the watch to Brsonan’s autograph on the poster. Perhaps they were given out at the Wrap party for the film?
So if you love outer space, the world of 007, the most famous Secret Agent of all and unusual Speedmasters – this is the watch for you.