Playing the inspired by vintage game is still a very hot market in 2016. Brands big and small keep playing the game, like TAG Heuer’s new Monza, Girard Perregaux’s Heritage 1957, or even Tiffany’s East West dress watch that takes inspiration from one of their desk clocks from the ‘40s. And now Omega's Globemaster Annual Calendar revitalizes the Globemaster and takes the heritage trend to a new level.
Over the years, Omega has reissued everything from the MKII Speedmaster to the Seamaster 300, and even the weird and polarizing Bullhead that I still have a weird soft spot for. Last year brought the 3-hand date model of the Globemaster and the first movement to receive Master Chronometer certification, making it the most accurate Omega ever produced. This year, the Globemaster added a clever annual calendar complication, a change in dial color, and a 2mm bump up in case diameter (bringing it up to 41mm over the previous 39). It boasts the same cutting edge features in its movement as the 2015 release did, a co-axial escapement, silicon balance spring, a free-sprung, adjustable mass balance, not to mention METAS certification against magnetic fields up to 15,000 gauss.
My initial take on Omega at Baselworld 2016 was that the Meteorite Speedy would be my top pick, however the Speedy proved too large for my liking after a few days of wear. I didn’t get too close a look at the Globemaster in Basel, but after reviewing the press imagery I thought it might win me over.
A lot of folks who aren’t overly familiar with Omega’s history were brutally quick to jump on the brand’s back for “ripping off Rolex” by using a fluted bezel. We didn’t get into it much when first mentioning the launch of the Globemaster or Annual Calendar, but Omega had a few variations of the Constellation back in the day that used a fluted bezel (seen here via Omegaforums.net), so to neglect their history is unfortunate. If you want to get even more nerdy, the fact that the bezel is made of ultra high-polish tungsten, and the fluting is much tighter on the Omega than it is on any current Rolexes makes them that much more different than one another.
With so much light reflection coming off the bezel, Omega was smart to leave the majority of the case in brushed stainless steel. Aside from a polished bevel running down each side of the case, the case lacks any extraneous details that would detract from the lovely “Pie-Pan” dial. I’m going to call this here and now. Sunburst grey with blue text and hands is THE one to buy. If you have a soft spot for gold, the Sedna Gold version with a slate dial is still respectable, and if you want to ratchet things way up to the platinum model, well, you’re on your own. The execution of this Annual Calendar is nothing short of awesome. Last year H. Moser & Cie rolled out their Perpetual Calendar that used a central pointer hand for the month indication at each of its 12 indices, but the use of script and a jumping pointer hand aimed at the gap between each marker gives a clean and concise read of month and day without cluttering the dial with an additional window. While not everyone will be fond of the script used for each month, I’ll take this over things like the Zenith El Primero Winsor Annual Calendar or other conventional executions any day of the week.
In The Field
The Globemaster arrived on its matching blue leather strap. The strap was a comfortable fit for the piece until temperatures cranked up into the low 90s. The dark shade of blue matched most of my wardrobe, it’s another watch that I found to transition quite well from day to night. On my 6 ¾” wrist, the Globemaster was never overpowering on my wrist, but its case is still somewhat thick, which means those liking a slim-cased watch for under their shirt cuffs might want to try on the watch before buying. Of course, casual me went down the path of NATO. I wasn’t entirely sure how well the pairing would work out at first, however occasionally throwing it onto a grey NATO strap worked out pretty well. Be warned, the watch winds up sitting pretty tall once you throw two layers of fabric behind it. If you’re already concerned about case thickness — after all the piece is already 14.71mm thick then you’ll want to stick with the suggested leather strap.
Because of the clean dial execution and contrasting blue hands, legibility on the Globemaster is pretty spectacular. It’s the kind of piece that you can glance at quickly, though your gaze is more likely to linger solely on account of wanting to admire how the light is reflecting off it (rather than in an effort to read it). The polished Tungsten is incredibly reflective, so there’s no being “under the radar” when walking around with the Globemaster unless it’s hidden under a shirt or jacket cuff. Getting back to the whole Rolex comparison, this is one respect where I’ll concede a similarity. You can’t hide a Day-Date, and you definitely cannot hide a Globemaster.
On all accounts it’s a bit tricky to find much fault with the watch. At a technical level, it’s one of Omega’s strongest offerings to date. It’s clean, simple and bold. Having waded my way through the heaps of Planet Oceans and Speedmasters, the Globemaster (and potentially the 39mm manual-winding CK2998) are easily the champs for the brand as far as I’m concerned — at least until they release another couple dozen new pieces next year.
The stainless-steel Omega Globemaster Annual Calendar will arrive in stores in October 2016 with a retail price of $8,600.