Which is your favorite 9900 Speedmaster?
Omega has had an immense variety on offer for fans and collectors alike in 2017, but one of our favorite collective releases this year are the new variants of the Master Chronometer Speedmaster 'Racing' in stainless steel. Since Russ and I each have a different favorite amongst the four variants, we'd love to know your favorite!
Before you decide which one you like the best, here's a bit of a refresher: the 9900-series Master Chronometer Speedmasters share some of the same features and dimensions as the perennial favorite ceramic 'Side of the Moon' series Speedmasters. This includes the bi-compax register layout, domed sapphire glass front and back, ceramic tachymeter scale with Liquid Metal numerals, and 44.25mm case – which wears much smaller than the specs belie, thanks to its relatively short lug-to-lug width. Note that all images below are on my wrist which measures 7". The Speedmaster Racing is slightly thinner than the Dark Side of the Moon series as it features the Niad case back.
The movement within both the Dark Side of the Moon series and the Speedmaster Co-Axial series has plenty of mechanical features that distinguish it from ETA calibre movements, but the Speedmaster 9900 takes it up a level.
The 9300 movements feature two barrels mounted in series that helps maintain consistent accuracy throughout all levels of charge. It also features Omega's "time zone" function (ie: a jumping hour hand) that allows for independently adjusting the hour hand without hacking the watch (particularly handy when traveling), Nivachoc shock absorber, and a chronograph totalizer that allows for the chronograph hours and minutes to both be read in the three o'clock subdial.
In essence, the 9900 calibre movement is an upgraded version of the 9300 with even more resistance to magnetic fields due to new components such as the balance spring, escapement wheel, and pallet fork made of anti magnetic materials. Furthermore, though the 9300 is certified by the COSC before it is cased in the watch, 9900 models undergo further testing as a fully-cased watch by the third-party testing organization, Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology (METAS).
METAS testing is done to externally validate quality standards beyond those used by the COSC. Watches that pass the METAS certification process earn the designation of Master Chronometer. Where the COSC rates a fully charged watch movement in five positions, Master Chronometer watches complete a second certification that essentially validate the capabilities of the 9300. METAS ensures that the watches are accurate not just to the COSC standard of -4 to +6 seconds a day, but that they are accurate to their stricter specification of zero to +5 seconds a day.
METAS also subject the watch to a series of tests that OMEGA innovations only first seen in the 8500 and 9300 enable it to pass. For instance, one of the tests ensures that the rate is fairly close when the watch is at both a 33% charge and at full charge. Another test insures that the power reserve achieves the promised 60 hours. This is only possible due to the use of dual barrels that were first introduced on the 8500 (non chronograph) and 9300 Calibres. There is also the 15,000 gauss magnetic resistance test that only the most recent (version C) of the 8500 could pass. METAS also performs other tests such as water resistance, which is only possible to validate on a fully cased watches. WatchTime magazine has a great article that describes the METAS test in more detail. OMEGA also provides a description of the METAS certification here.
1) Black and Orange on a micro-perforated black leather strap
This reference is probably the most 'known' of the new 9900 Speedmasters, as it was released prior to Basel, and drew a lot of attention for its sporty and dynamic color scheme. The orange varnished hands offer a nice, playful contrast to the dark black applied chronograph registers, and the 18K white gold lume-filled indices. Due mostly to the perforated leather rally strap, this is the sportiest of the four options, though it could still be dressed up without too much effort.
2) Black and White on black crocodile leather strap
For those looking for that classic formal Speedmaster aesthetic, but with a decidedly modern twist, this is your reference. This is the one of the four that most closely resembles the 42mm manual wind Speedmaster Professional. Instead of the leather "rally style" strap, it features a more formal alligator strap with high contrast stitching.
3) Silver and Orange on brown leather strap
At the risk of poisoning our poll, If you've been following our posts all summer, you 'might' already know that I'm extremely fond of this reference. The brushed silver dial combined with the applied elements and textures is at once dynamic, yet classy – and the orange accents add just a touch of sportiness without ever getting too casual. While the black dial models look pretty much the same in different lighting, the silver seems to have the most variance in color, ranging from very light to medium grey. The brown leather strap that comes on this reference is particularly cool. It's like the Aqua Terra barenia leather straps, but less homogenous. notice how it looks as if the patina has already started to form as it's darker nearest to the case and lightens as it makes its way down the wrist. This strap will continue develop an even more pronounced patina over time.
4) White and Black on black crocodile leather
The white dial Speedmaster Racing is probably the most legible of the four variants, and the choice for someone who likes unusual dial treatments. The sub dials aren't a solid black so it's more "panda light" than panda. Unlike the other models which feature solid or subtle sunburst patterns, the white dial features a textured matte white dial. This is the first time I've seen this type of texture on an Omega. It It comes standard on the same black crocodile strap with high contrast stitching as the black dial with steel colored hands, but it would also look great with a natural light brown strap or the OEM rally strap.
So what do you think – which one's your favorite? As usual, if you are interested in learning more or ordering one of these new 9900 Speedmasters, we welcome you to give us a call at 888-730-2221 or email us at email@example.com.The Topper Blog consists mainly of original writing by Rob & Russ Caplan with occasional special contributions and interviews. All photography in the blog is taken at Topper Fine Jewelers , or on location unless otherwise indicated in the photo captions.