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THE X-33 PROTOTYPE







When the requirement was established for a new wristwatch with multi-functional capabillity and which met all the criteria for flight-qualification, OMEGA produced two prototypes. The first was made in a batch of 100 units





It featured a single case back but offered a low-decibel alarm.

The second prototype incorporated a double caseback which amplified the alarm to 80 decibels – the loudest alarm on a watch. Development of the X-33 thus began in 1995 with evaluation of the units produced being made by astronauts on both sides of the Atlantic as well as pilots of the Blue Angels and Thunderbird squadrons. The evaluative process which lasted a total of 5 years concluded with the advent of the Speedmaster Professional X-33. At the specific request of NASA, titanium was used as the case material owing to its’ properties, that of being hypo-allergenic, non –ferrous, non-magnetic, light and being extremely robust. The watch featured an analogue and a digital display in company with many higher functions which were a result of the evaluative process.




The Flightmaster above, numbered 09/22 was made in 1996. It was housed in a titanium case and presented on a titanium and stainless steel bracelet with deployment clasp. Its’ polished, brushed case featured a bezel with minute and seconds divisions. Its’ double caseback was secured by no less than nine screws. The dial of this new watch which was then still under wraps highlighted a green display with luminous painted baton indexes. An outer minute track had 1/5th sub-divisions for seconds much like its’ manually-wound sibling. Luminous inserts were provided for the feather-shaped hands with the main shaft of the minute hand painted in red.


To be flight-qualified, the X-33 had to satisfy its’ evaluators of the following criteria –

- accuracy to within -0.3 to +0.5 seconds per day
- water and pressure resistance to 3 bars
- shock resistant to 3500 g's
- be antimagnetic
- temperature resistant from -20 degrees C to +70 degrees
- have a special alarm
- lighting
- pass all vacuum tests


In addition to absolute time the watch also displayed
Military time,
Universal Time (GMT)
and mission elapse time (MET)

with an an alarm for each. This was a necessity since while most tasks on spacecraft are performed according to MET, the Space Shuttle uses Central time and the ISS is on Universal Time. Thus having all these times available on one watch it reduces the need for multiple watches. That apart, it is however not unusual to see astronauts wearing two watches, often in the case of the “X-33” one with a titanium bracelet and one with a Kevlar bracelet. This purpose of this is provide the user with instant recognition of which watch was performing which function. The name eventually given to the watch was the Omega code name for the project. It was to become so popular that the name was retained as the designated name for the watch. It was then decided that the watch would be placed in the Speedmaster Professional line due to its association with manned space flight.


Functions of the X-33 as tested

- TIME ( hr, min, sec )
- perpetual calendar ( day, date, month, year )
- ALARM
- MT elapsed mission time up to 999 days
- MA elapsed mission time alarm
- UT universal time (two timezones with day number)
- UA universal time alarm
- CDT countdown up to 100 hrs with alarm
- CHR chronograph to 1/100 second up to 100 hrs
- End of battery life indicator


Dimensions

Diameter 44 x 49 mm

Case Depth 15mm



A pilot’s impression of the X-33
http://www.timezone.com/library/comarticles/comarticles631681530107424115








Pictures - antiquorum.com, sources





:)




Houston


 

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Very nice and interesting... Have been reading a lot about it these last couple of months. But find them quite expensive, and just can't get used to the fact it's quartz (although that's exactly the reason for it's existence)...
 

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Discussion Starter #4
A case depth of 15mm seems a lot to me but I do like the X-33 as has been expressed elsewhere before.

That it is shock-resistant is for me a pretty good reason to contemplate ownership.


Be well pals :)

ZIN
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The dial of the above watch has the "T" notation on either side of " Swiss Made " in the six o'clock position.

It was made in 1996 so was Tritium a requirement?

In fact does anyone know when Superluminova was used in place of Tritium please?


Thanks guys


Be well now :)

ZIN
 

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Ditto on the Bond bracelet for me Fergie. Though I like JW's straps below as well. I just seem to like that Bond bracelet whatever it's on. John
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Hey Gee Jaay

You know we're ready to serve the fattened calves, goats, oxen, venison and ducks, don't you? All you have to do is.........well, you know what you have to do ;):thumbup1:


Be well pal :)

ZIN
 

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I LIKE THIS!!!! :thumbup: :thumbup::thumbup:

The only thing I would change, is instread of having the time wrap around the dial, would be to have it appear up top or down bottom similiar to how Casio does it with the analog/digital watchs.

Very nice. Has Omega done digital like this in the past? Or was this prototype on a different platform?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Well Time

Omega did digital back in the 70s of course. There was the 1976 chronograph that was quite a well-known example but not on the scale of the X-33 I hasten to add.


Picture - chronomaster.co.uk

There was also the Time Computer seen here alongside some of the digital/quartz offerings of the 70s



Way back when there was a watch called The Marine Chronometer which was quartz too and was once considered the most accurate wristwatch in the world. More about that in a forthcoming edition of Homage to Bienne ;)


Be well pal :001_smile:

ZIN
 

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I passed on the X-33 Gen 1 a few months ago. The whole watch was amazing except that it was a quartz. I read that the batteries often gave problem.

About the same time, I was deciding between a pre-owned with non-original strap x-33 and a brand new Omega Museum 1938 pilots watch collection. At first sight, the museum collection really attracts me. But after I read more about the x-33, I started to like it alot.

In the end, I didnt get both watches. I figure when in hesistation, lose both!! (pretty much my 'forte' when picking guys too. hahaha)

I am not sure am I to regret over the x-33 or not.....


 

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Discussion Starter #15
LOL Missie

Thank you for your input on one of life's great mysteries :biggrin::biggrin:

They are both amazing watches but I think you were right not to move if you were unsure.

Of the X-33 models, I would not hesitate to go for Gen2. I'm a modern man you see :thumbup1:

Gee Jaay's our collector of ole dusty stuff :wink:


Be well now :001_smile:

ZIN
 

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I LIKE THIS!!!! :thumbup: :thumbup::thumbup:

The only thing I would change, is instread of having the time wrap around the dial, would be to have it appear up top or down bottom similiar to how Casio does it with the analog/digital watchs.

Very nice. Has Omega done digital like this in the past? Or was this prototype on a different platform?
Take a look at this http://www.old-omegas.com/pics/uk79lcd/p8.jpg
It shows some digital Speedmasters.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Gosh Fergie

I remember reading about the time Chuck Maddox came across one of those digital Speedies and promptly bought it out of curiosity. Not much in vogue, they can be had for a song these days I think. However, I wouldn't imagine they're flight-qualified ;)


Be well pal :001_smile:

ZIN
 

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I really like the round Digi Speedy. It's beautifully ugly. Kind of like Bjork. She's not a stunner, but strangley attractive. Anyone agree? No, just me then!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Heh Heh Fergie

Trying to place what Bjork looks like......something impish if memory serves me :001_rolleyes:


Be well pal :001_smile:

ZIN
 
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