The Best $3,000 Watches - Too Low For Luxury? Omega and More for $3,000 or Less
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Available today for less than $3,000, the Omega Speedmaster Professional X-33 should have been the watch that went to Mars. But almost immediately upon its 1998 release, the ultimate Omega Speedmaster was swept into the shadow of its famous predecessor, the Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch. 25 years later, the Omega X-33 deserves a place in the collection of watch buyers who prize quality, features, and an unbeatable amount of value per dollar.
Since 1969, any discussion of space watches has been dominated by the Omega Speedmaster Professional "Moonwatch" and the "Pre Moon" caliber 321 variants that preceded it. But with a mission to Mars on NASA's horizon in the 1990s, Omega spent five years working with astronauts and cosmonauts to create a watch ready to take on the Red Planet. The Omega Speedmaster X33 (references 3290.50, 3291.50, 318.104.22.168.01.001, 3990.50, and 3991.50) was designed with every conceivable feature that a pilot, space traveler, or space station resident could desire.
Omega gave the X33 a titanium 42.25mm case, a unique quartz caliber 1666, and a combination of titanium bracelets and kevlar straps. The watch was packed with functions and complications designed specifically for professional aviators and astronauts. The Omega X-33 included a chronograph, a perpetual calendar, an 80-decibel alarm, an 8 lux backlight, analog and digital time displays, a second timezone, a countdown timer with alarm, an alarm to declare a pre-set time, an alarm for elapsed mission time, an alarm keyed to universal time, a universal time display, and an end-of-life indicator for the battery.
The original Omega X-33 was built in two generations. First generation Omega X-33s were built from 1998 to 2001. In 2002 primary changes on the second generation Speedmaster X-33 included the replacement of the original polished bezel with an anti-glare satin bezel that included a new luminova index; a set of chronograph pushers finished in satin titanium rather than gloss; a new ribbed crown designed to be pushed and pulled rather than turned. The caseback graphics of the second generation X-33 also changed to reflect the NASA certification of the Speedmaster X-33 for space flight.
Additional details of the original Omega Speedmaster X-33 include a unique space-themed boxed set with space suit-like white lining for the display box.
Other watches discussed in tonight's show include the Longines Ultra-Chron Diver, the Mido Ocean Star Decompression Worldtimer GMT, the Rado HyperChrome Ultra Light, the Mido Multifort Powerwind Chronometer, the Damasko DC80, the Doxa Sub C-Graph II, and the Longines Legend Diver.
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