May 16, 2006

Omega and analog-digital

In my initial essay on mechanical watches, I mentioned that another author had found an Omega that suited him well. However, he never mentioned the model and Omega blew me off when I asked.

Later, of course, another netizen (Nik Jones) found my post and emailed me the goods:


Picture of Omega 2521.81, click for larger imagePicture of Omega 2521.81, click for larger image

Purty, eh? It’s an Omega 2521.81, quartz analog-digital. It’s controlled strictly via the stem, which turns out to be rather awkward.

Nik has the following to say about his:

The watch that William Buckley bought would be the Omega Seamaster 120m Multifunction. I bought one second-hand about 2 weeks ago. It looks a bit like the current Bond Seamaster [no helium release valve] but has a circular digital display, between the dial and the centre [the current Omega X-33 is similar but more obvious]. Turning the crown selects the function [2nd timezone, stopwatch, date, etc] and pressing the crown operates the function. One position turns the digital display off, so it looks like a normal” analogue watch. It is, of course, quartz, hence the accuracy rating. I had it 3 days and took it back, swapping it for a Breitling Aerospace, which has similar functions but IMO MUCH better at-a-glance readability. It also cost half again as much. In the UK, the Omega would be £500-£600 second hand [won’t get them new.] Don’t know what the cost would be in the US, I’m guessing $600-$800?

He also included a link to the Timezone discussion about it. In a later email he elaborated further:

I returned mine after less than a week, but then I’d liked the Breitling Aerospace for a long time [say, 10 years]. The Omega is clever but those thin little skeleton hands do it no favours - I like good legibility/visibility {IMO the Aerospace is the one watch Breitling make that offers this]. This was my first expensive watch and I learnt a valuble lesson - don’t compromise, buy the one you really want, even if you have to save for a couple of extra months. You’ll regret not getting what you really want.

The Omega crown is smaller even than the Breitling, so to turn it to get the different functions, I had to take it off my wrist - not good. Being left handed and wearing the watch on my right wrist doesn’t help, though. On the positive side, the case and bracelet had a nice heft, if you like sturdy steel watches, and the bracelet was comfortable. You need to see and handle one to make a decision, which may be awkward as you often need to buy pre-owned watches sight unseen”.

The Breitling Aerospace is a quality watch but has quite a tech” face. The X33 is very ho hum” in my opinion. I rather fancy the Breitling B-1, which is VERY tech. I’d have to sell the Aerospace to afford it and that’s not going to happen for a few years. It is also only 50m water resistance, whereas the Aerospace is 100m so swimming MAY be a problem. The X33 is 30m - what use is that?!

A while ago, I wrote a post on analog-digital watches. It’s nice to hear a negative review, as it saves money, time and aggregation. Many thanks to Nik for saving me; I’ll stick with my Orient.

More pictures, shamelessly swiped from Ebay auctions:






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