Omega have to be the masters of the limited edition by now. Arguably, no one does it more prolifically and the truth of the matter is, they do it really well. Take the venerable Speedmaster lineup for example, with its already embedded complexity weaving through different case sizes, materials, movements and complications. There is such a dizzying array of “regular” production Speedmaster watches that the Speedmaster X33 Regatta ETNZ model all too easily slips under most enthusiasts’ radar.
The X33 Regatta and its sibling the Skywalker are about as far from the Moonwatch as you can get. Call them the most distant of cousins, if you will. X33 models are extremely specialized instruments which combine analogue and digital worlds to assist professionals in completing missions of one sort or another. Inside the 45mm matte titanium case, Omega’s calibre 5620 lives its best quartz life. In this variant the caliber is tailored for the specific task of timing a regatta sailing races like the America’s Cup, as opposed to mission timing for the standard X33 Skywalker. I could probably write an entire article on the unbelievable complication of timing regatta races, but then again, maybe I couldn’t. Instead I’d like to focus on what makes the X33 Regatta a great limited-edition Omega.
For starters, it isn’t your garden variety Speedmaster, Seamaster or other-master. It is a limited variant of a rare variant of a mainstream Omega. This twice removed watch brings with it an inherent non-mainstream quirkiness that sets the initial stage for its charm. The X33 setup keeps the uber-tool watch credibility and retains the Speedmaster name and pedigree but then breaks the mold with the analogue / digital hybrid. When was the last time you lusted after a quartz-based Omega? If you can’t remember, get ready to start because it only gets better.
Next up, the X33 Regatta nails the limited-edition value of association. Celebrating the Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ) and their quest to conquer the America’s Cup in Bermuda, the X33 Regatta is seeded with adventure and sporting ambition. It is also a direct shot across the bow of Rolex, a staunch sponsor of competitive sailing and of course, a competitor for Omega itself.
The America’s Cup is about as prestigious as it gets for sailboat racing and Omega definitely knows a thing or two about correct product placement. Not only is the X33 Regatta worn by every member of the Emirates Team New Zealand crew, their boat is festooned with Omega branding, naturally.
The final piece of the limited puzzle is the volume (or lack thereof) produced. The X33 Regatta ETNZ is limited to 2,017 pieces. This is properly low numbers for any mass-produced watch, even one as specialized as the Speedmaster X33. That said, one has to wonder how many “regular” X33 watches find buyers at Omega boutiques every year as well. The limited nature of the ETNZ is noted on the case back which also features a beautiful rendition of Emirates Team logo and the “Challenger for the 35th America’s Cup” wording.
Like many modern Omega sports watches, the X33 Regatta holds its own in terms of material quality, fit and finish, and technology. The gorgeous ceramic and titanium bezel has embedded stars at 3, 6, 9 and 12 and splashes of colour can be found in the red Speedmaster dial text as well as minute hand, blue outer and centre dial rings and the matching blue stitching on the canvas strap. I’m sure it is no coincidence that the national flag of New Zealand features red and blue very prominently as well.
Prepare for plenty of questions at the next Red Bar meeting if you acquire and wear the X33 Regatta ETNZ. Not only will it be the only one there, but also the only one anyone there will ever see. Unless of course, they sail for Emirates New Zealand. In that case, it’s just a knock about tool for winning races.