Editor’s note: Time to Move saw some new dial variants of the Omega Globemaster Annual Calendar, with a chic black dial. And while we only saw these watches in passing, it reminded us of what an interesting, underrated and divisive (yes, all at once) watch it is. So, this is our review of the original, from back in the day …
Story in a second
Omega adds an extra hand, two millimetres and a whole lot of text to their Constellation-inspired Globemaster.
The Globemaster was one of the breakthrough watches of 2015, and it would have been naive to think that Omega wouldn’t extend the collection. And, while predicting a calendar version would have been a pretty safe bet, no one expected it to look quite like this. Given that the collection will be hitting Australian shores soon, we thought it was time to take a closer look at the Omega Globemaster Annual Calendar.
When I saw the press images of this watch I was worried that Omega had taken one of the most handsome, heritage-inspired designs of 2015 and ruined it with wordplay. After all, there’s a whopping 21 words, albeit abbreviated words, on that dial. But in the real world, on the wrist, my worries about the dial faded away in about 90 seconds flat. That cursive, italic calendar text isn’t overly in-your-face. It’s a bit more distinctive on the white-dialled model, but the contrast works. You know what really jars with me though? The radial flip. I’m sure there’s sound design theory behind changing the direction of the words mid-dial but it bothers me.
Moving on from the text, there’s a lot to like about the Globemaster AC’s dial, largely because it’s basically the same as that of the regular Globemaster – pie-pan, baton hands and, in the case of the two grey options, that beautiful sunburst finish.
The other big change between this and the time-only Globemaster is the case size. The Annual Calendar is 41mm, compared to 39mm for the original. Personally, I don’t think the Globemaster needed the size increase, especially as it had such a strong presence on the wrist, thanks to its height and the fluted bezel. I suspect the move to 41mm is a commercial decision rather than a design choice, and reflects what the people want.
I think that the Annual Calendar would have been just as handsome (and perhaps even a touch more versatile) at 39mm. Aside from the size, it’s the same Globemaster case, with the high sapphire crystal, distinctive bezel and smooth brushed sides and bold, undercut lugs.
Omega has made some interesting choices with this Annual Calendar. For one, they’ve opted to display the month via a central hand. But the most interesting decision is to offer an annual calendar (which only needs adjusting at the end of February) that doesn’t display the day. You could make an argument that the day is just as pertinent a piece of information as the date and month, but, then again, looking at the dial I’m at a loss to see how they’d implement it. Of course the actual complication isn’t the only part of the movement story – the anti-magnetic, METAS certified, Co-Axial Master Chronometer Calibre 8922 that ticks away inside the Globemaster AC is every bit the hero, too. This twin-barrelled automatic certainly looks the part – with its constellation medal inlaid in the centre of the sapphire caseback. As you’d expect from a Master Chronometer it’s no slouch on the technical side either: 60 hours of power reserve, Co-Axial escapement, silicon balance, anti-magnetic properties etc. I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again, when it comes to cutting-edge, high-volume movements Omega is really giving Rolex a run for their money.
The three models I looked at all came on different alligator straps, each well suited to the colourway of the model. And while the ’gator is appropriate given the general fanciness of the cursive dial, I think the watch would also look great on dressy calf, or perhaps cordovan. NATO or fabric – not so much.
Based on the press shots, I felt I had made up my mind. I was going to dislike the dial of this watch. But as is so often the case, the pictures you see on the internet don’t reflect reality. The dial is fine in real life … a lot less, how should I say, frilly and baroque, especially on the grey-dialled options. Essentially this watch is a Globemaster – which means you get that versatile, everyday styling with a heritage twist. In addition you get extra size and a little extra panache (and that typeface is pretty much the definition of panache) with the Annual Calendar version.
Want to know the date?
Who’s it for?
If you liked the concept of the original Globemaster, but felt yourself needing more – this could be the one for you.
What would we change?
Going into this review I was sure I would want to change the dial script. But after some reflection I’ve reconciled myself with all those words on the dial. However, I’d love it if Omega offered this in 39mm, like last year’s Globemaster.
Omega Globemaster Annual Calendar Australian pricing
Omega Globemaster Annual Calendar in steel, $11,300; in steel and Sedna gold, $14,200
Images by Jason Reekie.