First and Second Generation X-33
Omega made two separate production versions of the Speedmaster Professional X-33 in its lifetime. The first version released in 1998 is commonly known as the First Gen X-33 (or at least it was so known following the introduction of its successor) and was given the Omega Product Identification Code (PIC) number 3290.50.00. In 2001 Omega released an updated version of the X-33 now known as the 2nd Gen model, PIC 3291.50.00.
The two versions are mostly similar except for cosmetic changes. Movement and internals are believed to be identical, as are specs and operation. The changes introduced with the 2nd Gen X-33 included:
- brushed instead of polished bezel
- bidirectional instead of unidirectional rotating bezel
- luminous bezel pearl instead of red marker
- brushed instead of polished pushers
- modified “concentric” crown design
- addition of “FLIGHT-QUALIFIED BY NASA FOR SPACE MISSIONS” to caseback engraving
- duration of the backlight was shortened to 8 sec. to help conserve battery power
- inside-only instead of double-sided anti-reflective coating to sapphire crystal for durability (on late production models and some replacement crystals)
The two versions are otherwise all but identical. Thought it has never been confirmed by the Omega factory, it is also believed that Omega may also have introduced some changes to the design to address some common complaints like the infamous “collapsing crown” issue, and in fact the new crown design is widely believed to have been introduced for just this reason. However, it may just be that the designers had realized that a traditional knurled crown design was unnecessary if not impractical as the X-33 cannot be “wound” nor is the crown turned during any aspect of operation. As well, the stem of the Gen 1 X-33 is known to fit the Gen 2 crown without modification (see Craig’s Gen 1 to Gen 2 Conversion Guide) so it is quite possible that the internal design was not significantly modified.
The 1st Generation X-33 (PIC 3290.50.00)
Note the polished steel bezel and pushers, more traditional and conventional knurled crown design, and red bezel marker instead of a luminous bezel pearl seen on later models.
The 2nd Generation X-33 (PIC 3291.50.00)
Note how Martyn’s really excellent time exposure photo shows the individual 1-second “ticks” of the second hand as well as how the X-33’s “jumping” minute hand jumps in discrete half-minute increments. While fake X-33’s are uncommon this is an easy way to spot them as the fakes typically don’t bother to mimic this unusual and difficult-to-replicate feature. The hour hand is continuous.
Note how the lumed portions of the hour and minute hands are of similar shape and size, which can make legibility a problem in low-light situations. Otherwise the Superluminova luminous material is satisfyingly bright and visible.
Photo courtesy of MartynJC(UK)
Inside the Case
Bracelet and Straps