Review - Speedmaster Racing w/9900 Movement
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Thread: Review - Speedmaster Racing w/9900 Movement

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  1. #1
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    Review - Speedmaster Racing w/9900 Movement

    I just took delivery of my new Speedmaster Racing watch (model 329.30.44.51.01.001). This watch is in “traditional garb” reminiscent of the traditional Speedmaster Professional… stainless w black dial and white hands, on stainless steel bracelet; but carrying the new co-axial 9900 movement. This is my first ever watch review. I hope you enjoy it.

    First some background on the purchase: I had been wearing a Seiko Divers watch for the last 20 years, ever since receiving one as a gift from my wife on our first anniversary. As a 26 year old just out of grad school, that Seiko was a special “real watch” to me, and I loved it. I wore it almost every day for 20 years. But over time it became less and less right for daily wear, and in recent years I got the itch for something more. So recently I purchased a couple Swiss watches that I liked, including a Bell & Ross BR-03 and a Ball Aviator GMT. I enjoy both of these; but after a few months I see these them as secondary watches. They are good alternates; but neither one is “the watch” to be worn daily for a decade or more. Plus, these two work best on leather and rubber straps respectively; leaving me without a steel bracelet watch. After 20 years of that Seiko, a steel bracelet is my habit. So in summary: I was seeking something special, something classic, something for daily wear, stainless with stainless bracelet, meant to last for decades. That was my spec as I went out shopping.

    I considered going for a Rolex and especially the GMT Master II, which I really like. (And I value the GMT function, as I travel often). But somehow Rolex is not the brand for me. I am an engineer and entrepreneur. The guys I know wearing a Rolex are bankers, golf pros, country-club guys. All fine for them; but this is not my crowd. I looked at the Oris ProPilot with their in-house Calibre 114; seemed a very nice watch but I didn’t fall in love with it. I also looked closely at the Seamaster Planet Ocean. This is a truly impressive piece with that great co-axial movement. But I’m wearing a coat and tie more often now, which suddenly makes a dive watch (even a great one) a bit wrong. For that reason I gravitated toward something less dive-forward: the Seamaster Aqua Terra GMT. Like the Oris, the AT seemed very nice. But somehow I wasn’t inspired to pull the trigger.

    So while mulling over the AT, I revisited the Speedmaster. I’ve always loved the look of the Speedmaster Professional, which I consider a true classic. But I had written it off because it didn’t have a GMT complication; and because I’m always wary of a black bezel that fades over time (as my beloved Seiko did). Then I saw the new Speedmaster racing. The METAS Calibre 9900 was intriguing. 44mm footprint was appealing to me as I prefer a larger watch. And ceramic bezel! All the reviews I saw were on the orange-handed version on black strap… but if you dig you can find the new “Racing” version in a traditional Speedy-Pro-esque look, with black-face, white-hands and steel bracelet. That modern-take on a legend suddenly came into focus as the right choice. And so here it is (GMT function be damned!)

    The first thing I noticed when I put it on: this watch is shiny! Yes that liquidmetal bezel is black, but with a serious high-gloss finish. Combined with the polished crown, pushers, hands and applied indices, this watch shows a shade more “bling” than what showed up in the internet photos. The 44mm case has the classic Speedmaster look with the curved lugs, asymmetric sides with crown dug-in to the case flank, and combination of brushed sides and polished top. The bezel as noted is quite shiny; and the cross section of it protrudes at an angle, with a kind of saucer-shaped profile when viewed from the side. At 44.25mm I know some purists find it too big; but for me it is just right. My wrist is about 7 1/4” and my arm is on the long side; a watch this size is in the “sweet spot” for me. It does stand up a bit high off my wrist, given the domed crystal that mimics the old Hesalite crystal, plus a domed sapphire caseback to boot. So no, it’s not exactly thin. But I don’t feel it is out of place or protruding either. It feels natural.

    Another purist’s complaint is the downshift to two registers from three, making this modern Speedmaster basically a bi-compax layout. But as with the larger case, two is just a better look in my opinion. The date window is excellent at 6:00 location; it’s a very-slightly tapered side profile and a large date that’s easier to read than my other watches, by far. Hands and indices are, yes just a bit blingy but it’s still a reserved look overall. I also find the color of the “black” to come off as somewhat charcoal grey; maybe just due to the shine or maybe the eggshell finish of the dial. It’s not jet-black for sure but it works.

    I love the “racing dial” markers around the outer edge. These give you a sub-second marker at 250ms intervals, which is kinda cool with the chronograph. That outer portion of the dial is angled ever-so-slightly away, like a racetrack bank but in the negative direction; and the indices are banked at mid-index to match. Just a really subtle touch that works. Overall it has a great high-end yet traditional look, setting itself apart just enough from prior-edition Speedmasters I think. Overall I love the dial with one exception: the register hands are all shine and no white, which makes them very tough to read. I would have preferred white hands in the sub-dials.

    The view from the back is gorgeous and shows off the METAS certified 9900 movement. I will not attempt to describe this; but it’s the coolest view I’ve ever seen in person through a transparent caseback. And that movement seemingly contains every possible technology Omega has…. Si14 hairspring, co-axial escapement, twin-barrel mainsprings and column wheel w vertical clutch for the chrono. Being an engineer I can understand about 50% of all that; though I am not qualified to explain it all here. The net result (aside from good looking innards) is a great feel to the chrono pushers, a 60-hour power reserve, and (for my particular watch) a gain of somewhere between 0.5s to +1.0s per day. Mechanical engineering wise, I give it a 10 of 10. They also provide a reference for the METAS procedure where you can look up the test data for your individual watch. Just cool.

    Finally the bracelet: not much to say other than it’s excellent quality and a perfect match to the look of this watch. The clasp is already a bit scuffed from rubbing my desk and keyboard; but over time that scuffing will become the natural order… “brushed by life” so to speak. As you’ll see in the photos I wear it loose. I like the micro-adjustment available in the clasp… a convenient touch.

    Compared to my old Seiko, this watch is way more expensive and maybe not entirely as tough (That is arguable, but no screw-down crown and only 50m water resistance remind me the Speedmaster is no dive watch.) Then again, I am 46 years old now and not 26; so I won’t beat on this watch nearly as hard as I did that one. Times change; our habits and tastes must also change.

    The impression of this watch on my wrist is just perfect. It looks classy without screaming “look at me!” It has a classic layout and dimension, reminiscent of the original Speedy Pro while being just different enough. It’s not a formal watch to wear with a tuxedo; but can be dressed up (for example with a blazer which is standard for me these days), or dressed down as needed. Having owned this watch for about 4 days, I’m confident it’ll be my daily wearer for the next 10-20 years.

    I see so much writing and arguing on these forums over the eternal question: what makes a great watch? A great movement, uniqueness, history, technology… these all play a part (and are all hyped by marketing machines of Omega and their competitors). But in the end, when we buy an expensive bauble to wear everyday, a huge part of the equation is simply how it looks. This Racing Speedmaster looks perfect. It keeps the time to high precision, and contains a great history and high-end technology to boot. So obviously I’m very happy with it. In fact I believe I’m done watch shopping for a long, long time.
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  2. #2
    Member Sayan's Avatar
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    Re: Review - Speedmaster Racing w/9900 Movement

    Congratulations! Beautiful watch, i was considering getting the version with orange hands, but i already have Speedy, so....not this time.

  3. #3
    Member LCheapo's Avatar
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    Re: Review - Speedmaster Racing w/9900 Movement

    Nice review! And congratulations on the watch!
    It looks like this one comes with the short ratchet clasp (4666), and with end links (on the clasp side) that match the polished sections of the rest of the watch band. Would you mind posting the clasp and end link number from the inside of the clasp (assuming the numbers are there, of course)? It should be something like XXXX/XXX (with the first four numerals possibly 4666).
    Last edited by LCheapo; October 6th, 2018 at 02:12.

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  5. #4
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    Re: Review - Speedmaster Racing w/9900 Movement

    Very nice, for me i love the orange/black dial, thats the one i would love to own.

  6. #5
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    Re: Review - Speedmaster Racing w/9900 Movement

    The new Speedmaster Racing is on my shortlist for the next purchase. Leaning toward the Orange/Black version on the bracelet.

  7. #6
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    Re: Review - Speedmaster Racing w/9900 Movement

    Looks awesome! I had the previous generation co-axial speedy and just couldn't get settled with the 44.25mm case size.

  8. #7
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    Re: Review - Speedmaster Racing w/9900 Movement

    Nice review! I love the change of the date window to 6 o'clock as well.

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