Editors Pick New Releases Watches

Omega’s New Spirate System Means Incredible Accuracy for Speedmaster Super Racing

Omega Speedmaster Super Racing

There’s a lot of ‘innovation’ in the watch industry, even if the base concept of how a watch works hasn’t really changed in centuries. Crazy tourbillons, scientific concepts like resonance, materials that put Space X to shame, there’s a lot. Sometimes though the most useful innovations, the ones that are actually likely to stick around, are the smallest. Case in point, the new Omega Speedmaster Super Racing and its patent-pending Spirate system.

The watch itself is cool, a throwback to a 2013 automotive-slanted Speedmaster with a honeycomb dial. It still has the classic high-contrast look of a Speedy, but with a chequered flag-esque minute ring and mix of black and yellow that has a slightly more down-to-Earth vibe. The thing is, the new watch is just a sideshow; the main event is inside.

Omega Speedmaster Super Racing

Omega are one of the few watchmakers to innovate in meaningful ways. They were the brand to realise the inherent value of George Daniel’s Co-Axial concept, a new type of escapement that lowered friction, raising accuracy over time and just generally being better than the classical Swiss Lever escapement. They were also an early adopted of silicon balance springs. Plus, both of these are, in the grand scheme of things, evolutions rather than entirely new concepts.

Omega Speedmaster Super Racing Spirate system

What that means is that they were easy to implement without adding another 0 to the end of every price tag while providing substantial benefits. Unlike certain things, like the insane balance of Zenith’s Defy LAB, these are small changes that are likely to stick around. The Spirate system is designed to do the same for balance adjustment.

Omega Speedmaster Super Racing Spirate system

Normally adjustments to the rate of the spring – how often is coils and uncoils – are done using the screw weights around the circumference. Those are still used in the new 9920 calibre movement and what’s new is the extra coil of metal coming off the end of the spring. This allows a second layer of even more minute adjustment to be made by manipulating the Spirate coil, allowing a watchmaker to increase the accuracy of the overall watch to an insane degree. How insane? 0/+2 seconds a day. To put that in context, the Omega Speedmaster Super Racing will be out by a maximum of roughly a minute a month.

Omega Speedmaster Super Racing

As with the Co-Axial escapement and silicon balance springs, the plan is to eventually introduce the Spirate system into every single Omega calibre, not just the 9920. That’ll take time, but if history is anything to go by they’ll definitely get there. At this rate though, they’ll need something even more intense than their Master Chronometer certification to show it off.

Omega Speedmaster Super Racing

The bottom line is that this isn’t the sexiest news in the world, but from a technical perspective, it’s incredibly interesting. If that’s not quite your bag though, at least the Omega Speedmaster Super Racing is a pretty damn cool watch. Although, at a price of £10,700, it’s the most expensive steel Speedy around.

Price & Specs:

  • Model: Omega Speedmaster Super Racing
  • Ref: 329.
  • Case/dial: 44.25mm diameter x 14.9mm thickness, stainless steel case, black sandwich dial with honeycomb pattern
  • Water resistance: 50m (5 bar)
  • Movement: Omega calibre 9920, automatic, Spirate™ System
  • Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
  • Power reserve: 60h
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, chronograph
  • Strap: Stainless steel bracelet
  • Price/availability: £10,700

About the author

Sam Kessler

Legend has it that Sam’s first word was ‘escapement’ and, while he might have started that legend himself, he’s been in the watch world long enough that it makes little difference. As the editor of Oracle Time, he’s our leading man for all things horological – even if he does love yellow dials to a worrying degree. Owns a Pogue; doesn’t own an Oyster Perpetual. Yet.

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