The 9301 inside the new Speedmaster really is beautiful, and stacks up nicely against calibers at use in high-end competitors, such as the Daytona’s 4130 (really). Power reserve is 60 hours and automatic winding in both directions meant I only had to wind the watch once during my time with it. Each day the accuracy remained well within COSC standards.
Something that struck me as strange is that Omega has seemingly chosen to offer the new 9301 chronograph without a quick-set date mechanism, and instead, allows a jumping-hour setting position designed for skipping easily between timezones (only the hour moves, not the minutes). Sure, this allows for a relatively quick set of the date, and it even allows you to spin the date backwards, but it is by no means a replacement for a quick-set date. Perhaps Omega over thought this one, assuming whoever buys this watch will be wearing it day in and day out and never have to change the date more than one day, but I don’t think too many people, if surveyed, would prefer a jump-hour setting position over a quick set date.
While the 9300 is a big departure from the likes of the cal. 321 or 861 lineage, it elevates the modern Speedmaster to a level of modern relevancy for a new generation of buyers. In fact, it’s difficult to judge this new watch within the context of its past, the intent here is not to be evolutionary, but rather revolutionary in bringing the spirit of the original up to utterly modern standards. This may cause some tension with the purists, but it will pave the way for a new generation of buyers who have yet to discover the story of the Speedmaster. Of course, as global CEO Stephen Urquhart told us when we interviewed him, the Speedmaster Professional with a manually wound movement will always remain in the lineup.
On The Wrist
If you’re not accustomed to wearing larger watches, the heft of the new Speedmaster will make itself known. At times, I found myself removing the watch for tasks like cooking or typing. While this wasn’t bothersome, it was out of the norm for me, I was conscious of the watch at all times. If you do wear larger watches, you’d have no problem with this one, but slight wrists may feel overwhelmed. I found the most comfort when wearing the watch on a well broken in NATO strap, which also complimented the case and dial (Speedmasters always look at home on NATO straps to my eye).
Nighttime visibility is excellent thanks to carefully placed lumen within the hands and hour markers. Walk inside on a sunny day with this thing and you could blind someone. Intensity diminishes but legibility remains excellent in all but pitch black.