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The Omega Speedmaster Super Racing is incredibly accurate—and it’s going to change watchmaking

Omega’s new innovation—the Spirate System—is just a tiny part that brings a huge improvement to mechanical watchmaking. But just how much of a difference does it really make? 

Early on in the year, Omega was teasing something huge over social media. Only, it wasn’t exactly what you’d call big. “Tiny Device. Massive Change.” That was how one of the posts put it. 

And by the time it was revealed, we saw exactly what they meant. Omega had been talking about their Spirate System. At its most basic, it’s an innovation on the balance wheel mechanism—the part of the watch that determines its accuracy.

The Spirate System is just a small part of the movement, but it makes a massive difference.
Photo: Omega

Without getting too technical about it, the balance wheel is a circular piece that oscillates back and forth, and the rate with which it does so determines a watch’s accuracy. The Spirate System introduces a new type of balance spring (that’s the coiled bit of metal in the middle) that lets a watchmaker regulate the balance wheel in ultra-fine adjustments, providing a rate of accuracy of up to 0/+2 seconds per day. What this means is that a watch equipped with the Spirate System will only gain a maximum of two seconds a day. Quite possibly, even zero. 

The Spirate System is a tiny part of an already tiny part. But when you consider that mechanical watches are essentially just tiny bits of moving metal put together, this is a massive development that’s going to affect how watches are made, moving forward.  

But the other big news, of course, is that the new Spirate System also comes with a new watch: the Speedmaster Super Racing.

The Speedmaster Super Racing.
Photo: Omega

Off the bat, it’s finished in yellow Grand Feu enamel—an artisanal technique that fuses glass to metal by using multiple layers of enamel powder fired at over 800 degrees celsius. You can see the finishing on the bezel’s tachymeter scale, the gradient chronograph, and the small seconds hand at 9 o’clock. It’s a distinctive sort of finishing that you really only see in special pieces. And against the dark, textured dial, it creates the sort of look that wouldn’t be out of place in Formula One. The lume on the hands also casts a soft, yellow glow, which means this watch is going to look cool in the dark.

Aside from the looks, it packs quite a bit of functionality, with a date display at 6 o’clock and a chronograph for timing things. While the Speedmaster’s history is inextricably entwined with the Apollo program that saw it worn the moon, it began its life as a racing chronograph in 1957. This new model takes it back to its roots, and packs the horological chops to time a race with its accuracy. You can even have a look at the movement (and the Spirate System) through the sapphire case back.

If you look hard enough while zooming, you can see the tiny Omega logo on the Spirate System’s balance spring.
Photo: Omega

Last year was a big already one for the Speedmaster, being its 65th anniversary. It even made waves with its surprise Swatch collaboration, which remains in demand today. This year might even top that. Even if you care little about how watches work, the Speedmaster Super Racing is one of the most accurate watches out there, and is going to take the watchmaking world forward. And in an age of smart watches and mobiles, it’s good to see the workshops of Switzerland come up with tech that pushes boundaries. 

In any case, catch the video below to see the Speedmaster Super Racing in action.