Vintage Spotlight: Omega Flightmaster

Before I talk about the Flightmaster itself  let’s first examine the concept of the “Tool” watch, since the Flightmaster was developed as such, being marketed specifically to pilots with the needs of a pilot in mind…with a twist.IMG_2978

To put is simply, a Tool watch is a timepiece that has been designed to perform a specific task. Generally the task at hand should be uncumbered by design or style features with more importance being placed on functionality rather than design aesthetic. One might surmise from this definition that a true Tool watch may be lacking in the “good looks” department. To be honest, I would agree with this assumption at least in the traditional sense.

This flightmaster may not be the most handsome watch under the Omega umbrella, but it’s functionality and distinct case design combines with the unique hand and dial colour combination to distinguish it as a desirable collectors piece. The case is cut from a single piece of stainless steel, and despite the somewhat awkward design this watch comfortably fits the wrist. This can be attributed to the hidden bracelet lugs and flat backside.
Omega Flightmaster 33317830 - NO jan5,16_frontOmega Flightmaster 33317830 - NO jan5,16_back

The flightmaster series was produced from 1969 until 1975.  The exact production numbers are vague at best, but given the relatively short production span the number currently available is quite low.

I mentioned, the design and function were geared toward pilots, but with an interesting twist. The watch was fitted with a divers scale bezel, located under the crystal and adjusted from a crown at the 8:30 position on the case. To further  appeal to the needs of a diver the watch was water resistant to 120 meters, the crystal fitted with a double gasket. These features were not the norm in the late 60’s and early 70’s. In fact, the overall design and functionality of the Flightmaster was decades ahead of it’s time. The 43mm case was considered monstrous at the time. 3 crowns and 2 chronograph pushers, all colour coded with their respective hands made for simple access to a given function.

To sum up the Flightmaster: 43mm case, GMT hand, 12-hour chronograph,  seven hands, three subdials, three crowns, two pushers, divers bezel and a variety of colours. Sounds like a Frankenwatch but this quirky, unconventional watch is an unintentional collectors classic.

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For information regarding this or any other watch please feel free to contact me at chris@harmonyjewellers.ca

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