I’ve recently had the pleasure of purchasing my second Omega, a silver dial Globemaster reference 130.33.39.21.02.001. I’ve been attracted to this watch for a very long time. At every visit to an AD or Omega boutique I would eyeball the Globemaster in its cabinet, ask the sales staff to let me try it on, and think to myself, “one day…“. That day has finally come, and I’m excited to share my thoughts on this timepiece with you all. Since this watch has been available some years now and reviews about it are plentiful, I won’t bore you by going over all the technical specifications. Instead I want to share my subjective impressions of this watch and explain why it has earned a place in my small collection.

OEM grey alligator leather strap

Omega is a brand with strong connections to many different areas of human endeavour. There’s NASA and the space race, the Olympics, sporting affiliations in sailing, golf, athletics and swimming, ocean exploration, cinematic sponsorship like the James Bond franchise, and philanthropic work through Orbis International and the GoodPlanet Foundation. Whichever of these pursuits resonates with you, Omega has a watch to match.

The Globemaster is different. It caters to none of Omega’s affiliations or marketing partnerships. It wasn’t worn on the moon, nor is it on the wrists of prominent sportspeople as they compete on the world stage. And it certainly doesn’t earn a smile of approval from the likes of Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale. What makes the Globemaster so unique is that it doesn’t derive its identity from anything other than Omega’s own history. Rather than celebrating Omega’s participation in the achievements of others, the Globemaster celebrates the achievements of Omega itself.

Hirsch Performance “James” strap in gold-brown

As I wrote about in my History of the Omega Constellation, the Globemaster inherits its name and signature design elements from the golden era of pre-quartz Omega watchmaking. The Constellation was born as a certified chronometer in 1952, and it was the recipient of Omega’s highest-performing movements of the time. It honoured Omega’s eight world records for chronometry at Observatory Trials via an emblem on the caseback, depicting 8 stars surrounding an observatory tower. Befitting this heritage, the Globemaster was the first collection to introduce the Master Chronometer standard in 2015. The observatory emblem has returned in the form of a medallion set into the sapphire display caseback, its 8 stars now repurposed to symbolise the 8 tests conducted by the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology during Master Chronometer certification. Much like the Constellation before it, the Globemaster was intended as a flag-bearer for Omega’s most advanced movement technology.

Underside of the Hirsch Performance strap showing perforated natural rubber and quick-release springbars

Unlike vintage reissues that mimic a specific reference from the past, the Globemaster borrows design elements from Constellations of the 1950s (the pie-pan dial) and the 1960s (the bezel fluting, baton hands and C-shape case) without being a direct facsimile of any one watch. In so doing, the Globemaster channels a period of history whilst being entirely new at the same time. The pie-pan texture is subtle on the silver dial Globemaster, conveying a hint of the luxe decadence early Constellations possessed without allowing it to dominate the clean and legible aesthetic of the watch. The Constellation was intended as an elegant yet practical everyday watch for discerning gentlefolk who demanded accuracy and reliability as well as good looks. The Globemaster reinvents this purpose for the modern era, classically styled and debonair yet utterly grounded in no-nonsense, pragmatic watchmaking.

Artem Sailcloth with white stitching

The feature that best exemplifies this ethos is the tungsten carbide bezel. Omega has taken a decorative element typically executed in white gold and made it practical via the clever use of modern materials. The polished tungsten is just as reflective and eye-catching as white gold, but ten times as hard and virtually scratchproof. This allows the bezel to act as a shield for the watch case, able to absorb any chance collisions and come away unscathed. The fluting is narrower and less pronounced than the bezel of a Rolex Datejust, with which the Globemaster is often compared. It lends the watch a hint of sparkle, without drawing too much attention to itself. Much like the rest of the watch, the bezel is luxurious in a restrained way, quietly exuding sophistication without distracting the wearer from the clear communication of the time and date.

Crown & Buckle Chevron “Harris” single-pass NATO strap

Omega describes the dial as “opaline silver” and the hands as “blackened”, but neither accurately portrays how they appear in the real world. Under most lighting conditions the dial appears plain white, but under close macro you can see that the surface isn’t uniformly one colour; it is subtly textured and flecked with tiny grains of iridescence, much like fine white sand on a beach. This texture reflects and diffuses light to create a soft silvery glow that seems to permeate the dial irrespective of the presence or absence of any external light source. The hands and dial appliqués likewise are not a plain matte black as you might expect from the brand renders. Rather they are a dark gunmetal grey in a high polish, which manage to be both metallic and reflective while still providing high contrast against the dial. The inner edge of each index is faceted where it meets a point of the dodecagon in the raised upper section of the dial, a pleasingly precise detail that only reveals itself under close inspection.

Artem Sailcloth with white stitching

If there was one notable weakness of the Globemaster, it is the factory supplied bracelet. The butterfly clasp lacks any form of fine-adjustment, so getting the right fit can be tricky. The end-links that attach the bracelet to the case flare out beyond the lugs, extending the normal lug-to-lug span of 46mm out to a more unwieldy 51mm. Some owners have commented that the inside edges of the bracelet are painfully sharp and have had to file them down in order to wear the bracelet comfortably. Moreover, I just think the silver dial Globemaster looks better on a strap. The rather austere dial needs some texture and contrast from a strap to really bring it to life.

Thankfully with a lug width of 20mm, aftermarket straps are easily sourced. I like to lean into the 100M water resistance of this watch and pick straps that aren’t afraid of getting wet, whilst retaining the smart looks of the Globemaster. I wrote about some great options in my article on Classically Styled Straps with a Difference, most of which I’ve bought to wear with my own Globemaster and feature in the images in this review.

Crown & Buckle Chevron “Syrah” single-pass NATO strap

When award-winning actor Eddie Redmayne OBE became a brand ambassador for Omega, he chose the Globemaster as his favourite timepiece. In an interview with Men’s Folio Malaysia he discusses why this particular watch amongst Omega’s huge catalogue stood out to him the most:

“For me, there’s something about the design. It’s incredibly beautiful; it has a classic quality to it. It derives from a watch that Omega made in the 1960s. And it has a mixture of a very modern but classic appeal to it. It means, for me, I can kind of wear it with anything. So that’s probably why I love it.”

He then elaborates on his thoughts about traditional watches in general:

“Having seen my dad wear them, there’s certainly a legacy element to timepieces; they’re substantial things. Personally, I don’t like watches to be overstated or ostentatious. You want to feel a weight and a history to them. In a subtle way, it makes you feel stronger having a decent watch on.”

Crown & Buckle Chevron “Syrah” single-pass NATO strap

Eddie’s sentiments about the Globemaster echo mine in many ways. Its style recalls a more dignified era, without being so buttoned-up that it feels out of place when paired with casual attire. A sense of history is present with the Globemaster, a connection to a time when mechanical watches were essential items and the pursuit of accuracy was still relevant and commendable. This identity is reinforced with the Globemaster’s strong emphasis on technical prowess, imparting a confidence that the watch will be able to handle anything life throws at it. As someone who fancies himself as an old fashioned man with modern sensibilities, the Globemaster fits my personality perfectly.

This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. Rene

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the Globemaster. I’ve been waiting to read this, and you didn’t disappoint. Some great thoughts and a very well written piece. This, along with your pictures, are slowly pushing me towards acquiring the Globemaster as my next OMEGA. All the best!!

    1. Jason Swire

      Thanks Rene! Glad you liked it 🙂

  2. Dan

    Thanks Jason. Well done. I would not have thought to match some of these straps with the Globemaster, but they look great…esp the sailcloth IMO.

    The quick-change hour is nice, but does the lack of quick-change date get to be a hassle?

    1. Jason Swire

      Thanks Dan! It depends on whether or not you’re keeping the Globemaster wound. The first time I had to set the time and date the lack of a quick-set date was a hassle, for sure. Its better than trying to set a vintage watch that doesn’t have either an IAHH (independently adjustable hour hand) or quick-set date, as you can spin the hour hand much faster with IAHH to advance the date wheel, but if you have to skip ahead more than a single date it gets pretty tedious.

      If you’re keeping it wound, and you only ever have to advance the date one forward or back, then IAHH is a real benefit as you essentially never need to hack the watch. Daylight savings time changes, moving between time zones, and changing dates can all be handled without stopping the seconds hand, which is very nice on a watch as accurate as this. I’m thinking of picking up a watch winder so that when I rotate my Seamaster back in, I don’t have the hassle of cycling the hour hand through several days (or weeks) worth of date changes though!

  3. Matthew

    As an owner of the same watch it was nice to read your long-term take on it. I think this watch shines on straps, it’s extremely versatile and durable enough to match every strap you’ll wear it on. It goes the line between casual and dressy, and evokes the one-watch-collection mentality as the classy working man’s companion watch. The bracelet is very lacklustre, which is a shame. Something a little more angular with a taper would be epic, and since it was originally conceived with a Genta design, I imagine a simpler version of their constellation bracelet, or even an Royal Oak inspired steel bracelet.
    All in all you’ve done a great job of presenting the watch’s strengths and I hope you wear it in great health.

    1. Jason Swire

      Thanks Matthew, glad you liked it! I agree, the bracelet is a bit underwhelming for the Globemaster, although the blue dial version looks excellent on a Staib mesh strap if you’re looking for an aftermarket alternative. For the white dial, I think it really benefits from a splash of colour from the strap to make the dial pop; a metal bracelet with the white dial ends up looking a tad too austere for my tastes. Mine basically lives on the Hirsch James now.

  4. Matt

    Great review. I am so glad that I read it. You helped me decide to buy the exact same watch, which I’d had my eye on for weeks. I absolutely love it. Thank you!

    1. Jason Swire

      Hi Matt, thank you for taking the time to comment, I really appreciate it. And congrats on your watch! I’m wearing mine on a Crown & Buckle Chevron strap in the “hydra” colour as I write this 🙂

  5. Oz

    Hi Jason – great article but I need your help please! This article motivated me to get the Syrah crown and buckle strap for my silver globemaster. Taking it off the leather and using the same spring bars I noticed there’s not enough space for the single pass nato to fit between the case and the bar! Did you have this issue? If so, which size spring bars did you replace the originals with? Is it a 1.8?

    1. Jason Swire

      Great strap choice! I use an aftermarket quick release spring bar with mine, which is thinner than the OEM spring bar (most aftermarket bars are, the Omega ones are very thick) but I couldn’t tell you what the exact measurement is, it was a freebie with another strap I bought. One alternative is to ask at your Omega boutique for curved OEM spring bars, which they supply to go with their own NATO straps. Hope that helps.

      1. Oz

        Fantastic! Thanks for the insight. I’ll be picking looking for the quick releases and heading to Omega as a last resort. Can’t wait to put this on a strap for summer!

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