70s Crystallized: Tropical Omega Flightmaster
At the start of the 70s, Omega set their sights on the growing GMT-Master market. They aimed to create the perfect pilot’s watch for professional use. The result was a highly-practical chronograph with a GMT, AM/PM indicator, and inner rotating bezel. The 1970s and advent of jet travel introduced pilots to much quicker flight times and ‘polar’ routes. One could spend an entire flight in the light or dark, making such complications useful. The GMT-Master looked a bit, well, blasé by comparison.
This was simply a watch far ahead of its time. The modern 43mm case even introduced a decent water resistance, much to the envy of Speedmaster fans. I highly recommend Flightmaster Only: The OMEGA Pilot’s Watch by Gregoire Rossier and Anthony Marquie for further reading. Nonetheless, there are still vintage touches that appeal to collectors today. Its movement—the cal 910—is based on the Speedmaster’s cal 861 with additional complications. Tritium was applied liberally to the dial and hands. The painting process used on its dial was standard of that era, which tropicalized over time in sun exposure. Unique to the Flightmaster, there are color coordinated pushers across the case that match the colored functions on its dial. It’s a chronograph that chronograph collectors simply have to love.
Generally speaking, Flightmasters tend to age quite gracefully. The paint applications, aside from Tropicalizing, were thorough. I think part of that is explained by the fact that these were used for purpose. I imagine most have even seen servicing with decent frequency in their time serving pilots. This example is no different. The hands and dial have aged evenly with only small cracking and disintegration. It’s clear that the original owner liked to wear it. The colored pushers on its case are still bright and intact, which is not always the case. The watch was recently serviced by Omega and comes from the reputable folks at Watchworks Haarlem. The purchaser of this gorgeous Flightmaster may buy with full confidence. It’s not even outrageously expensive when compared to the various chronographs and GMT-Masters that it trounced in-period.
Find this Flightmaster here from Watchworks for 4250 EUR.