The year was 1996 and Omega just signed Michael Schumacher. The promising German driver had just won two World Championships in a row and was poised for excellence with a switch to Ferrari where he would earn another five world championships for a total of seven, a record that has yet to be beaten. Eager to capitalise on the star power of his talent Omega was quick to release a special edition watch the same year, and what model would be better suited than the so aptly titled Speedmaster.
Launched from a karting track in Kerpen, Germany, which the Schumacher family owns and where young Michael developed his driving skills. The special edition was a real style break from other Speedies by virtue of its, as Omega calls it, “younger aesthetics”. The watch came with bold white baton hour hands and coloured chronograph hands. Most striking were the colour choices for the dial, which came in a bright blue, red, or yellow with matching leather bracelets which have two humps on their back. The watch was delivered in a special rubber box which looks like two tyres of an F1 car stuck together with Schumacher’s signature written in white on them.
Inside the watch ticked the calibre 1141. Essentially it is just a rhodium-plated version of the calibre 1140, which was built for Speedmasters with “reduced” cases. This basically means the movement has slightly smaller dimensions with a diameter of 25.6 mm, and hence allows for the case to come in at a very wearable 39 mm. Vibrating at a frequency of 28,800, other than its aesthetics this model does not, however, offer any amazing features like a special complication.
What is amazing though is this watch’s unique capability to stand out. I first stumbled upon it in January of 2016 on a Hodinkee post on Paul Newmann who bought a few pieces from this range to gift to friends. And while initially not too impressed, to this day I did not forget this watch, and at the end of the day isn’t that what it is all about?