Has it ever occurred to you that two counters are enough for a normal chronograph, that three is okay and even four is nothing but tolerable (and only look good on certain watches like this Eberhard & Co. Chrono4 BADBOY)? Well, some people at Omega consider five counters just right for the official timekeeper of the Olympic Games since 1932. Positioned like the famous five Olympic Rings, but apparently not sized as evenly, the counters add a “days of the week” indicator and a 7-day chronograph display to the usual hours, minutes, and small second sub-dials. Meet the Omega Speedmaster Five Counter Olympic Beijing automatic chronograph!
I’m not particularly into Omega‘s timepieces (except, perhaps, for their flagship Speedmaster limited edition chronographs: the ones that are powered by hand-wound calibers and feature designs close to those of the legendary watches that first astronauts took to the Moon and back), but the 5-Counters chronograph makes me want to get one for the next birthday.
Although featuring not two or three, but whole five small counters on its matte black dial, this iteration of Speedmaster somehow doesn’t feel cluttered or too busy with unnecessary details and markings.
Compared to a normal Speedmaster, the watch still doesn’t look as clean: probably, the gold rims around the counters and the unusually thick rose gold hour markers are to blame. However, given the number of indicators, it still looks clean.
You can’t call this timekeeper an example of perfect legibility: even on these promotional pictures the extra-wide hour and minute hands make next to impossible see current readings on the sub-dials, and the information on the centrally positioned “days of week” indicator will be obstructed most of the time.
To me, the design of the counters (the positioning of the numerals and the design of the railway-style tracks, for example,) isn’t thought over enough for a brand of such pedigree. There is certain haste to them like somebody in Omega’s marketing department has suddenly remembered that the Olympic Games are coming and ordered guys in the design bureau to present a working prototype ASAP. Like, maybe, yesterday. Yes, I understand Omega’s eagerness to make the watch ready sooner in order to present it before the Olympic Games actually begin, but for a brand of this caliber, the watch looks just too crude.
Perhaps, Omega was eager to make the watch ready sooner in order to present it before the Olympic Games actually begin.
Well, it is still a great watch that has a good potential of becoming a highly sought-after collector’s item.
After all, when it comes to the model in rose gold, Omega has limited the timekeeper’s production to only 88 numbered pieces and the one with the 88/88 number will probably be the best investment since “8” is the lucky number in Chinese numerology and the “88/88” will possibly be the luckiest of them all.
Starting from left to right, the counters show (1) a 30-minute chronograph recorder, (2) a 12-hour chronograph recorder, (3) a day indicator (this one will have problems with legibility, I suppose), (4) a 7-day chronograph recorder, and (5) a small seconds counter.
You can order the large 44mm model not only in the highly imposing 18-karat rose gold case with refined black leather strap (pictured, ref. 318.104.22.168.01.001,) but also in more traditional yellow gold (ref. 322.214.171.124.01.002, also on black leather strap) and in a lot more affordable stainless steel that comes either with the same leather strap as models in gold (ref. 3126.96.36.199.01.001) or with a tad more practical stainless steel bracelet (ref. 3188.8.131.52.01.001) that is worth every penny of the premium over the leather band is as comfortable and secure as it is.
Review Score: 4/5
Build quality: 4.5/5
Overall Legibility: 3/5
Nighttime Legibility: 3.5/5
Value for money: 3.5/5
Omega Five Counter Speedmaster Olympic specification
Price range: $8200 (stainless steel, MSRP) / $24,000 (rose gold and yellow gold, MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, caliber 3888, in-house, co-axial escapement, Swiss Made
Power reserve: 52 hours
Case: 18-karat rose gold / Yellow gold / Stainless steel
Complications: Chronograph (four counters), day of the week, date
Hands: Matching case, white Superluminova
Strap: Leather strap or stainless steel bracelet
Water resistance: 100 meters
Crystal: Sapphire with anti-reflective treatment on both sides
Diameter: 44.00 mm