The Apple Watch may be dominating the headlines, but it wasn’t what two Swiss pilots strapped to their wrists when they embarked on a mission to fly a solar-powered aircraft around the world. It was a special edition of Omega’s Speedmaster Skywalker X-33.
The Solar Impulse expedition is a five-month adventure across time zones and hinges on knowing when and where the pilots are going. There was no watch—smart or otherwise—in the market that could do what they needed. And they needed a lot: a display with two time zones, three alarms with different chimes, perpetual calendar, and a chronograph.
So, Omega came up with a special edition of Omega’s X-33, originally created in collaboration with the European Space Agency for space travel late last year. With this device, the pilots could plan their trip more efficiently.
There’s a note of caution, though. The Speedmaster Skywalker X-33 is geared for scientists, and programming it is akin to learning mathematical calculations, and involves timed pushes and stops with any one of the watch’s four buttons. It even had Omega dealers scratching their heads.
The Skywalker comes in a chunky 45 mm dial with a thermo-compensated (read very precise), battery-powered movement encased in high-grade titanium and a blue-green NATO brand strap. It sports a sapphire crystal face with double anti-reflective treatment (something pilots flying close to the sun will especially appreciate) and is water resistant to 100 ft.
The Solar Impulse special edition of the Speedmaster Skywalker X-33 will be produced in a limited run of 1924 units, expected to be priced around Rs 3,30,000 each. Why 1924? It’s a tribute to the year when for the first time members of the U.S. Army Air Service went on a trip around the world.