The Eleventh Fratello × REM Strap — This Time, For The Speedmaster X-33
This month’s Fratello × REM strap is most definitely not for everyone, but we wanted to design something for the famous Omega Speedmaster X-33. So here it is — a green strap made of organic leather for Omega’s digital Speedmaster that debuted back in 1998. The Speedmaster X-33 is still in production, and last year, Omega even devised a wild upgrade with ESA engineers for (unmanned) Mars missions.
Both NASA and ESA astronauts still use the Omega Speedmaster X-33 aboard their spacecraft and the International Space Station. ESA uses the Skywalker (third generation), while NASA prefers to keep using the second-generation X-33. You can find an overview of the X-33 models here.
Omega developed the Speedmaster X-33 based on input from pilots and astronauts. NASA astronaut General Tom P. Stafford (Apollo 10 and Apollo-Soyuz) even told me once that he played a role in this project as well. When the X-33 debuted, Omega called it the “Mars watch” to emphasize that it was the brand’s next generation of instruments. It was only last year that Omega finally introduced an X-33 variation that has the functionality to do specific timing measurements during Mars missions (not to be confused with a watch that can be used on Mars).
Twenty-five years of the X-33
I bought my first X-33 many years ago, and at one point, I had a small collection of just Speedmaster X-33 watches. What can I say? I just love this quirky beast in titanium with its digital display. Eventually, I realized that it was a bit silly to hold on to a bunch of the same references, so I sold them to friends and colleagues (hi, Mike!) who wanted one. I kept only one of the X-33s in my collection, the reference 3290.50. That watch is very dear to me since its previous owner was an ESA astronaut who was one of my childhood heroes. He received it during one of the introduction events for this watch back in 1998 while he was on stage doing a talk on time and space.
Even after all these years, 25 to be precise, the Omega Speedmaster X-33 still feels relevant. It does design-wise, of course, as its case features timeless lyre lugs, but the functionality is still on point too. Aside from the more common functions like time, date, and chronograph, there’s the countdown chronograph that can be useful in certain cases. It also has a mission timer, which the wearer can use to record longer periods of a particular event (up to 365 days). An additional time zone is always useful, as is an alarm, and the X-33 offers both.
A green strap suits the display perfectly
Within the Fratello team, there are quite a few members who have an X-33. It’s a fun variation of the Speedmaster, and for a long time, it was readily available for very attractive prices. Even at today’s prices on the pre-owned market, it’s a great watch to add to a Speedmaster collection.
One of the first things I did when I bought my X-33 was get the OEM straps for it, one in red and one in green. The green Kevlar strap (ref. 98000070) was only meant for the X-33 on the Japanese market, but it could also be ordered in other countries. The green works incredibly well with the X-33, especially when the display’s backlight is activated. This inspired our wish to come up with a green Fratello × REM strap for this digital Speedmaster model.
As you can see in the pictures, the short part of the strap has the contour lines of the International Space Station engraved. The long end of the strap has an engraving of the “33” from the model name. As always, the strap has a 127mm long end and a 74mm short end. It also comes with the Fratello-signed buckle in brushed steel (to somewhat match the looks of the Grade 2 titanium case). Finally, the green strap has black stitching to match the filled engravings.
The X-33 model name comes from the X-33 spaceplane that Lockheed-Martin developed with NASA in the 1990s. Even though a launch facility for the X-33 spaceplane was already completed, the project was canceled in 2001. You can read more about this project here.
REM straps use organic leather from Sweden. Everything has been done in Sweden, including the stitching and laser engraving. It’s available in our shop as of today and is priced at €107 (excluding VAT). Click here to get your Fratello × REM Speedmaster X-33 strap now.