The iconic Seamaster Omega Bullhead was resurrected in late 2013 with three limited editions. Now as part of the Olympics series, Omega releases yet another edition, the Omega Bullhead Rio 2016 edition. This edition does not come as a surprise, given how Omega has been supporting the Olympics over generations. But what do we think about co-branding and the whole gimmick of pop culture? After all Omega is the watch behind the numbered 007 metal pumping, muscle throbing murderer.
While we are not ardent fans of Daniel Craig or the spy entourage, we do appreciate bullheads. Bullhead chronographs are reminiscent of motor sports from the 70’s and is arguably a definitive motor sport chronograph. This Omega variant reserves this rich heritage, with the bullhead pushers and an elevated dial angle. There have been some changes however, to the pushers. The pushers on the new Seamaster Bullhead, while still at the head of the bull- mounted on the top of the watch, are flat pushers as opposed to the original round pushers. Apart from this significant difference, the Bullhead also uses a new movement, the automatic Co-Axial calibre 3113. This movement is a modern achievement by Omega which replaces the old manually-wound calibre 930 found in the vintage model. However, being a stickler for vintage movements, we will choose the older and less efficient 930 over the new co-axial anytime. Of course, this is merely for romantic associations rather than pragmatic ones. The modern movement is not pathetic either, as it uses an integrated automatic column wheel movement, which contains the DNA of traditional integrated chronograph movements.
While the new Bullhead’s dial design captures the strength of the original, with its distinctive inner bezel and the sub-dials at 12 and 6 o’clock, we have found the inner bezel oddly poised in a chronograph. For one, it merely ‘functions’ as a decoration. Inner bezels or flanges are used in diver watches and are/were functional albeit obsolete (given today’s gadgets and elctronics). In this case though, the inner bezel while adding an additional dimension to the watch, is purely cosmetic.
In conclusion, the Omega Bullhead Rio 2016 edition is an interesting piece, wears well on the wrist and is a great weekend watch. The playful colours on the bezel and strap fits perfectly on the wrist of a weekend drive or an offshore yacht getaway. While it is a great watch for the fun loving crowd, or collectors of Bullhead chronographs, it hardly comes across as a beater or a classic keeper, given its adulterated association with ‘limited editions’ and the fanfare overture of the Olympics. The watch retails at SGD $12,400.