We all have our preferences in life. And that’s a very good thing, otherwise, it would become very boring, very quickly if we all lusted after the same things. But sometimes, the feeling of forced uniformity tends to creep up on us through various circumstances. The Volkswagen Beetle, for instance, was sold in the millions but not because it was such a good car. The same goes for watches, and to us, it’s sometimes baffling how many people tend to blindly follow the masses and not go for something more original and true to heart. This sadly leads to seriously cool watches being massively overlooked without proper reason. Case in point: the Omega Seamaster Railmaster Co-Axial Master Chronometer, a sleek, vintage-styled watch with an interesting history and proper mechanics under the hood.
In today’s watch industry, people are seemingly flocking towards steel sports watches of all sorts. And for good reason, as most are perfect, everyday watches that can take a bit of a beating. And honestly, there are really plenty of very solid options available. IF they are available that is. And I’m not talking about watches with an integrated design either, I’m talking steel sports watches in general.
We all know the state of the market these days, as some watches are ridiculously overhyped. So much so, that it’s impossible to get your hands on some of them without shelling out a huge premium or, even worse, “building a relationship” with an AD by buying watches you don’t want, hoping they will one day give you “the call”. While I’m by no means trying to offend people by the choices they make, it seems illogical to buy a watch at 3 or 4 times the premium just because it’s so very “hot”.
But does this mean it is the Modus Operandus across the entire board? Luckily, no, and if you’re willing to do some investigating there are true gems to be uncovered. At retail mind you, or thereabouts at least. Mulling over this very topic within the MONOCHROME editorial team led to at least one watch that is seemingly so overlooked it feels like a bargain almost, in today’s state of collecting watches. We’re talking about the Omega Seamaster Railmaster Co-Axial Master Chronometer or Railmaster in short.
The Railmaster returned in 2017 and was part of the 1957 Trilogy Set, along with a special edition of the Speedmaster and the Seamaster 300. This box-set was a limited run of 557 pieces only, containing all three faithfully recreated watches. Next to that, each was presented as a limited edition of 3,557 pieces which could be bought individually. The set marked the 60th anniversary of three of the most iconic watches in the industry, as explained here. Each one was modelled after a 1957 reference: the Seamaster 300 CK2913, the Railmaster CK2914 and the Speedmaster CK2915.
Since the Railmaster was reintroduced, it has been updated with a new size, new dials and various strap options. The Trilogy 1957 model had a 38mm wide steel case with Omega’s signature lyre lugs and had an almost perfectly replicated ‘tropical’ dial in greyish-brown/black with broad-arrow hour and minute hands, a needle-like seconds hand and beige Super-LumiNova on the hands and indices. The watch looks rather plain, but that’s the whole point of it as it is a direct copy of the vintage Railmaster.
Omega later introduced a slightly larger size, with a touch more modernity to it. It still featured the same overall design but now in a 40mm diameter. The dial was updated slightly, with a new font for the 3/6/9/12 numerals, a crosshair, vertical brushing, sword-shaped hour and minutes hand, lollipop seconds hand and newly styled hour indices and minute track on the outer perimeter. It definitely captures the essence of the 1957 CK2914, but with a fresh face. Next to a black dial, you can also opt for a monochromatic silver or denim-blue dial with the same layout.
All of these watches, the 1957 Trilogy model, are powered by the in-house Calibre 8806, Master Chronometer certified by METAS of course. Thanks to modern construction and materials, there’s no need for a soft-iron inner case anymore to achieve an anti-magnetic resistance of up to 15,000 Gauss. The movement has the well-known co-axial escapement with a free-sprung balance. It runs at a rate of 25,200vph and provides 55 hours of autonomy when fully wound. Although hidden from view by the solid caseback, the movement features the typical style of finishing by Omega, with rhodium plating, Geneva waves in arabesque and blackened balance wheel and screws. The non-1957 Railmaster comes on a fully brushed stainless steel bracelet, or on a leather or textile and leather alternatives.
This all sounds fine and dandy of course, but you’re probably expecting some sort of a kicker by now. Well, we can honestly say we didn’t really find one. Sure, at EUR 5,100 on textile/leather or EUR 5,500 on steel bracelet it’s not exactly a cheap watch by any means. But, and this is important, it is somewhat attainable for most people AND readily available through boutiques and retailers. And with it, you would get a no-nonsense, very solidly built watch, with a properly engineered mechanical movement, and loads of vintage-inspired character. And if you want to tone it down and wear it on that (admittedly rather cool) denim NATO strap, that’s all perfectly fine!
Sure, the Railmaster 1957 Trilogy might be a touch harder to source, but it’s far from impossible as well. A quick search on Chrono24, still the go-to source for most collectors, revealed about 15 of this limited edition Railmaster on offer, with some priced at or below retail. And in our books, that sounds like a sure-fire win.
For more information, please visit OmegaWatches.com
Technical specifications – OMEGA SEAMASTER RAILMASTER CO-AXIAL MASTER CHRONOMETER
Case: 40mm diameter x 12.65mm height – stainless steel case, brushed – sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on both sides – stainless steel caseback – 150m water-resistant
Dial: Black, silver or blue dials – vertically brushed finish with crosshair – triangular indices with “integrated” minute track – 3/6/9/12 numerals – sword-shaped hour and minute hands, lollipop seconds hand – “tropical” beige or white Super-LumiNova
Movement: Omega Calibre 8806, in-house – automatic winding – 35 jewels – 25,200vph – 55h power reserve – Co-Axial escapement with free-sprung balance – anti-magnetic up to 15,000 Gauss – Master Chronometer certification issued by METAS – Geneva waves in arabesque – blackened balance wheel and screws
Strap: stainless steel bracelet with folding clasp, fully brushed – black textile strap, cognac leather NATO strap or blue denim NATO strap alternative (depending on dial colour)
Reference: 126.96.36.199.01.001 – steel case, black dial, steel bracelet
188.8.131.52.01.001 – steel case, black dial, black textile strap
184.108.40.206.06.001 – steel case, silver dial, steel bracelet
220.127.116.11.06.001 – steel case, silver dial, cognac leather NATO
18.104.22.168.03.001 – steel case, blue dial, steel bracelet
22.214.171.124.03.001 – steel case, blue dial, blue denim NATO
Price: EUR 5,100 on leather/textile – EUR 5,500 on steel bracelet