Omega Dynamic Series 1

I can’t recall how I discovered the Omega Dynamic. Most likely I was trawling eBay or the Watchuseek sales forum for bargains, but I do know exactly the watch that grabbed me. It was a first-generation model with a brushed stainless steel case and a blue and silver dial that looked like an eyeball. It was weird and wonderful, and I knew I would have to add one to my collection. Eventually, I added two of these under-appreciated gems: an early blue/gold dial in a 14k gold capped case on a synthetic strap, and a later two-tone gray dial in a brushed case that arrived on leather and was subsequently retrofitted with a bracelet. 

Omega Dynamic wrist
I won't delve too far into the history of the watch and its variants (for that, I'll refer you to Desmond Guilfoyle's excellent article) but a little background is in order. Omega created the Dynamic for the 1965 Prix de Ville de Geneva. It had a streamlined oval case, color block dial, and a unique mounting ring design for its straps and bracelets. The watch was a radical departure from convention, and it was exactly what the watchmaker needed to attract a youthful new generation. The Dynamic first launched in late 1968 and proved wildly popular, rapidly became Omega’s number one watch with more than one million units sold by 1972. It even saw its share of imitators – Bulova and Gruen pop to mind. A second case variant followed, and the Dynamic saw some overlap with the De Ville line, but it was soon over. Omega discontinued the range in 1979. They reintroduced the Dynamic in 1984 with a bizarre asymmetric “spider” case, but this was mercifully short-lived. The Omega Museum website now lists the Dynamic as one of its “lost lines.”

Omega Dynamic

The case is a lugless oval, decorated with a deeply grained radial brushing, measuring 41mm wide, 37 tall, and 10mm thick to the top of its Hesalite acrylic box crystal. Later models were offered on polished cases with rounded sides, and the Dynamic/DeVille crossovers produced square case models, but for this review, I'll stick to the more common, oblong brushed versions that I own. Omega also produced a scaled-down, 31mm ladies' version that is otherwise identical to the men's version reviewed here. Most other lugless designs channel their spring bar perches into the barrel of the case; eliminating lugs while retaining their mechanism. Not so for the Dynamic. In lieu of bars, the watch has a circular channel into which a proprietary one-piece strap or bracelet mount is seated and secured with a threaded ring. This leaves the underside smooth and minimizes the watch's footprint. With the bracelet in place, the watch does, in fact, have lugs in the form of fixed link attachment points. Including those increases overall length to just 42mm.


Omega Dynamic  back

This is a monocoque case. You access the movement by pulling the crown free and removing the crystal with "special tool 107" as it says on the case back. At the time, Omega boasted that this feature made the watch waterproof to 30m. Granted, this is nothing in today's market, but it was not bad at all in 1967. Of course, one should remember that these watches are now several decades old, so unless it has been recently overhauled and pressure tested, it is best to keep your watch out of the water altogether.

The Dynamic was touted as an ergonomically optimized design, and indeed, it does have some rather clever features. The oblong shape fits neatly between your wrist bones. Original straps were made of Corfam, a porous synthetic leather that was perforated for even better air flow. Both the strap and bracelet taper from 30mm down to a wispy 14mm buckle or 16mm clasp. Contemporary advertising claimed the distinctive "time zone" dial allowed you to easily read the time in 1/5th-second increments. To be honest, I have no idea what they were talking about. Maybe I'm not sophisticated enough to recognize it, but I did not experience any heightened sense of precision timekeeping. Regardless, it is a highly functional layout and its bold and beautiful contrasting minute and hour rings are unquestionably eye-catching. The black and white baton hands graze their markers, and they are even filled with lume, although they have long since lost all potency. The blue/gold face is entirely printed, but the gray dial has applied hour markers that, in my opinion, greatly improve its appearance. In keeping with the Dynamic's sporting nature, the second hand is a bright needle; sky blue on the blue/gold dial and orange on the gray dial. While the bullseye design on these two watches is the one most commonly associated with the Dynamic range, they also offered more conventional layouts.

Omega Dynamic  wrist

Omega offered the Dynamic with a number of mechanical movements. My watches have the 24-jewel Calibre 565 automatic with a 19.8k bph vibration rate and 50-hour power reserve. Its date complication operates by pulling the crown all the way out and then depressing it to advance the wheel. While it is, technically, a "quick set" mechanism and a far better than not having a quick set at all, this push-pull does not feel terribly quick when you haven't worn the watch for a few weeks. Other movements had day/date features, date only like my two, or no date at all. While the push-pull quick set is a quirky feature, I think I'd prefer the aesthetics and practicality of a the no-date version.

Omega Dynamic buckle

I purchased my gold Dynamic from a local collector. It came with a tired looking original Corfam and an aftermarket replacement. The signed buckle has a ladder shape an open space behind the center bar through which the tail is tucked for a clean appearance. I found the gray dial watch on eBay. This minty piece came from a seller who was just clearing out his father's effects, and I bought it for peanuts. It arrived on a decrepit leather strap, so I set out looking for a suitable replacement.

Omega Dynamic buckle

Proprietary straps can be a pain to find, so I was pleasantly surprised to see how plentiful the offbeat Dynamic units are. Otto Frei stocks Omega leather straps for $169, bracelet adapter rings for $128, and bracelets for $480. There was no way The Bum was going to pay that much. I am not a stickler for originality when it comes to straps, and I had no desire to put a sparking new bracelet on a 40-year old watch head. Fortunately, it is easy to find aftermarket straps for as low as $20 on eBay, and I found a used original Omega bracelet in very good condition for under $100.


The retaining ring can be removed with a regular case back wrench, but why risk scratching your case when you can pick up the plastic Tool 206 that was originally supplied with the watch for as little as $15? The system works quite well. Those of us who frequently swap straps using spring pin tools will wonder what the fuss is about, but for a non-watch nerd buying the watch in 1970, the threaded retainer was probably a revelation. The only caveat is that you need to be sure that the watch head is properly aligned on the strap. It is easy to get it off-center, and from what I have seen online, it seems many people have needlessly worn their Dynamics cock-eyed for years.

Omega Dynamic

The watch may be small by today's standards, but its unique shape and the broad beam of its strap/bracelet at the case give it a healthier wrist presence than you might think. It is perfect on my 6.5" wrist, but I suspect beefier fellows will likely think otherwise. On thicker wrists, the Dynamic would be more in line with a dress watch than the sporty all-arounder as it was initially conceived. For such a small watch, I expected the bracelet would be an easy fit on my 6.5" wrist, but this was not the case. I had to remove all the extra links and move the micro adjustment on the clasp to bring it down to size. It worked out fine, but just barely. If you have a smaller wrist, you will likely want to stick to a strap.

Omega Dynamic gold

My gold dial Dynamic comes out on special occasions as a dress watch (often paired with these sweet 60's vintage Pierre Cardin cufflinks) and will one day get a custom strap or a used gold bracelet to better suit this purpose. The gray dial is a frequent visitor to my office as it looks sharp with a suit and slips under even my tightest shirt cuffs. As much as I dig the bracelet, I miss the contrast between the cool charcoal and the saddle leather strap, so I will likely seek a replacement for that as well.

Dynamics enjoy the cachet of the Omega name and top-quality movements but are not yet embraced as collectible classics, and they are in no way in short supply. As a result, prices are very reasonable. Watch Recon and eBay searches will reveal Dynamics generally selling in the $500-$1800 range. There are outliers, of course. Watch dealers with pristine complete sets will ask well over $2000, and 18k gold cased models also command a premium. Needless to say, buyers should beware frankenwatches, repainted dials, or other second-hand shenanigans. These are not rare watches, so there is no reason to settle for a damaged or non-functioning piece unless you want a project and are getting it very cheap.

Perhaps the Dynamic was a victim of its own success. After all, it was a product of the moment, seizing the brash modernism and bold graphics that defined the late 60’s and early 70’s. It was not exactly what you would call a restrained, timeless design, and it is easy to see how it would have been terribly out of fashion by the early 80's, but with the benefit of time it is easier to appreciate its brilliantly offbeat design. There is much to love in these watches, and the fact that they are still so affordable makes them all the more appealing. ⬩
Omega Dynamic clasp


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