Movies and Trivia

X-33 Movie Appearances

Omega’s X-33 has made two known Hollywood movie appearances. As described previously, Omega had extensively marketed the X-33 as the “Mars Watch” which was ostensibly designed for an (eventual?) mission to Mars. The reasons for such were never quite clear to space enthusiasts as NASA’s proposed X-33 vehicle was never even intended for a mission to Mars; in fact, neither the X-33 nor VentureStar was ever intended to be capable of flight beyond Earth orbit at all. And while Omega might have been optimistically proactive in designing wristwatches for some as yet unimagined potential future mission, the notion was so fanciful that creating watches for such a mission was a premature step to say the least. It is generally assumed that Omega simply hoped to latch onto prominent product placement marketing in the 2000 movie “Mission to Mars” and hope they could get away with the continued association (and optimism) in the minds of consumers.

Scene from Mission to Mars

Scene from “Mission to Mars”

Gen 1 X-33 featured worn on the right arm of an EVA suit in the movie “Mission to Mars.” Perhaps this is how the Mars nonsense started… Images © Touchstone Studious

Gen 1 X-33 featured worn on the right arm of an EVA suit in the movie “Mission to Mars.” Perhaps this is how the “Mars” nonsense started… Images © Touchstone Studious

The Omega Speedmaster Professional X-33 also had a famously uncredited (and unpaid!) cameo product placement role in the 2002 movie “Minority Report” starring Tom Cruise and directed by Steven Spielberg. Several important plot points hang upon countdown timing from protagonist Chief John Anderton’s wristwatch and apparently the producers wanted an especially futuristic-looking watch for the conspicuous role. The existing Gen 1 X-33 (the Gen 2 version had been released by the time of the premiere but the Gen 1 was the most easily available during production) was of course a logical basis with its already very modern-looking appearance, especially if it were to be even further enhanced with CGI special effects. However, for reasons that are still not well established the watch was modified to appear as if it were a Bulgari product. Perhaps Bulgari simply won a product placement bid or perhaps Omega was simply never consulted about the modification. Or perhaps Omega would not agree to the CGI modification of their product, preferring instead to publicize an actual retail model vs. a fictitious watch consumers could not purchase in stores. In any case Bulgari seems to have been entirely willing to go along with the deal and in the final production “Bulgari” was CGI-printed on the modified dial display. It was later rumored that Omega/Swatch Group sued the studio over the transgression. While the outcome was never publicized the matter was likely quietly settled behind closed doors.

Here we can see Minority Report’s “Bulgari X-33”. It’s very clearly an Omega X-33 and yet “BVLGARI” features quite proudly on the dial:

Omega X-33 Minority Report Bulgari

Image © 2002 DreamWorks SKG/20th Century Fox

Omega X-33 Minority Report Bulgari

Image © 2002 DreamWorks SKG/20th Century Fox

At other points in “Minority Report” the CGI effects were not applied and the watch can be seen in its original and unmodified state. It is quite plainly an Omega X-33:

Sure Looks like an X-33. Image © 2002 DreamWorks SKG/20th Century Fox

Sure Looks like an X-33. Image © 2002 DreamWorks SKG/20th Century Fox

And here CGI modification was skipped and there is simply no arguing that it’s an Omega X-33:

Very clearly an X-33 here. Sorry, Bulgari.

Very clearly an X-33 here. Sorry, Bulgari.

 

X-33 Facts and Trivia

Omega Speedmsater Professional on green Kevlar strap


America’s Cup X-33 on display in the Omega Museum in Bienne, Switzerland
Photo by Jean-Michel from Speedmaster-Mission.net

 

 


 

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