SSIH – Omega, P44D – Cal.: 5500 Prototype, 1974 – 75
Category: functional prototype
Description: Nickel plated, brass cased watch. Screwed stainless steel case back. Inside of the case back marked ‘Serie 0, Cal. P44D’ and with black sharpie ‘pile 354′. Outside of the case back marked with a white sticker ’11’ and pile 354′, marked with black sharpie ‘354’. Original, blue, metallic prototype dial, with white printing. Raised silver coloured hour indexes. Raised, silver company logo at ’12’. Date window at ‘3’. White minute track. Original crown. All original hands.
Movement: SSIH 5500, battery #344
Dimensions: Diam.: 38.5, lug – lug: 41, strap width at lugs: 19mm
Additional Info: Only 2 of these prototypes are known. This watch contains the first in-house movement developed by the SSIH-Quartz division founded in September 1974. This movement was later mounted in Tissot watches and widely used as cal.: 2030. The white sticker is showing the number ’11’, which states the prototype number on Raymond Froidevaux list of watches. ‘Pile 354’ refers to the type of battery suggested by Froidevaux, but #344 fits better. The time setting is precision oriented and very fancy (see instructions below). Omega never used this caliber and never used this exact type of case. The design of the prototype dial was adapted to/from other Omega prototypes (never for production models), the case style has never been used for other pieces.
An interesting feature of this watch is the fact of using a plated brass case. This shows the efforts in reducing costs, even for the developmental phases of the watches. Setting the time is as follows:
- Precision sync: Press the crown to stop the seconds. Release when in sync with reference time.
- Set hours: Pull the crown to set the hours
- Set minutes: 1) press the crown to stop seconds; 2) hold crown depressed for 5 seconds; 3) release for a fraction of a second; 4) press crown again and hold until the hands rotate to the desired position.
- Set date: No quick date feature. Pull the crown to set hours, turn slowly passed ’12’ until the wanted date is reached.
Provenance: This watch was obtained from the former Omega watch designer Raymond Froidevaux, who among other models designed the famous Omega ‘Chrono – Quartz, Albatros’ of 1976. Latter is one of the first dual display (analog / digital) watches ever made, only beaten by Zenith’s ‘Futur Time Command’ issued in 1975.