|Movement||2402 (ETA 2892-A2)|
|Lug to lug||44mm|
Omega Aqua Terra Railmaster is one of the first Omega Railmaster reissues from the early 00s. The watch features no-date 2403 movement and 3-6-9 dial present in the earlier references. The thing to note is that the Aqua Terra Railmaster is not an antimagnetic watch in the spirit of Eberhard Scientigraph, Rolex Milgaus, IWC Ingeniur or the original Omega Railmaster. Instead, as part of the Aqua Terra lineup, the 2504.52 Railmaster was perhaps meant to compete with Rolex Explorer.
The Aqua Terra Railmasters are defined by no date 3-6-9 dial, painted super luminova plots, screwdown crown and co-axial movement. The watches offer 150m water resistance making them durable companions to office dwellers, commuters and downtown mall spelunkers .
The 36mm Aqua Terra Railmaster was released during time when Omega lineup was based on the more is more principle. Similarly to the Planet Oceans, the Aqua Terra Railmaster was released in multiple configurations from 36mm to 49mm. Of these, the 39mm variant is the most popular and easily found. There has been discussion that the 41mm would be the rarest, but they seem to be available at any given moment unlike the 2504.52 or 2804.52 which show up few times a year.
|2103.52||39mm||20mm||Yellow gold, yellow gold bracelet|
|2603.52.37||39mm||20mm||Yellow gold, brown leather strap|
|2603.52.31||39mm||20mm||Yellow gold, black leather strap|
|2806.52.37||49mm||24mm||Leather strap, Manual wound|
|22.214.171.124.01.001||49mm||24mm||Rose gold, leather strap, manual wound|
|126.96.36.199.01.002||49mm||24mm||White gold, leather strap, manual wound|
If you’re “A Big Watch Guy” the 49mm Railmaster could be a good alternative IWC Pilot a good alternative. In a way, the most interesting reference is the 18k 2103.52 with the 18k gold bracelet. I don’t fancy owning one, but it’d be amazing to see one in person one day.
The bracelet features integrated clasp without any micro adjustments. The bracelet is a typical pin & collar bracelet of the era. The bracelet is robust and serviceable as pins take most of the wear and they can be replaced during the service. The downside is that for amateurs the bracelets can be difficult to adjust and it is easy to bend pins and lose collars.
|Bracelet / Endlink||Lug Width||Buckle|
For those who suffer from swelling, the bracelet may not be optimal as there is no micro-adjustment. Another issue is getting it properly fit as the size is controlled with half-links. As for the 2504.52, the 19mm to 16mm taper is proportioned and relatively standard and the bracelet is very comfortable.
For perfectionists and people who suffer from OCD, the bracelet design makes it nearly impossible to center the hidden clasp. This may be a serious downside depending on the mental condition of the watch enthusiast.
Field watches and nato straps go together like salt and pepper. The 2504.52 is no exception. For people who can’t live with a cheeky springbar, the 19mm lug width may be difficult to digest. However, if you take the peeking spring bar as a stylistic element, the Railmaster Chronometer can be worn with just about any 18mm Nato.
Another option is leather. I have yet to purchase a 16mm Omega Deployant clasp, but I’m planning to do so and get a quality leather, sailcloth and canvas for change.
Dial and Hands
The 3-6-9 dial is a throwback to the original Railmaster from 1950s. Aside from green super luminova, the Railmaster Chronometer has more text on the dial. The defining feature of the no-date dial is symmetry and simplicity. The dial of the 2504.52 is about the same size as 2201.50. This makes it a very good companion to the 42mm Planet Ocean of the same time. The 2503.52 has a slightly larger dial than 2201.50, which may look out of place next to such imposing dive watch.
With the hands, there comes a major difference to the original railmaster. The original Railmaster has Ranchero style hands with Arrow hour-hand whereas the Aqua Terra Railmaster has a regular hour hand and arrow minute hand. This difference is inherited from the Aqua Terra line-up, which still uses this configuration even today.
The watch is powered by the 2403 movement, which is a no date version of the cal 2500. Just like the cal 2500, due to the early issues with the co-axial escapement, the movement received an upgrade with lower beat rate. It is not a big surprise to anyone that the movement feels and winds exactly like its date sibling, the cal 2500, but without the date adjustment. Crown action is robust and very tool-watchey. The see-through case back is a nice touch and the rhodium plated movement is beautiful.
The 2504.52 is a late addition to the family. The 39mm and the 41mm versions can be found with both movement types 2403A and 2403B. However, all of the examples of the 2504.52 that I have tried to buy have been with 2403B movement with 84xxxx serial. If somebody knows whether the 36mm Railmaster came with a 2403A, I’d be interested to know and update this post.
2504.52 Seen in Wild
|2504.52||???||Chrono24, Czech Republic||4300 EUR|
|2504.52||84699791||October 26th, 2010||Chrono24, USA 24/7/2021||4999 USD|
|2504.52||???||??||Chrono24, Singapore 11/8/2021||3755 USD|
|2504.52||84697953||2403B||2012||Chrono24, Usa 6/8/2021||4513€|
|2504.52||84643XXX (mine)||2403B||Yahoo Auctions Japan 25/7/2021||300000 JPY|
|2504.52||8478XXXX||2403B||Watchuseek 30/10/2020||4250 USD|
|2504.52||81699XXX||2403B||Omegaforums 30/8/2020||4150 USD|
The 36mm Railmaster Chronometer is an interesting watch:
- It can be used to make a poor man’s late 00s trilogy.
- It is an obscure alternative to Rolex Explorer.
- It is rare and worth collecting / hunting.
Personally, I find the early co-axial movements interesting and the looks of 2504.52 appealing. It makes an excellent everyday watch and a perfect companion to the 2201.50, which I also like.
In case of errors, please reach me out with DMs. I’d like to correct them.