The third iteration of the Omega Speedmaster costs at least 6 times more than the previous version with good reason.
Perhaps the past year in quarantine has played tricks on our sense of time – it certainly didn’t feel that long ago when Omega released new versions of the Speedmaster; the Chronoscope being at the end of last year. And it is interesting that Omega’s first major watch release for 2022 is a Speedy, a third remake of the legendary 321 movement launched in 1957. This was hailed as a gamechanger – a chronograph created for race car professionals and boy racers all around the world. This OG was the first to sport a tachymeter scale on the bezel for easy timing and accurate counting of average speeds. Also known as the moon watch, the 321 Calibre within powered the Omega watches that rocketed into space with the Apollo missions and accompanied all six moon landings in history. This current iteration not only celebrates more than six decades of chronograph excellence in counting time and pushing the limits of speed and distance, it also stays true to the movement, taking effort to recreate it while on the other hand, adding generously luxurious details to produce a gorgeously subtle tribute that watch collectors and fans alike can appreciate.
The 2022 Speedmaster Calibre 321 might look like a handsome utility watch, with a price tag that is baffling except to those who are in the know about its history and the back story. It is ultimately a luxury version for two main reasons – crafted using an exotic precious material, and a meticulous recreation of the 321 movement. Canopus Gold is Omega’s proprietary alloy of white gold, platinum, palladium and rhodium, hard to distinguish from the humble stainless steel variant in photographs but purported to have a special sheen to the naked eye, and boasting remarkable strength and durability.
This high end Speedmaster Calibre 321 might not be riding the limited edition production line but it is said to be assembled by hand and tweaked by a single atelier, so a buyer might have to be patient in getting their hands on one.
Unlike the 2nd version rolled out five years prior and one that religiously followed the original CK2915-1 in design, Omega has done more this time to the latest than just dressing it up in fancy metal, with visual bells and whistles added to make Gen 3 more precious than ever.
The case is shaped and sized like the original’s at 38.6 mm with bezel markings filled with black “Grand Feu” enamel. And what’s special about it is the deep glossy black onyx dial hosting broad-arrow shaped hands, indexes and sub dials coated in 18k Canopus Gold with elements filled with a modern white luminous material. More distinctly, collector-coveted touches like the retro Omega logo and typography featuring an oval “O”, the famous dot over ninety and a dot diagonal to seventy have been applied. Speedy fans will also notice the NAIAD symbol astride the crown of the watch which historically referred to water resistance of up to 60 metres. Also exciting for collectors is that the new watch will be presented in a Rosewood-like wooden box that closely resembles the original 1957 packaging.
Keeping its original column wheel and horizontal clutch design, the 321 Calibre continues to hum at 2.5 Hz or 18,000 vph but with a revised power reserve of 55 hours. The new Speedy also stays true to the original with a flat link bracelet brushed and polished with a folding clasp using a comfort release adjustment system, however, this time in Canopus Gold.
In order to see this original movement, one has to turn the watch over to view it through the newly designed sapphire crystal glass. The engraving of the iconic Speedmaster seahorse lends a remarkable and majestic view to the movement, with its blue sapphire eye twinkling in delight.
Images courtesy of Omega, artwork by Curatedition. All rights reserved.