Introducing the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch 321 PlatinumBy Sumit Nag
First, a quick recap of the watches that Omega has already in 2019 celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing.
January 9, 2019 — Reintroduction of Calibre 321
Omega wasted no time getting into celebratory launches by announcing that they would be reintroducing a painstakingly accurate recreation of the movement that powered all of the Speedmasters that were used during the Apollo missions.
Omega’s original Calibre 321 was a movement that was based off of the Lemania 2310. It was a manual winding chronograph with a column wheel switching mechanism; beating at 2.5Hz, 44-hour power reserve.
Needless to say, the Calibre 321 is the stuff of legends, having serviced the Speedmaster until 1968 when the 861 replaced it. So, to say that they were going to reissue the 321, which has now been out of production for 51 years is no slight matter. Getting this wrong, would cause the #SpeedyAddict community to riot.
This early in the year, all Omega said to reassure us was that they had done referred very closely to their own library of data on the 321 and performed a tomographic scan of Apollo 17 astronaut, Eugene “Gene” Cernan’s Speedmaster ST 105.003 and the 321 that powers it to obtain the essential blueprints necessary to create the 2019 version of the 321.
They further shared that all processes involved in the production of the 2019 Calibre 321 would be performed by a very dedicated Calibre 321 workshop at their Bienne manufacture. But not just the movement, but the complete watch — the watch head and bracelet assembly — will be performed by individual watchmakers, from start to end.
January 23, 2019 — Details of the New Original Calibre 321
Just weeks in, Omega announced further details pertaining to the 2019 version of the 321. Revolution having had good fortune to have visited the Omega manufacture, just before this segment of the announcement, were able to obtain original photographs of this new generation of the 321.
The team at Omega shared how emotional an investment this was for them, that they knew exactly the weight of the responsibility of recreating a venerable movement from their past in 2019, but to the exacting specifications of the movement that it would’ve been back in the 60s on the inside of the 105.003, 105.012 and 145.012 references of the Speedmaster.
All of Swatch Group had to be called to arms, particularly Nivarox, to help manufacture movement parts that had been long out of production.
Omega shared that they then assembled a small group of watchmakers and historians worked under the project name “Alaska 11” to work on creating the most precise reconstruction of the 321. They also shared that the exact version of the 321 they had chosen to recreate is the Gen 2 variation, as it is this version that would’ve been the one powering all of the watches used on the Apollo missions.
It is thoroughly impressive to learn of the extent that Omega and several involved arms of the Swatch group went to in order to create the 245 components that come together to form the new movement, the New Original 321.
March 12, 2019 — Introducing the Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Limited Edition in Moonshine™ Gold
Well into March of the year, Omega finally announced the first watch that it had created to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing. This one’s based off of the 1969 Yellow Gold Omega Speedmaster Tribute to Apollo 11 reference BA 145.022.
This was the first solid gold Speedmaster that Omega had ever made. 1014 examples are known to have been manufactured with 32 having been gifted to NASA astronauts and government personnel who helped make the Apollo missions a reality (the very first two instances were allocated to Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew, who were both compelled to turn them down due to their substantial value).
The 2019 tribute to the BA 145.022 is again a solid gold Speedmaster, endowed with details from its ancestor, such as, the burgundy DON bezel, black hour markers, OM-Swiss-OM printed on the bottom of the dial, applied Omega logo, Omega printed with the oval O and even the ribbing on the clasp of the bracelet.
Deviations, though, being that the bezel is now in ceramic with OMEGA Ceragold™ used for the tachymeter scale. The case and bracelet are now in 18K Moonshine™ Gold, the brand’s propriety gold alloy with a touch of palladium that’s meant to give the material hardness and prevent discoloration from oxidation.
The movement used for the watch is also new: the 2019 Co-Axial Master Chronometer Caliber 3861, made in Moonshine™ Gold-treated bridges and plates for the special execution.
May 17, 2019 — Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Limited Edition
Following Omega’s showcase of their complete collection of 2019 novelties at Time to Move, we now were introduced to the Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Limited Edition.
The commemorative timepiece takes inspiration from the 105.012 and adds in a few details to mark the occasion. It starts off with a black DON ceramic bezel featuring an OMEGA Ceragold™ tachymeter scale. The 42mm case and flat-link bracelet on this one are in steel.
On the dial, you have central grey zone and then the minute track in black. The hour markers and the applied Omega logo are all in Moonshine™ Gold. Note the 11th hour marker, which is the only Arabic numeral used for the hour markers — a nod to the Apollo 11 mission.
Further on the dial, on the subdial at 9 o’clock, you have a depiction of Buzz Aldrin climbing down from Eagle onto the lunar surface at 03:15:16 UTC.
Turning the watch over, you’ve got a closed caseback featuring a laser-engraved astronaut’s foot print with moon-surface texture and the words of Neil Armstrong, “that’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind” in Moonshine™ Gold-plated lettering.
The movement used for the watch is again the new for 2019, Co-Axial Master Chronometer Calibre 3861.
The limited will be delivered with what Omega has dubbed the Astronaut Kit, which includes an additional Velcro® strap with black-coated cork, two mission patches (50th anniversary/Apollo 11), two engraved plates (landing site coordinates/landing site and time) as well as a strap-changing tool. Last but not least, a Lunar Model display stand.
July 21, 2019 02:56 UTC — Introducing the Speedmaster Moonwatch 321 Platinum
And at long last we meet the watch that the Alaska 11 team has destined to bear their New Original Calibre 321: meet the Speedmaster Moonwatch 321 Platinum.
July 21, 02:56 UTC because it was this exact time when Neil Armstrong stepped off Eagle onto the lunar surface in 1969.
The 42mm timepiece is made of a special platinum alloy with the use of gold (Pt950Au20) in the form of the fourth generation twisted lugs case of the ST 105.012.
Its DON bezel is in black ceramic with its tachymeter scale in white enamel.
Moving into the case, you have a stepped onyx dial with 18K white gold for the indexes and hands (save for the central chronograph seconds hand). The important detail on the dial though are the three subdials that are formed in real slices of moon meteorite.
Turning the watch over you have a see through caseback to show off the star of the show: the New Original Calibre 321.
It appears that the watch will not be a numbed edition, but as we know from the earlier information from the New Original Calibre 321’s launch, the movement being produced in a limited number, the watch too, no doubt will be proportionately limited in production.
Price: CHF 55,000