The renowned Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch has finally gotten the update we’ve all been waiting for: an upgraded Master Chronometer-certified engine, a new(ish) bracelet, and lots of fan service in the dial, crystal, and bezel for good measure. All without foregoing the Speedmaster’s single most significant feature: it is still flight-qualified by NASA “…for all manned space missions.” Speedy collectors can finally breathe a sigh of relief, because this is the deserving replacement you’ve been waiting for.
Of all, nice looks alone don’t make legends, and filling the shoes of the original Speedy, which has earned its renown over over five decades of space flight and exploration, would be a huge undertaking. However, NASA has committed to putting the first woman and the next man on the moon by 2024 for the Artemis mission, so the delayed Speedy update in 2021 may be perfectly on track. It’s the kind of boldness that would inspire a new generation of space enthusiasts and provide a new platform for a new generation of Speedmaster watches. Although Omega’s involvement in Artemis is yet unofficially verified, the caseback etching makes one thing clear: the Speedmaster is returning to space. Message in Advertising Message At The End Of Advertising
Whatever you think of the Seamaster or the Constellation, the Speedmaster line – and the Moonwatch in particular – is without a doubt Omega’s most important. So it’s nearly self-evident that Omega would have to step carefully when it comes to bringing its most valuable, collected, and hotly discussed property into the future. That may be why this update is so refreshing – in order to accomplish the difficult goal of upgrading its most important reference without abandoning the Speedy’s millions of followers, Omega did what any decent brand should do: they listened.
If these changes seem remotely familiar to Speedy fans, it’s because they should.
Consider the next-generation Moonwatch to be a more completely realised mid-sixties ref. 105.012, with a 42mm stainless steel casing packed with all the minute touches that Speedmaster fans adore.
A matte varnished step dial, “short and plump” pushers, a “teardrop” style chronograph seconds hand (notable for its pointed base), and a bevelled caseback with an engraved Hippocampus are just a few of the features. The prized “dot-over-ninety” (DON) aluminium tachymeter bezel is the cherry on top, just as God and Ed White intended. End Of Advertising Message (Advertising Message) (Advertising Message) (Advert
Last year’s Calibre 321 announcement (also on the inaugural ‘Speedy Tuesday’ of that year, for those following track in 2022) sparked further speculation: would the next-generation Moonwatch be equipped with this movement as well? Would it also set you back more than $10,000? Omega is equipping this new reference with the new Moonwatch calibre 3861, a hand-wound mechanical chronograph movement that we’ve already seen in two special edition modern Speedmasters: the 2019 Apollo 11 50th Anniversary in steel, and the more recently introduced 50th Anniversary Silver Snoopy edition – an endlessly charming release we dubbed “the feel-g.” As a result, the 321 has been consigned to more pricey special edition Speedmasters, while the 3861 has taken over as the new space watch.
In both cases, the Omega Caliber 3861 is notable for its adherence to the legacy of hand-wound Speedmaster movements while also incorporating Omega’s latest movement technology, such as a free-sprung balance with an anti-magnetic silicon hairspring (rated resistant to up to 15,000 Gauss). More notably, the Moonwatch was the last modern Omega timepiece not to be driven by a fully METAS-certified Master Chronometer movement — a flaw that has since been addressed. It’s safe to assume that this is a worthy successor to NASA’s long-running cal. 1861 – a movement that was a direct descendent of the original cal. 321 that powered the Speedmaster in its early space-faring days.
The bracelet – which is still the brushed five-link style (with the centre links flanked by a row of polished outer rings) that should be known to any Speedmaster owner – is perhaps the most obvious visual evidence that this is not a cal. 1861 Speedmaster. However, a closer examination reveals that the sandwiched centre link is now nearly the same size as the two outer links, a design attribute shared by the 2019 Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Speedmaster in Moonshine gold, as well as the late-sixties Speedmasters to which this allusion paid homage.
The new Moonwatch, like the outgoing core Speedmaster Professional variants, is made up of multiple key references, starting with ref. 310.30.42.50.01.001, which is the most classic of the updates, with painted dial elements, a hesalite crystal (NASA’s original flight-qualified specification), and the new bracelet for a price of 5,800 CHF – a roughly 20% increase over the outgoing core Speedmaster Professional variants. The slightly more luxe ref. 310.30.42.50.01.002, with an attached logo, display sapphire caseback, and box sapphire crystal, costs 6,600 CHF. For the first time, both references are offered without the bracelet, on Omega’s superb nylon strap, starting at 5,500 CHF (hesalite ref. 310.32.42.50.01.001) and 6,300 CHF (sapphire ref. 310.32.42.50.01.002), respectively. All 18k Sedna (rose) or Canopus (white) gold versions will be available, with prices ranging from 22,800 CHF to 41,900 CHF. Omega’s spectacular Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch presentation box is scheduled to be included with all variations, as well as a five-year warranty. Visit omegawatches.com for more details about the new model.