When thinking Speedmaster, you’ll immediately have in mind the classic Moonwatch, the Professional model that is coincidentally the direct descendant of the watches that made it to space. This statement is, of course, partially right, but not complete. Since the 1970s, the Speedmaster is more than a watch, it’s a collection. Alongside the Moonwatch, the heritage models powered by the Calibre 321, the feminine collection, the Chronoscope or the large Racing models, the brand also has a vintage-inspired watch with modern mechanics, the Speedmaster 57. And today, in the frame of the 65th anniversary of the watch born in 1957, Omega gives the latter a complete revamp. From case to movement or proportions, almost everything changes, and this new Omega Speedmaster 57 Calibre 9906 40.5mm Collection ticks many boxes.
Alongside the Speedmaster Racing and its 44.25mm case, the Speedmaster 57 and its 41.5mm diameter represents the modern side of the collection, at least technically speaking, as both were, until now, powered by the automatic in-house two-counter column-wheel chronograph movement (calibre 9300 or 9900). Launched in 2013, slightly revised in 2015, the Speedmaster 57 is a watch that combines a design with retro-styled elements – such as the symmetrical case, a brushed steel tachymeter bezel or broad-arrow hands on some models – with modernly sized case and 21st-century movement architecture. If the Moonwatch is the worthy descendant of the watch worn on the Moon, the Speedmaster 57 has to be seen as a watch that pays tribute to the origins of the model, without looking in the mirror when it comes to technology.
Yet, this collection has never received an extremely warm welcome, being often overlooked compared to its Majesty the Moonwatch. There were many good things to see in this watch, such as the combination of vintage elements and modern movement, yet the balance was not perfect. Something was not totally working… But the revamped collection for 2022 corrects many things and comes with tons of arguments under its sleeve. In fact, almost everything has changed visually and mechanically. What remains true is the combination of vintage elements (which have been reinforced) and modern movement, which has been drastically changed for this new collection.
Let’s start with the habillage. The new Omega Speedmaster 57 collection remains true to the overall idea of paying tribute to the 1957 CK 2915 but changes many things compared to the past version. The case is smaller at 40.5mm now, and thinner at 12.99mm (smaller and thinner than a Moonwatch). The overall design retains elements from early Speedmaster watches, such as the symmetrical case with straight, sharp lugs with a lateral bevel, the unprotected crown and pushers, or the brushed steel bezel with tachymeter scale – the latter is laser engraved on the bezel and then laser-coloured too, a new technology for Omega.
Everything has been revised, like the width of the bezel or the tachymeter scale is a so-called DON (dot-over-ninety) as an ode to the past. This thinner, smaller case truly suits the watch and makes it a very appealing model for those who prefer a more classic, slightly more formal option than the Moonwatch and its professional attire. Water-resistance is rated at 50 metres and the case features a box sapphire crystal on top and a screwed caseback with a sapphire window.
The dial has also been revised, yet in a slightly more subtle way. The hands are now so-called broad-arrow on all the models, but not all dials are identical. It is presented in 4 colours; alongside an all-time classic black, you’ll find sunray-brushed dials in dark blue, burgundy and dark green. The black dial is sand-blasted matte, with recessed markers for the hours with a so-called “sandwich” style. On the other hand, the 3 other colours features applied markers for the hours. All elements are filled with beige Super-LumiNova, yet the black one comes with old-radium lume, while the 3 other dials, with a more modern touch, have white luminescent material. Same goes for the tracks and printings, matching the colour of the SLN. The display hasn’t changed compared to the previous version, with the comeback of the two-counter layout. The sub-counter at 9 o’clock indicates the running seconds, while the one at 3 o’clock is a co-axial counter that shows elapsed times with two hands (minutes and hours) on a 12-hour base. The elapsed seconds are central and a date window sits at 6 o’clock.
Under the sapphire caseback, and literally filling the entire space available is a new movement, the hand-wound in-house Calibre 9906. This movement will be familiar to regular readers and fans of Omega, since it shares its architecture with the recently-launched Chronoscope. The only difference here is the presence of a date complication. Based on the automatic 9900, it shows a large ¾ plate on the back with radiating stripes. The architecture is, to the exception of the automatic module removed, the same as before, with a column-wheel and vertical clutch chronograph system, a double-barrel layout used to provide stable torque with 60h power reserve, and a 4Hz frequency to give a precise indication of the elapsed seconds.
Like all modern Omega movements, this hand-wound calibre features a co-axial escapement, is Master Chronometer-certified and is anti-magnetic to impressive levels (15,000 gauss and more…) The decoration is typical Omega, clean and refined, yet due to the large bridge, the movement isn’t very demonstrative. But it really is a big movement in a small case.
All colours of the new Omega Speedmaster 57 Calibre 9906 is available either on a gradient-coloured leather strap closed by a steel pin buckle or on a newly-designed steel bracelet. Inspired by the old flat-link bracelets of the 1950s/60s, it has a thinner profile now with brushed and polished surfaces. This new design matches the small case greatly. The folding clasp features the comfort release adopted by Omega on the new Moonwatch, allowing for a 2.3mm extension during hot days.
Availability & Price
The new Omega Speedmaster 57 Calibre 9906 40.5mm Collection is launched with 8 references – each dial available either on a leather strap or on a steel bracelet – and is part of the permanent collection. The price is EUR 8,700 on leather strap and EUR 9,100 on steel bracelet.
For more details, please visit omegawatches.com.