Today is Tuesday so if you were expecting a new watch…it had to be a Speedmaster. And guess what, you’re about to be served. After the reintroduction of the historical chronograph Calibre 321, the same one that was in the original 1957 Speedmaster and that was tested by NASA, and the platinum watch with this movement inside, Omega surprises us with another great novelty, again with this same movement, but in a much more desirable package. Meet the new Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch 321 Stainless Steel, or the “Ed White” re-edition.
The new Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch 321 Steel is based on the classic “straight lugs” case offered by Omega with the FOIS edition, as well as the recent CK2998 Blue or CK2998 Pulsometer. But, on the contrary to these two previous watches, there are some major differences in mechanics (obviously, as they were all powered by the classic 1861) but also in terms of design. As such, this Moonwatch 321 Steel can be seen as a faithful re-edition of the historical 105.003ST, the third generation Speedmaster introduced in 1963, also nicknamed the “Ed White”. Indeed, astronaut Ed White used his personal Speedmaster during an EVA – June 3rd 1965, during the Gemini IV mission. This was prior to official testing conducted by NASA, and before the Speedmaster became “flight qualified”.
The new Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch 321 Steel “Ed White” has a straight, symmetrical case, without the twisted “lyre” lugs and no crown protection on the side. It measures 39.7mm in diameter, faithful to the historical models both in shape and proportions. The case is finished with polished lugs and brushed flanks. Modernity is visible on the front of the watch, with a domed sapphire crystal (no Hesalite crystal here) and a polished black ceramic bezel insert, still with the tachymeter scale and the vintage “dot over 90”.
This new watch is worn on a 19mm steel bracelet with flat links, reminiscent of the vintage bracelets found on the 105.003ST, under the reference 1039. It combines polished and brushed surfaces and features a modern folding clasp.
The other novelty, compared to previous watches featuring the symmetrical case is on the dial. Again it is faithful to the 105.003ST “Ed White” models, with a matte grained surface, a stepped profile, an applied Omega logo and the vintage font for the “Speedmaster” name. The hands are classic white batons, with the diamond-shaped seconds hand. The indexes are painted with light cream Super-LumiNova. The display and the look remain traditional for a Speedmaster watch.
The pièce de résistance is proudly exposed under a sapphire caseback, the Omega Calibre 321 re-edition. This new Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch 321 Steel “Ed White” is the first model in a non-precious metal to have this movement. It is a faithful re-edition of the historic column-wheel calibre 321, reproduced almost identically – minor technical improvements in materials and a slightly longer power reserve (55h vs. 44h). The movement is plated in Sedna gold. Note that these Calibre 321s are produced in a dedicated department in Biel, assembled and adjusted by hand by a single watchmaker. As such, don’t expect the same level of production as the classic Calibre 1861.
The Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch 321 Steel “Ed White” ref. 318.104.22.168.01.001 won’t be a limited edition. However, don’t expect Omega to produce it in large quantities given the amount of hand-work necessary for the movements. It is more of a hardcore collector’s watch, with an exclusive production. Also, even though it is far more accessible than the platinum Speedmaster 321, it will cost CHF 13,000 – compared to the classic Moonwatch and its sub-5K price tag. On the other hand, the movement itself justifies acquiring this superb edition of the Speedmaster. Available early 2020.
More details at omegawatches.com.