Yesterday, we took an in-depth look at the new steel Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional Co-Axial, both sapphire and Hesalite models – with all you need to know in order to decide which model to choose. A strong evolution of one of the most timeless and iconic watches of the industry. In addition to these classic and fairly-priced steel models, Omega also re-introduced the Moonwatch in precious metals – with proprietary alloys, in Sedna or Canopus gold. The latter, with its combination of white metal case and silver-coloured dial made quite an impression on enthusiasts, so we decided to give this handsome version a closer look, in a dedicated article. Expensive, but stunning…
The Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional is typically the kind of watch that you imagine made of stainless steel. And rightfully so, since it has mostly been made in this commoner metal its entire life. Whether earliest 1957 models or the late 2020 editions were first and foremost sports instruments made for action (up to a rough Moon landing), hence why stainless steel has always been the metal of choice. However, gold or platinum have been used by Omega on multiple occasions, whether for special editions – think about the reference BA145.022 “Tribute to Astronauts” (the first gold Speedmaster) – or in regular production. Indeed, from 1999 to 2012, Omega offered an 18k yellow gold Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional as part of its permanent collection, in a non-limited edition – under the ref. 3195.50 on a gold bracelet or ref. 3695.50 on a leather strap. However, as of 2012, the Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional was only available in stainless steel, with Hesalite or sapphire variants.
This year marks the return of precious metals in the permanent Speedmaster Professional collection, with 4 references. 2 are made of Sedna gold, on bracelet or strap. The two others are presented in a rather unique alloy named “Canopus gold”, a proprietary white gold alloy that is here paired with an attractive silver dial, whether on a leather strap or a gold bracelet.
So first, what is Canopus gold? According to the brand, it is an exclusive 18K white gold alloy that Omega has been using since 2015. It is composed of gold (>75%), palladium (>20%) and small quantities of platinum and rhodium, providing the standard characteristics of other 18K golds, while also distinguishing itself for its high brilliance, whiteness and longevity. The alloy is named after the bright star Canopus, which is 71 times bigger and 10,000 times brighter than our sun. Due to its brilliance and position, Canopus became an important reference point for many space agencies. So, in other words, we’re talking about a non-rhodium-plated white gold alloy, with a colour that won’t fade.
Other than the use of a specific alloy, we find here back the specificities of the “sapphire sandwich” 2021 Speedmaster. The Canopus gold case, like the steel model, has been slightly redesigned with new proportions and is more respectful to the original ST 105.012 vintage model – the first “Professional” Speedmaster. The measurements are a 42mm diameter, a height of 13.2mm (half a millimeter less than the past generation), a 20mm lug width and a lug-to-lug measurement of 47.46mm (again, about half a millimeter less than the past generation).
All the elements of the habillage – case, caseback, crown, pushers, bezel – are executed in gold and, in the present model, so is the bracelet. As such, this watch is fairly heavier than the steel version. The wearing comfort (weight apart) has been improved, however, due to the new dimensions and reshaped case. Indeed, the lugs have a more compact feel than in the past and the casebands have a different profile too. The combination of brushed surfaces with polished accents has been retained. In addition to that, the colour of Canopus gold is really pleasant, with more shine and whiteness than steel, adding to the precious feel of the watch – without the more ostentatious look of yellow or rose gold.
An important thing to note here is that, on the contrary of the steel model, the new Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional Canopus Gold is only available with the sapphire sandwich architecture – no Hesalite crystal available, but this is standard for precious Speedies. This means a chimney-like sapphire on top and a caseback with sapphire insert, with a view on the new calibre 3861. The bezel is made of anodized aluminium – no ceramic here – and has the old-school (pre-1970) font and layout, with “dot over 90” and “dot diagonal to 70.” Again all these small but relevant details are explained with more insights in our review of the steel versions.
The real deal with this Canopus gold edition of the Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional Co-Axial Master Chronometer is its dial – a dial that has been greatly received by enthusiasts, and rightfully so. While all other models are equipped with a black dial, this edition comes with a silver dial, giving this model its own identity. Really, this silver-coloured, sunray-brushed dial is making for a very desirable edition of the Speedmaster… Should I say the most desirable of the new generation? To me and other members of the MONOCHROME team, yes! It is light, still contrasted, modern and technical…
Just like the steel models, the Speedmaster Canopus is equipped with a step dial, once again a reference to the vintage ST 105.012. However, some specificities exist for this version. The dial has two different finishes – sunray brushed in the centre, matte silvered for the chapter ring. The sub-counters are still recessed with a concentric pattern and Omega has finally fitted a chronograph track with 3 divisions per second, in line with the 3Hz frequency of the movement. It is fitted with an applied Omega logo, the new inscriptions at 12 o’clock and applied hour markers. But white the steel models have short markers, this gold edition comes with long markers that extend into the chronograph track. A small luminous insert has been added too. Finally, the hands are identical in shape, including the new teardrop seconds hand, but now metallic and polished. The contrast is decent but not as good as the black dial models.
This Canopus gold Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional can be ordered on a black leather strap and, of course, on the newly-designed bracelet that is also fitted on the steel models. This means a 20/15mm bracelet with smaller links than in the past, here presented in fully brushed with the new “banded” clasp with vintagey Omega logo. The clasp and bracelet are more comfortable than in the past, more elegant too and mostly, the new end-links change drastically the way the bracelet is articulated and how it hugs the wrist – reducing the lug-to-lug feeling once more. The bracelet is nicely executed and features screws to adjust its length. There are a two-position micro-adjustment and safety pushers.
Finally, we find here the new “standard” movement for the Speedmaster, the far more modern calibre 3861. While it still looks pretty close to the old 1861, it has been fitted with the brand’s latest technologies, meaning a co-axial escapement, a silicon hairspring for anti-magnetic capacities (up to 15,000-gauss) and a Master Chronometer certification. Fully rhodium-plated, the movement is nicely decorated with Geneva stripes and bevels on the bridges. Its precision will be within the 0/+5 seconds/day range defined by Omega, it beats at 3Hz (or 21,600 vibrations/hour) and the power reserve is now 50 hours. Finally, it incorporates a hacking second mechanism, something that the Speedmaster never had in the past.
All in all, I must admit that this edition is a real looker! The combination of this brushed, very white case with the silver dial and the contrasting black bezel is hard to beat. While the look of the steel case/black dial will remain forever seen as the classic, this version brings something fresh, lively and technical. Sadly, there’s one big issue, as beauty comes at a price… For the rest, all the great updates that we’ve listed in our review of the steel models are still present, making the Speedmaster more desirable than ever.
Availability & Price
The Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional Co-Axial Master Chronometer Canopus gold on bracelet (reference 310.60.42.50.02.001) will be part of the permanent collection, however, it will only be available at Omega boutiques. This version is priced at EUR 44,700, while the Canopus gold version on leather retails for EUR 30,000.
For more details, visit www.omegawatches.com.