Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch 321 Stainless Steel
The Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch 321 Stainless steel upholds many of the design codes found on its 1957 namesake along with a few modern-day refinements, including a black ceramic bezel ring. However, the second-generation Calibre 321 captures the allure of its iconic forebear.
In 1957, Omega released the Speedmaster. It has since become the most famous member of Omega’s vast portfolio of models. The model received a notable impetus to its now legendary status when, in 1969, it was the first watch to land on the Moon.
The Omega Speedmaster was not strapped to the wrists of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin by chance. NASA purchased a selection of chronographs and then subjected them to a rigorous regime of testing, endeavouring to simulate the likely conditions found in space. Only the Omega Speedmaster completed these tests satisfactorily.
It may seem strange today when considering brand’s fondness for celebrity ambassadors and strategic partnerships, that NASA purchased the original Speedmasters. Moreover, the Swiss brand knew little about NASA’s plans for its spacegoing chronographs. The brand’s management only learnt of NASA’s plans when they saw images of astronaut Edward White wearing its watch while performing America’s first spacewalk in 1965. Omega’s watches have repeatedly ventured into space since the inaugural moon landing.
The Calibre 321 was used in the first Speedmaster watches and was tried and trusted by NASA. Omega ceased producing watches fitted with the Calibre 321 in 1969. However, it made an exception for NASA models which would continue to use the Calibre 321. Indeed, the Calibre 321 featured in every Speedmaster used for every lunar landing. This hand-wound movement has always been spoken about in reverential tones.
In 2019, the Swiss watchmaking firm produced a platinum version of the Omega Speedmaster fitted with a new, second-generation Calibre 321. Now, the brand is offering this movement in a more affordable stainless steel case. The Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch 321 Stainless steel upholds many of the design codes found on the original Speedmaster of 1957 along with a few modern-day refinements, including a black ceramic bezel ring. However, the second-generation Calibre 321 looks virtually identical to its historical namesake with its column-wheel and an array of grained levers on show.
51 years ago this July, the astronauts of Apollo 11 were taking the first ever human footsteps onto the moon. Inside the crew’s OMEGA Speedmaster watches, was the now-famous Calibre 321, a movement that not only became legendary that day, but also returned for every lunar landing in history.
This year, OMEGA has expertly recreated the Calibre 321 in its 2nd generation form, and included it in a very special timepiece known as the Speedmaster Moonwatch 321 Stainless Steel. While this exciting news was released earlier in 2020, OMEGA is proud to announce that the watch is now ready to wear on Earth.
The non-limited timepiece offers a genuine connection to space history, as well as a movement that has long been cherished and sought-after by watch collectors and aficionados around the world.
The 39.70 mm case has been crafted in stainless steel, and is influenced by another piece of Speedmaster space heritage – the 3rd generation style that was worn during America’s first space walk in 1965. The design also includes a bezel ring in polished black ceramic [ZrO2] with a tachymeter scale in white enamel, as well as the iconic “Dot over Ninety”. Gracing the black step dial are the familiar Moonwatch hands, along with a vintage OMEGA logo.
Of course, through the sapphire crystal caseback, owners will be able to admire the Calibre 321 itself. It took two years of extensive research and reconstruction to bring this movement back to life, including the use of tomography (a digital scanning method) to see inside the true OMEGA Speedmaster worn by astronaut Eugene “Gene” Cernan during the Apollo 17 mission in 1972.
Each of today’s new movements has been recreated to the authentic specifications of the original, and assembled within OMEGA’s dedicated Calibre 321 workshop. There’s perhaps no better way for watch fans to celebrate humankind’s most famous achievements beyond Earth.