Take A Look At: The Omega Speedmaster ‘Moonwatch’

It is the 50th anniversary of the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch, better known as the ‘first watch to land on the moon’. Besides being the first one on the moon, what else did Omega do to stand out from the crowd?

Watch I.D.

Model: Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional Chronograph
References: 311.33.42.30.01.002
Diameter: 42 mm
Calibre: Omega 1863
Power Reserve: 48 hours
Winding: automatic
Price: ~$5, 470 USD

A Gentleman’s Take

In the Autumn of 1962, a group of astronauts wandered into a watch shop looking for a suitable timepiece to bring along with them to their next space expedition. After picking and choosing for quite some time, they have decided to go with the Omega Speedmaster, thus begin Omega’s history with space voyages.

However, that Speedmaster they picked was not enough.

At the end of 1963, just after the Mercury program ended, astronauts began approaching NASA, requesting for watches that can endure the tough environment in space, allowing them to keep track of time for their missions. NASA had hired a team of highly-skilled engineers to evaluate watches provided from big brands like Rolex, Longines and of course, Omega. The test was harsh and brutal and ultimately, on March 1, 1965, NASA announced the winner.

Omega triumphed.

The engineers certifying the Speedmaster reference ST105.003 “Flight qualified for all manned space mission”. Beautiful.

The Return of the 321

321 is not an area code but it is the very thing that ‘allowed’ the Speedmaster onto the moon, the Calibre 321 was the movement used in the original Omega Speedmaster that was sourced by NASA. This remarkable movement remains one of the most important creation in modern watchmaking.

Omega
The Calibre 321 Movement found in the Omega ‘Moonwatch’ Speedmaster

However, being onto the moon was not the main selling point of this movement. What perked horophiles ears was the word ‘column-wheel’.

The column wheel mechanics found in the calibre 321 is the epitome of fine craftsmanship and is the marker of an exquisite chronograph. Brands like the Big Three (Audemars Piguet, Vacheron Constantin, and Patek Philippe) all crafted their timepiece with the column-wheel calibres. Even the more prestigious A Lange. and Sohne utilizes this mechanics to help bring the best to the market.

Every watch enthusiast and Omega fans ought to know that it’s been decades since the calibre 321 went of out production. Now that Omega brought the ‘superstar’ back, it surely caused a mad hysteria among the watch community.

Indeed we are passionate about it, Omega Speedmaster is not only an extraordinary timepiece but also an irreplaceable memorabilia.


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