Seeing a lot of the vintage quirks effectively and more or less authentically reproduced in a new watch is interesting. The text on the thin-lipped steel bezel is a bit on the small side. The dial is clean and effective, but with parts that support what a 1950s sports watch might look like. The polished hour and minute hands are the only shiny elements on the dial, which actually end up looking nice. Proportions are very good with the sub-dials taking up enough space, but not overlapping anything else. Omega maintained the slight dome of the dial as well, which results in a nice visual aesthetic. Over the dial is an acrylic (Hesalite) crystal.
In a lot of ways, the Omega Speedmaster ’57 Chronograph 38.6mm Trilogy watch is another flavor of the Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch. Even though this clearly isn’t the Moonwatch, both watches have a lot of personality similarities and share the Omega caliber 1861 manually-wound chronograph movement that has 48 hours of power reserve and operates at 3Hz.
Getting an original 1957 Omega Speedmaster watch isn’t easy or inexpensive. For many people this reference 3188.8.131.52.01.001 1957 Trilogy Speedmaster ’57 Chronograph is their only opportunity to experience what the original was like. If you are the type of watch enthusiast who sees value in that experience, then this limited edition vintage re-issue might seem like the best of both worlds (convenience of a modern watch with the aesthetic of an old one). Others might find the notion of making a new watch that looks like an old watch to be pedantic.
There’s no doubt that the Omega Speedmaster ’57 Chronograph 38.6mm is a product exclusively for collectors given that mainstream luxury watch buyers won’t really understand it, nor will many of them see the purpose in getting this over something new and more modern with an Omega Master Chronometer movement. Newer watches might not have the visceral charm or story of something like this, which is why it doesn’t surprise me that Omega dealers around the world sold out of the reference 3184.108.40.206.01.001 in a relatively short period of time. I for one think that Omega was wise to produce a product like this, but I also worry that they (among others) are riding the “vintage train” so hard it might run off its rails and leave them without too much direction. I’ll end this review with the famously vague adage of “everything in moderation” – referring to how much “vintage” should be in any of today’s major watch brand diets. Some vintage-inspired design and marketing influence is good, but too much and eventually collectors will forget why watches such as this are produced in the first place. In a vacuum, the Omega Speedmaster ’57 Chronograph 38.6mm 3220.127.116.11.01.001 is a fun and rewarding watch. Let’s just make sure Omega continues to keep models like this feeling somewhat special. Retail price is $7,250 USD. omegawatches.com
>Model: Speedmaster ’57 Chronograph 38.6mm “The 1957 Trilogy” limited edition of 3,557 pieces.
>Price: $7,250 USD
>Size: 38.6mm wide, about 14mm thick
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Yes, when in the mood for a sporty vintage look without wanting to deal with a vintage watch.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Someone smitten by the story and design of the original 1957 Omega Speedmaster but who can’t find or afford one… and wants what is arguably the next best thing.
>Best characteristic of watch: Omega’s “as accurate as possible” recreation of the original 1957 Speedmaster is well done combining a historic look with sensibilities of a more modern watch.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Is neither a fully modern (movement and crystal) nor fully vintage watch, so it exists in a gray area that some collectors might not be able to appreciate. Price is also arguably high, but apparently not high enough since the limited-edition set sold out quickly.