January 5, 2022
2022 is shaping up to be a landmark year for Omega’s sports watches. This year marks the 65th anniversary for the Speedmaster series (along with the Seamaster 300 and the Railmaster), and the Swiss marque has seized the opportunity to kick off a year of festivities with a new rendition of the 1957 original. Combining a highly faithful recreation of the very first Speedmaster with subtle material improvements and razor-sharp execution, the new Omega Speedmaster Calibre 321 in 18K Canopus Gold is an ultra-premium love letter to the chronograph birthed the series.
Although it may share more than a passing resemblance to earlier revivals of the original Speedmaster, the 18K Canopus Gold case of this new Omega Speedmaster Calibre 321 is all-new. Measuring in at a suitably vintage 38.6mm in diameter, this case uses Omega’s proprietary alloy of white gold, platinum, rhodium, and palladium for a bright and lustrous look in initial images. The overall form closely follows the pattern of the 1957 original, predating the signature Speedmaster “Moonwatch” look with elements like tapering straight lugs, simple vertical case sides, non-recessed piston pushers, and an insert-free engraved gold bezel. Although the radial brushing and black tachymeter scale give this a similar feel to other iterations of the 1957 Speedmaster design, Omega takes this familiar element above and beyond its predecessors with its execution. To begin with, although the engraved tachymeter scale features signature touches from the 1957 original, including the French “tachymètre” spelling, this scale also includes subtle nods to other early Speedmaster models including the sought after “dot over 90” mark. The black fill for this scale is another major step beyond the usual Speedmaster execution, with inky black Grand Feu enamel that should lead to a more nuanced sheen on the wrist than most similar designs. Omega also leaves subtle tributes to the Speedmaster’s history throughout the rest of the case. For example, in addition to the classic Omega emblem, the 3 o’clock crown is engraved with the brand’s NAIAD symbol for water resistance in homage to several ‘50s Speedmaster references. This new Calibre 321 does in fact have a marginally higher water resistance than the standard model with a rating of 60 meters, but this remains an Achilles heel for the series as a whole. Omega also adds a nod to Speedmaster history with the sapphire display caseback, which is overlaid with a line art rendition of the Omega hippocampus emblem featuring a single blue sapphire eye. Beyond creating a hidden visual highlight for the wearer to enjoy, this is another tribute to the legacy of the Speedmaster line, as 65 years is traditionally celebrated as the blue sapphire anniversary.
Like the case, the dial of the new Omega Speedmaster Calibre 321 in 18K Canopus Gold is nearly identical to the 1957 original, but elevates the familiar design with a more luxurious execution. The most obvious change comes courtesy of the subdials, which abandon the sloping recessed shape of the original model in favor of a steeper and more dramatic cutout design. The signature Speedmaster indices are also clearly tweaked, moving beyond the traditional printed lume plots to include applied rectangles in Canopus Gold. Other than these fine alterations, the layout is more or less identical to the classic Speedmaster at a glance. The broad arrow handset, stepped dial, applied 12 o’clock Omega logo, and even the wide font used for the brand emblem are all shared with the original model, but closer inspection reveals the new model’s more ornate construction. The classic matte black dial finish is gone here, replaced by a deeper, almost mirror-like glossy surface in images. To achieve this dramatic piano black look, Omega crafts the dial from CNC-machined polished onyx.
Naturally, Omega powers this new 18K Canopus Gold Speedmaster with its in-house handwound Calibre 321 movement. Rather than an evolution or a reimagining of the classic Omega Calibre 321 used from the ‘50s to the ‘70s, this new Calibre 321 is a true reproduction of the original powerplant, and has become a fixture in high-end Speedmaster releases over the past several years. Even the finishing is pure vintage Omega, with the ornately snaking plates and bridges finished in brushed pink gold with bright gold highlights for the balance wheel and gear train. With that said, the Calibre 321’s performance is similarly vintage-inspired with a slow 18,000 bph beat rate. However, this steady frequency allows the movement a surprisingly robust 55 hours of power reserve. Omega pairs the watch with a reproduction of the classic Speedmaster “flat link” bracelet in 18K Canopus Gold. Featuring a sharp mix of even brushing and polishing, this bracelet design gives the Speedmaster a versatile sporting edge in initial images.
Although it appears nearly identical to its 1957 forebear at a glance, the new Omega Speedmaster Calibre 321 in 18K Canopus Gold elevates nearly every part of the design with luxurious new materials and finishing. The end result pays a handsome tribute to 65 years of chronograph history, while potentially showcasing the future of top-end Speedmaster releases for years to come. The new Omega Speedmaster Calibre 321 in 18K Canopus Gold is available for purchase now exclusively through Omega boutiques. Although not strictly a limited edition release, production numbers will likely be far smaller than the standard series thanks to its MSRP of $81,000. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.