When a great watch is introduced in gold or platinum, the first question the watch enthusiast community collectively asks is: Will they make one in steel? Omega delivers a resounding yes with this steel version of the Speedmaster 321 Moonwatch, introduced to much applause last July in platinum. The watch, in all three versions, reintroduces the vintage Omega caliber 321, a column-wheel-controlled, lateral-clutch chronograph known for its beautifully intricate design. It was the first movement ever used in the Speedmaster when it was introduced in 1957. Specifically, it was used in the Speedmaster ST 105.003, the model tested and qualified by NASA and worn by astronaut Ed White during the first American spacewalk in 1965. The caliber 321 also powered the Speedmaster ST 105.012, the first watch worn on the Moon. The movement is being made according to the same specifications as the original caliber, except that some components are now made of Sedna gold, Omega’s proprietary pink gold alloy. The Speedmaster 321 Moon Watch, including both platinum and steel versions, is the first new Speedmaster Moonwatch to house the movement, and will be an important caliber for Omega moving forward.
The design is also faithful to the original Speedmaster ST 105.003, with a bezel ring in polished black ceramic and a tachymeter scale in white enamel, as well as the straight lugs and the “dot-over-90” bezel, a detail on the tachymeter scale that is a hallmark of pre-1970 Speedmasters. On subsequent models, the dot was positioned next to the 90 rather than above it on the scale. It also has the familiar Moonwatch hands, small seconds sub-dial, 30-minute and 12-hour totalisers, and a central chronograph hand. Modern elements include zirconium oxide on the bezel, as well as sapphire for front and back crystals. The original had a closed caseback.
The Speedmaster 321 carries an authenticity that often isn’t part of the package when it comes to many other recent neo-vintage models (and there are a lot of them), some of which rely on elements like fauxtina age spots or beige lume for their vintage cred. This one is remarkable not just for its back story as the first watch on the moon, but also for its use of an original caliber, made well enough in the 1950s to be considered worthy of today’s higher standards – including standards set by Omega. The best thing is that the watch is not limited, despite the hand assembled movement, and it is priced at an accessible £11,000, compared to around £46,000 for the platinum version, or the other new Moonwatch introduced last year, the 50th Anniversary Apollo 11 in gold (with the modern caliber 3861), priced at £26,800.