The Omega Speedmaster In 2021: What’s Actually Changed?
Omega started the year strong with the launch of the new Speedmaster. Relatively similar at first glance, the old and the new Speedies are decidedly different. But what has actually changed on this crowd favorite?
It has always been my opinion that every watch lover should have at least one Speedmaster in their collection. The iconic Moonwatch is an easy go-to watch, whether working from home or going to a fancier affair.
Not to mention, owning a Speedmaster is like owning a piece of history. After all, it was the watch that went to the Moon and back on all six lunar missions. It is a great conversation starter.
But for me, it's the closest to being an astronaut that I will ever come.
The New Moon Mantle
After announcing the update of the Calibre 1861 in 2019 with the Co-Axial Master Chronometer Calibre 3861, we were all anxiously waiting to see how Omega was planning to modernize the iconic Speedmaster.
The new 3861 movement powered recent pieces like the Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Limited Edition in Moonshine gold and the Omega Speedmaster Silver Snoopy Award 50th Anniversary. But we weren’t given any idea of when it would power the regular Speedmaster for its non-limited versions.
Thanks to its Master Chronometer Certified anti-magnetic movement, the new Speedmaster is unaffected by magnetic conditions up to 15,000 Gauss and more resistant to shocks and bumps. It allows the timepiece to perform with the highest precision and performance expected of the Master Chronometer certification. Additionally, the new 3861 movement comes with a slightly increased power reserve of 50 hours, two hours more than its predecessor, the Calibre 1861.
For the lovers of beautiful mechanics, the Speedmaster Master Chronometer with a sapphire crystal also comes with a sapphire caseback, allowing the wearer to admire the complexity of the Co-Axial Master Chronometer Calibre 3861. The Hesalite version still comes with the famous double bevel solid caseback with the famous Seahorse.
At first glance, it appears as if the case hasn't been changed, but as soon as you take the watch in your hand, even before putting it on your wrist, you will realize the case is now thinner. From 14.30mm for the Calibre 1861 version to 13.58 for the newest Calibre 3861 with the Hesalite glass, it's a comfortable update while still keeping the famous 42mm case diameter. For the sapphire version, the case size has dropped slightly compared to the 1861 version, but just by a hair (0.5mm to be exact).
Taking inspiration from the fourth generation Moonwatch from 1969, worn by the Apollo 11 Mission astronauts, we can spot on the aluminum bezel the famous dot over 90 and the diagonal dot on 70 on the tachymeter bezel. The expert eye will also notice the lighter font on the bezel that increases readability and gives a slightly more minimalistic feel.
The dial has been subtlety updated, now coming with a stepped dial, which is also a vintage nod to the watch worn by the astronauts on the moon. On the Hesalite version, the Omega logo is painted instead of applied.
The bracelet has also been updated to a five-links-per-row design, all fully brushed, which is a nice nod to the previous Moonwatches. Additionally, the foldable clasp is updated to be closer to past Omegas with a satin-finished cover and a two-position adjustment.
Speedmaster fans can now choose between a Hesalite or sapphire glass crystal. While the sapphire might appear more appealing to most watch enthusiasts, I believe the Hesalite is closer to the Moonwatch we’ve come to know and love. But the renewed call for a new sapphire Speedmaster has finally been answered!
The new Moonwatch Professional Co-Axial Master Chronometer Chronograph comes in eight different versions. The steel Hesalite glass version comes on either a nylon strap ($5,950) or a brushed five-link bracelet ($6,300). As for the sapphire crystal version, collectors will pay $6,800 for the leather strap or $7,150 for the steel bracelet with the brushed and polished center links.
On the gold front, the Sedna gold case on a Sedna gold bracelet is $34,800 compared to $24,600 for the Sedna gold case on a leather strap version and comes with a sapphire crystal and caseback. The Canopus gold version with the matching white dial is $45,300 on the Canopus Gold bracelet or $30,400 should you choose the leather strap version. Every piece comes with a 5-year extended Omega warranty.
It is yet to be determined whether this latest version of the Speedmaster is NASA approved, but we cannot wait for the next human-crewed missions to space for some well-deserved wrist spotting!
(Photography by Pierre Vogel)