These new Omega watches are futuristic throwbacks with a twist review
Among the largest developments that year’s Baselworld watch fair in Switzerland was the lack of the Swatch Group, and also the subsequent fallout from this conclusion of one of the world’s biggest watch makers to quit what’s arguably the biggest horological series on the calendar.
Now Baselworld 2019 has been gone, Omega, part of the Swatch Group, has revealed its new pieces beyond the 25,600 Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary watch unveiled back in March. Highlights of this new collection comprise three superlative chronographs demonstrating fresh technologies and material science.
What’s more, in the end of last month, Omega declared the united kingdom rollout of its e-commerce platform, meaning that customers can now purchase direct from the brand online as well as through official bricks and mortar shops and third-party retailers. The upshot of this is, of course, these desirable watches now are a lot easier to get.
Speedmaster Apollo 11
The watch that went into the moon gets its second high profile limited edition from the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, when the Speedmaster’s legend has been made.
In a much-reduced manner, it is also an integral characteristic of this #7,370 steel-cased version, which while more reachable, and published in a version numbering 6,969 pieces, nevertheless makes for a flamboyant celebration of the brand’s biggest moment.
The 9 o’clock subdial features the gold-engraved picture of Speedmaster-kitted astronaut Buzz Aldrin as he steps down to the lunar surface. The watch’s bezel, housing a black porcelain ring engraved with a gold tachymeter, can also be made from the new metal — a (mostly) steel Speedy this possibly, an all-action tool see it is not.
However, the crucial development here and this really is a milestone for the Speedmaster — is in the movement, which according to this new has been under development for four decades. Because of the’Moonwatch’ Speedmaster Professional models, Omega has ostensibly stuck into the exact same hand-wound motion, Calibre 1861, ever since the late 1960s, with little updates or aesthetic variations.
While pleasing from a historical perspective, that has left it something of an anachronism throughout the brand’s project over recent years to upgrade its whole watchmaking to its Master Chronometer standard — meaning accuracy to within five minutes a day, resistance to magnetic fields of up to 15,000 gauss through using new materials, all controlled by Omega’s special Co-Axial escapement.
With the Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11, the anachronism is brought to an end. Calibre 3861 asserts the crucial architecture and look of this classic Speedy engine, but now contains all of the Master Chronometer elements, for instance, Co-Axial escapement.
It marks the symbolic completion of an enormous project to transform Omega’s watchmaking to the most innovative volume watch production to be found — rivalled only, of course, from the brand together with the crown. The new movement isn’t on show, however: rather, the back of this watch is adorned using a laser-engraved picture of Neil Armstrong’s footprint on the lunar surface, encircled in gold by the 20th century’s most famous quotation.
Incidentally, while Calibre 861 made its debut in 1968, the watches that landed on the moon in ’69 nevertheless included its predecessor, Calibre 321. Omega watches also announced the revival of that calibre earlier this year, though a watch to contain it hasn’t yet emerged. Speedmaster lovers, stay tuned.