The 2021 Speedmaster
Omega announces the 21st century version of the hallowed Speedmaster, with redesigns inspired by the ST105.012 and powered by the Master Chronometer Certified Calibre 3861.
Having celebrated 50 years since the Speedmaster accompanied humankind on our first journey to the Moon, Omega has now decided that for the reimagined Speedmaster for 2021, it will seek inspiration from one of three references that were “Flight Qualified for all Manned Space Missions,” on June 1, 1965 by the powers that be at NASA.
The story goes that, James H. Ragan, retired NASA Project Engineer and Program Manager and Petros Protopapas, OMEGA International Brand Heritage Manager chronicles in the tome Moonwatch Only that in the lead-up to the Gemini missions, the Agency saw the need to “test, select and certify” a complete array of standard equipment for the astronauts’ use. One such equipment on the list was originally a request that was made by the astronauts themselves, “a watch for use during training and flight.”
Flight Crew Operations Director Deke Slayton took on the task of finding this watch by issuing an internal memo that listed the need for a, “highly durable and accurate chronograph to be used by Gemini and Apollo flight crews.” The memo then passed on to the hands of James Ragan. It was his task to send out the request for quotation to a list of watchmakers, stated earlier by Deke Slayton.
Three brands responded in time for NASA to take the proposed timepieces onboard for testing. These watches were: a Longines-Wittnauer 235T, a Rolex chronograph reference 6238 and, lastly, an Omega Speedmaster reference 105.003. Curious thing to point out here is that the Speedmaster used Omega’s own version of the Lemania 2310 movement, whereas the Rolex and Longines timepieces used their own versions of the Valjoux 72.
The rest, as we now know is history, with the Speedmaster having survived the battery of tests that NASA had subjected the watch to before marking it, “Flight Qualified for all Manned Space Missions” on June 1, 1965.
The references of the Speedmaster that eventually went to the Moon, specifically were the 105.012 and the 145.012. Both these references were cleared for use by NASA because they used the same calibre 321 that was within the 105.003.
The 2021 redesigned Speedmaster takes directly from the ST105.012. In accordance the new Speedmaster features the asymmetrical, twisted lugs case of the time with the short and wide pushers. The dial has been given the stepped configuration and has been paired with a bowed minute and seconds chronograph hands that follow the contour stepped dial closely.
A further detail on the dial is the new 3-hash divisions on the seconds scale on the perimeter of the dial, which is in line with the 3Hz frequency of the Calibre 3861 as opposed to the 5-hash divisions on the 105.012, as the 105.012 was powered by the Calibre 321 had a 2.5Hz frequency. Lastly, the bezel on the timepiece is an anodized aluminum insert that has been given the famous dot over 90 (DON) detail.
Case and movement aside, there’s yet more to be said about the bracelet of the new watch. The new braclet is a fully-brushed bracelet with a five–arched-links-per-row design that was first seen on the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Moonshine™ Gold Limited Edition. The clasp, however, is what takes the cake, featuring the same ribbing and OMEGA logo from the BA 145.022.
The 2021 Speedmaster is firstly offered in stainless steel with options for either hesalite glass or sapphire crystal, on a steel bracelet or a nylon fabric strap leather for hesalite glass version and a leather strap for the sapphire crystal version. Additional point to note here is that the sapphire crystal version features a display caseback, while the hesalite glass variation has a close caseback. Another distinguishing feature is that all sapphire crystal versions of the 2021 Speedmaster, feature an applied Omega logo.
Speedmaster Moonwatch Master Chronometer Professional Chronograph – Hesalite – 42 mm – Calibre 3861
Speedmaster Moonwatch Master Chronometer Professional Chronograph – Sapphire – 42 mm – Calibre 3861
Next, the Speedmaster will also be offered in precious metal versions. Starting with Sedna™ gold, Omega’s own take on rose gold, which is an alloy made using gold, copper and palladium. As this is an 18K gold, at least 75% of the formulation of Sedna™ gold accounted for by gold.
The last instance is in Canopus Gold™, Omega’s take on white gold, which because it isn’t rhodium plated, unlike other instances of white gold is said to be able to retain its bright, white color for a much longer.
Both the Sedna™ gold and in Canopus Gold™ versions will be offered in matched full gold bracelets or on leather straps.
Speedmaster Moonwatch Master Chronometer Professional Chronograph – SednaTM gold – 42 mm – Calibre 3861
Speedmaster Moonwatch Master Chronometer Professional Chronograph – Canopus goldTM – 42 mm – Calibre 3861
First introduced in the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Moonshine™ Gold Limited Edition, with the movement in Moonshine gold-treated bridges and plates, the 2021 Speedmaster now gets this updated Master Chronometer Certified movement across the board. This guarantees Omega’s elevated standard of precision, chronometric performance and anti-magnetism in the industry.
All Moonwatch movements, will henceforth, be subject to the eight stringent tests, overseen by the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology (METAS), before they are marked Master Chronometer Certified.
Part of the reason Calibre 3861 is able to withstand Omega’s own battery of tests is the use of non-ferrous materials within, such as the Si14 balance spring, which keeps the watch’s regulating organ out of reach of the perils of magnetism for up to extremes 15,000 gauss (the same level as a typical MRI scanner).
Ref. 310.32.42.50.01.001: Steel on coated nylon fabric strap with hesalite crystal; RRP CHF 5’500
Ref. 310.30.42.50.01.002: Steel on steel with sapphire crystal; RRP CHF 6’600
Ref. 310.32.42.50.01.002: Steel on leather strap with sapphire crystal; RRP CHF 6’300
Ref. 310.60.42.50.01.001: Sedna™ gold on Sedna™ gold; RRP CHF 32’200
Ref. 310.63.42.50.01.001: Sedna™ gold on leather strap; RRP CHF 22’800
Ref. 310.60.42.50.02.001: Canopus Gold™ on Canopus Gold™; RRP CHF 41’900
Ref. 310.63.42.50.02.001: Canopus Gold™ on leather strap; RRP CHF 28’100
Calibre Omega 3861; manual-winding chronograph movement with Co-Axial escapement. Certified Master Chronometer, approved by METAS, resistant to magnetic fields reaching 15,000 gauss; free-sprung balance with silicon balance spring; rhodium-plated finish, bridges with straight Geneva waves; 3Hz; 50-hour power reserve
42mm with 20mm lug spacing; water resistant to 50 metres