There was no big reveal at Baselworld or press event at the Kennedy Space Center. Omega softly announce the new Speedmaster Moonwatch in stainless steel with the legendary caliber 321 movement (ref. 3220.127.116.11.01.001). This is really big news for watch enthusiasts and space geeks. I happen to be in both camps. The vintage Omega Speedmasters 321 calibers have been steadily climbing in price. Omega did a limited edition 321 in platinum at an outrageous price point in 2019 (not even the limited edition for the 50th anniversary of the moon landing had the Omega 321 Caliber). However, we still had no modern steel Speedmaster Moonwatch with the 321 moment.
The Speedmaster Professional is one of the most common luxury tool watches in the horological enthusiast space. Of course there are nuances in the details between reference numbers. Still, the modern version has been in production for so long that there is no shortage of them (new or used). How does Omega get the regular Speedmaster Professional owner to buy-in again?
Omega has delivered on what the Speedmaster community has been demanding for a while now. The big difference between the previous Omega 1863 Caliber and the new Omega 321 Caliber is that the 321 has a column wheel actuator for the chronograph. This is in contrast to the 1863 Caliber’s cam-actuated chronograph function.
You can spot the difference easily because the top of the column wheel looks like the turret on a castle tower. Of course they will show it with a transparent case back. Can you spot it?
Purists say that there is less “jump” when engaging a column wheel chronograph complication. I say that it gives you a closer connection to the astronauts that originally used them. Classic Speedmaster features are combined with modern elements on the Speedmaster Moonwatch 321. The punch list reads like a roster for the all-star game. Here’s what you need to know.
New Steel Speedmaster 321 Specs
• Flat lugs
• Caliber 321 manual-wind movement
• Exposed pumpers
• Flat link 19 mm bracelet
• Exhibition caseback
• Ceramic DON* bezel *”dot over ninety”
• Fauxtina Hands
• Stepped dial
Despite being a regular production piece, I don’t see Omega opening the floodgates to make a ton of these. I am also predicting that the Speedmaster Caliber 321 reference 318.104.22.168.01.001 is going to be the first Omega regular production watch with a waiting list.
A hefty MSRP of over $14,100 USD (after the Swiss franc conversion) puts the Caliber 321 Moonwatch is in Daytona MSRP territory. However, the Daytona pairs with a tennis sweater and the Moonwatch pairs with an EVA suit. You tell me who the real badass is…
Image Credit: Omega
Greg is a long-time watch lover based in upstate New York. Greg is a supply chain professional by day and private watch consultant by night. Greg brings his own style to the TBWS website as a contributor by blending bits of humor into technical assessments. You can follow his cycling and snowboarding adventures on Instagram as he pursues the perfect 3-watch collection.