Early last year, we saw the re-introduction of the legendary Omega 321 chronograph caliber, the movement that originally powered the Speedmaster when it first launched in 1957. The announcement was met with great enthusiasm across collector circles, and I can tell you that I, as a huge fan of the Speedmaster, was incredibly excited to see what Omega would do with the movement. 2019 was also the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, so that, coupled with the movement, had me thinking we would see something really special later that year.
Then later in 2019, right on the moment of the moon landing, Omega dropped the Speedmaster Moonwatch 321 Platinum. It wasn’t a bad watch, just not what I or my cohorts really wanted to see. In fact, in episode 111 of The Worn & Wound Podcast where we discussed some of 2019’s biggest stories, we all lamented the release — again, not because it was bad, but because we wanted to see something a little less lux, and something a little more classic and true to the history and heritage of the Speedmaster. We wanted Omega to ditch the platinum, go with steel, and bring back some of the great vintage cues that collectors get starry-eyed over. Well, we’re in a new year now, and Omega just dropped a palate cleanser on us all, and damn, it is good — introducing the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch 321 Stainless Steel.

Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch 321 Stainless Steel

  • Case Material: Stainless steel
  • Dial: Sector Dive: Black
  • Dimensions: 39.7mm
  • Crystal:*Domed sapphire
  • Water Resistance:*50 meters
  • Crown: Push pull
  • Movement: Omega 321 Caliber
  • Strap/bracelet: Stainless steel bracelet
  • Price: CHF 13,000 (USD pricing tbd)

This watch is a recreation of the “Ed White” Ref. 105.003 famously worn by, you guessed it, American astronaut Ed White. The watch takes a lot of cues from that vintage reference. It has the smaller straight-lug case, a dot-over-90 bezel, and a stepped dial, the latter being a detail that I personally adore because it gives those older Speedies some welcome dimensionality that I just find to be lacking in modern versions.
There are some concessions to modernity, however, but they’re subtle. The bezel is ceramic, and it’s a sapphire sandwich, which means that in place of hesalite and a solid caseback, there are sapphire crystals on both ends of the watch. Purists may scoff, but the general buying public prefers sapphire, and this is a movement that you’re going to want to show off.

Speaking of the movement, it’s worth noting how these get made. It was a two-year project for Omega to recreate the 321, and the firm’s engineers even scanned a vintage movement to make sure they got all the details right. As far as assembly, these go through a single watchmaker, who puts everything together and tests and regulates the movement. This is somewhat of a haute approach for a brand like Omega, which makes fine, mass-produced watches.
The 321 Stainless Steel comes fitted with a steel bracelet which looks like a modern take on the 1039 bracelet. It looks great, and it’s nice to see this come with a bracelet for those who prefer their Speedmasters on metal.
On to pricing and availability. This watch is CHF 13,000, and it is not a limited edition. Pricing is honestly in line with what I expected it to be when I imagined a possible stainless steel 321 Speedmaster, with much of the justification coming from Omega’s approach to the movement. *That said, it’s important to consider that because of the way Omega is approaching the production of the modern 321 caliber, I would expect these not to flood the market, either. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if Omega tried to hold these back to create a bit of exclusivity without branding this one a LE. The pricing also puts it toe-to-toe with a certain other stainless steel sports chronograph, which I imagine is part of the play here. Omega

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