The timepiece you see here looks like a tool watch: it's a handsome chronograph with a pragmatic, legible design. Of course, it's also an Omega Speedmaster, but even if you know the history and significance of the vintage model it's based on, there's little at first glance that would hint at its $81,000 price tag. This is not some vintage watch owned by a celebrity, but a brand-new model for 2022 — so what gives?
Everything about the Omega Speedmaster 321 Canopus Gold watch is winking at collectors who are deeply immersed in the Speedmaster world. The watch's name hints at two of the primary elements that make it different (and expensive): those are the 321 movement inside and its exotic case (and bracelet) material.
But you won't want to miss the other touches and materials that complete this high-end "Speedy."
You'd have to turn the watch over to see the manually wound movement through its caseback window, and you'd still have to know its history and collector appeal appreciate why it's special. The "321" was the movement inside the very first Speedmaster watch, introduced in 1957, and it powered the first Omega worn in space.
This is the movement that most excites vintage collectors — and in 2019, Omega announced that they'd reverse-engineered and recreated it. Unlike mass-produced Omega movements, each modern 321 is assembled and adjusted by a single watchmaker.
Not many watches have yet featured the modern 321 movement, but you can get it in a steel watch that costs ("only") $14,100. The difference of $67,000 is partially explained by the new watch's case material: it's Omega's exclusive alloy of white gold, platinum, rhodium and palladium that's been named Canopus Gold. It's a white metal that, like white gold or platinum, is hard to distinguish from stainless steel in pictures, but which we'll presume has its own properties and luster when seen in person, as other precious metals tend to do.
Although the Speedmaster 321 Canopus is based closely on the original Speedmaster from 1957, Omega did more than simply give it a fancy movement, case material and high price tag. The deep black dial is made of onyx, the (Canopus Gold) bezel's markings are filled with enamel, and the caseback's seahorse engraving features a blue sapphire for its eye. Anyone in the market for a watch such as this will also surely notice details like the retro shape of the Omega logo's "O" and the specific placements of dots on the bezel that collectors obsess over.
If you like the look of the Speedmaster 321 Canopus Gold but don't need the high-end materials, details or special movement, you might try seeking out something from the Speedmaster '57 collection. There will also surely be other models this year to celebrate the Speedmaster's 65th anniversary. If you must have this ultimate stealth-wealth Speedy and have $81,000 to spend on it, the 321 Canopus Gold watch is not limited in production and will only be available through Omega boutiques.