It’s not often that watch enthusiasts get really excited about new or re-issued movements. So here’s a bit about why Omega’s 321 caliber, of all things, is newsworthy: the high-flying history of Omega goes back a bit further than the 1969 moon landing. Ed White wore an early Omega Speedmaster on the outside of his space suit when he executed the first-ever space walk, tethered to the Gemini IV shuttle.
That was in June 1965, or four full years before Armstrong walked on the moon. And Omega’s 321 caliber movement, which kept perfect time through that Gemini mission, was discontinued and replaced by the caliber 861 in 1968 after a production run of 22 years. The 321 movement was, however, still in use when Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon with his own Speedmaster, making it the truest iteration of the “moon watch.” And this new revival of the 321, which has been carefully worked on by Omega’s expert watchmakers for the last two years, is modeled most closely after the watch worn by NASA astronaut Gene Cernan. Cernan was part of the 1972 Apollo 17 lunar mission, which was the last time anyone’s visited the moon.
“It’s amazing that so many people are passionate about the Calibre 321,” said Raynald Aeschlimann, President and CEO of OMEGA. “We produced the last one in 1968 and fans have never stopped talking about it. That shows how special it is. We’re very excited to finally meet their wishes and have gone to great efforts to bring the movement back.”
Look out for potential special-edition releases this summer to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, and act fast if you’re looking to buy. With something this special, a long line of collectors and enthusiasts are sure to be right behind you.