A year ago, Omega announced they were recreating the legendary 321 movement that powered the first watches that went to the moon. First, and to the disappointment of many fans, the new watch came in a pricey platinum-cased edition. Now, the much-anticipated stainless steel version is finally here.
And though this version might be more affordable than the circa-$55,000 platinum iteration, a stainless steel case doesn’t mean it’ll be easily in reach for the average Speedy fan. The new Speedmaster 321 in steel is still a special product with some unique features, and a price of $14,100 reflects this. The 321 movement was reverse-engineered from a vintage example, and each full watch, including its movement, is assembled and adjusted one at a time by a single watchmaker at the Omega facilities in Switzerland.
Further, the original 321 copper components are visually mimicked in the modern movement by using a Sedna (Omega’s proprietary alloy) gold treatment. All this takes this watch to a very different level than the typical Speedy that is loved, in part, because of its relatively approachable price.
The new Moonwatch 321 is not merely a steel version of the earlier platinum model, either. It’s based on the reference 105.003, also known as the “Ed White” for the American astronaut who wore it during his 1965 spacewalk. Compared to the most familiar versions of the Moonwatch (like the ones based on those worn to the moon in 1969), this version has some notable differences, such as straight lugs, a lack of crown guards, and a diameter only 39.7mm wide. The new version is meant to be close to the original 105.003, but modern elements include a display case back so you can see the movement you’re paying for, as well as a ceramic bezel and sapphire crystals (front and back).
The new Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch 321 Stainless Steel gives enthusiasts a lot to discuss. Some might want a Hesalite crystal and solid case back to be even more faithful to the original, and some might want to see the manually wound 321 chronograph movement powering other historical reissues. That awesome steel bracelet, at least, should be well received.
It’s hard to please everyone, but if Omega’s past multitudes of Speedy iterations are any indication, there will very likely be more options in the future. Omega has not chosen to specifically limit production numbers, but the brand only has the capacity to produce so many pieces of this hand-assembled watch, so excited buyers might have to wait their turn to purchase.