Author Archives: Dale Vito

Press Release: Omega reintroduces the iconic calibre 321

January 8th, 2019

3… 2… 1…
WE HAVE LIFT-OFF!

OMEGA reintroduces the iconic Calibre 321

If you ask most watch fans to name a famous movement they’d like to see reborn, you’re bound to hear them mention the OMEGA Calibre 321. This robust and elegant chronograph movement has been a favourite since the 1940s and is still highly sought-after by watch collectors around the world. Now, more than 50 years after the last Calibre 321 was produced, OMEGA is bringing the iconic movement back.

Known for its beautifully intricate design, the original Calibre 321 was the first movement ever used in the OMEGA Speedmaster in 1957. It had, in fact, been previously used in some of OMEGA’s other chronographs, namely those in the Seamaster collection. It stands out for its use of a monobloc column-wheel, a feature that is machined from a single piece and which adds technical value. Generally, column-wheel movements require very careful precision in design and build, making them popular with watch collectors.

In addition to its construction, the original Calibre 321 also earned a very notable place in history. It was used in a variety of models including the Speedmaster ST 105.003 (the model first tested and qualified by NASA and worn by astronaut Ed White during the first American spacewalk) and the Speedmaster ST 105.012 (the first watch worn on the moon).

Reintroducing a movement with such an important reputation must therefore be done with the utmost exactness. For the Calibre 321 project, OMEGA utilised a dedicated team of experts who worked efficiently over two years and in total secrecy to bring the movement to life. The small group was composed of researchers, developers and historians, as well as the finest craftsmen and experienced watchmakers. To protect the project’s exclusive details, the team even worked under the codename “Alaska 11”, in line with the names that OMEGA used for its secret Speedmaster designs for NASA in the 1960s and 70s.

Using the 2nd generation Calibre 321 as a reference, the OMEGA team compiled extensive historical research and original plans to reconstruct the movement as accurately as possible. Going even further, they also used “tomography” technology (digital scanning method) to see inside the true Speedmaster ST 105.003 timepiece that astronaut Eugene “Gene” Cernan wore on the moon during the Apollo 17 mission in 1972. Cernan was the last man to walk on the lunar surface and his Speedmaster is now housed at the OMEGA Museum in Bienne. Its Calibre 321 provided the perfect design criteria for OMEGA to follow.

As a result, even the most unique and iconic parts of the Calibre 321 have been reborn in respect to their authentic specifications. The movement wonderfully corresponds to the “moon period” of OMEGA’s history, with a construction that completely respects the designs from the past.

Raynald Aeschlimann, President and CEO of OMEGA, said, “It’s amazing that so many people are passionate about the Calibre 321. 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.

The new movements will now go into production at OMEGA’s HQ site in Bienne. Uniquely, all aspects of creation will be undertaken within a dedicated Calibre 321 workshop. For each movement, the assembly, as well as the watch head and bracelet assembly will be performed by the same watchmaker. Watch fans can expect more developments and news in the coming months.

Press Release: Omega Watches Land On-Screen in Universal Pictures’ First Man

OMEGA WATCHES LAND ON-SCREEN IN UNIVERSAL PICTURES’ FIRST MAN

Bienne, October 8, 2018

On October 12 in the USA, watch fans, space enthusiasts and astonished audiences alike will be able to spot OMEGA timepieces playing a true-life role within the story of Universal Pictures’ First Man.

Following their six-time Academy Award®-winning La La Land, Oscar®-winning director Damien Chazelle and star Ryan Gosling reteam for First Man, the riveting story behind the first manned mission to the moon, focusing on Neil Armstrong and the decade leading to the historic Apollo 11 flight. A visceral and intimate account told from Armstrong’s perspective, based on the book by James R. Hansen, the film explores the triumphs and the cost – on Armstrong, his family, his colleagues and the nation itself – of one of the most dangerous missions in history.

OMEGA has an unrivalled legacy within space exploration and the team behind First Man has correctly placed the brand’s timepieces on the wrists of the Apollo astronauts and others.

Within its rapidly accelerating space programme in 1964, NASA went in search of one watch that it could qualify for all manned-missions. Many brands submitted their timepieces for the punishing tests, but only the OMEGA Speedmaster survived. As a result, it was declared “Flight Qualified for all Manned Space Missions” on the 1st of March, 1965.

From that moment, OMEGA was the only supplier of watches for NASA’s Human Space Flight Program. Its use in space has extended through the final Mercury Missions and the Gemini, Apollo, Skylab and Apollo-Soyuz programs. The Speedmaster is still in use for space flight today and helps to keep track of time on the International Space Station.

Of course, as part of this history, the OMEGA Speedmaster became the first watch worn on the moon in 1969 during the Apollo 11 mission. For the production of First Man, OMEGA supplied period-correct Speedmasters and other watches of that era. The following model styles are featured in the movie:

OMEGA Speedmaster ST 105.003.

This timepiece is worn by Ryan Gosling during his character’s Apollo training at NASA. In real life, it would also have been the model that Project Gemini astronaut Ed White wore during the first American spacewalk on the 3rd of June, 1965.

[Ed. –  this looks like a new piece based on the FOIS rather than an actual vintage watch? That would make for a cool LTD with these hands and plexi glass!]

OMEGA Speedmaster ST 105.012.

This famous Moonwatch is worn by the actors portraying Apollo 11 astronauts during their historic mission and lunar landing.

OMEGA wristwatch CK 2605

A timepiece from 1954, this is the wristwatch worn on-screen by Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong during the global hero’s daily life.

OMEGA Stopwatch

A 1960s stopwatch used on-screen by the NASA engineers during training. Through the brand’s role as Official Timekeeper of the Olympic Games, OMEGA has an established and renowned history in sports and precision timekeeping devices.

Pictorial: Omega Speedmaster Professional Speedy Tuesday 2 Ultraman 311.12.42.30.01.001

Twelve live pictures of the Omega Speedmaster Professional Speedy Tuesday 2 Ultraman 311.12.42.30.01.001!

As you’ve probably seen in our two earlier posts, yesterday we took delivery of a Speedmaster Professional Speedy Tuesday 2 Ultraman 311.12.42.30.01.001. So cool that quite a few of you chose to have them delivered through Ace! Anyway, although I’m a bit strapped for time and already in holiday mode (leaving in a few days), I did take a few pics of this stunner this morning. I tried to capture the watch from a few different angles as to give you a proper idea of how it looks in real life. I kept the editing to the bare minimum, so there might be a spec of dust here or there.

I’ll let the pics do the talking:

Omega Speedmaster Professional Speedy Tuesday 2 Ultraman: What’s in the Box?

A few hours ago we were delivered the our first Omega Speedmaster Professional Speedy Tuesday 2 Ultraman – it’s such an honor that many of you chose to have them delivered at us! This gave us the chance to do another ‘What’s in the Box’ too – so here we go!

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