Tag Archives: calibre 321

Press Relase: 321 is back! OMEGA’s lunar legend powers the latest Moonwatch

Introducing the Speedmaster Moonwatch 321 Platinum

The anticipation is finally over! Earlier this year, the Swiss watchmaker OMEGA announced the long-awaited return of its iconic Calibre 321. Today, on the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing, the brand is proud to unveil the first new Speedmaster Moonwatch to house the movement.

Known for its beautifully intricate design, the original Calibre 321 was the first movement ever used in the OMEGA Speedmaster in 1957. Most famously, it was used in a variety of space-bound models including the Speedmaster ST 105.003 (the model 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 on the 21st of July, 1969). After extensive research and reconstruction in a dedicated workshop, the Calibre 321 has now been reborn in-line with its original specifications.

To view the reconstructed movement, customers will be able to look through the sapphire-crystal caseback of the new Speedmaster Moonwatch 321 Platinum. As the name suggests, the chronograph features a 42 mm brushed and polished case crafted from a special platinum alloy with the use of gold (Pt950Au20). The case design is inspired by the asymmetrical 4th generation Speedmaster case with twisted lugs (ST 105.012), and is presented on a black leather strap with a platinum buckle. Furthermore, this exciting timepiece includes a black ceramic bezel with the Speedmaster’s famous tachymeter scale in white enamel.

Of course, there are plenty of other captivating features to explore too. The step dial is formed from onyx, with a deep black colour that works in perfect harmony with the other materials, including 18K white gold for the indexes and hands (except for the central chronograph seconds hand). Another very notable feature of the new timepiece is the three meteorite subdials. In tribute to the Speedmaster’s lunar history, OMEGA has used real slices of moon meteorite, providing a genuine link to the Calibre 321, which has powered every Speedmaster ever worn on the moon.

For fans wishing to own a genuine piece of Moonwatch history, as well as a genuine piece of the moon itself, this chronograph should be high on their wish list.

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.