Omega Introduces the Speedmaster Moonwatch Master Chronometer with Cal. 3861

A classic upgraded.

Long anticipated and widely discussed ahead of its release, the new-generation Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch has finally arrived. Officially the Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional Co-Axial Master Chronometer Chronograph 42 mm, the upgraded version of the famous chronograph is an attractive blend of vintage design elements and modern movement technology.

Launched in eight variants, the new Moonwatch line begins with the entry-level model in steel with a Hesalite crystal and solid back, with the top of the line model being the version in 18k Canopus gold, a white-gold alloy proprietary to Omega.

The new Moonwatch in Sedna gold (left) and Canopus gold

All the versions, however, share the same design features, as well as the cal. 3861, which is also found in the recently-launched Speedmaster Silver Snoopy Award. A new-and-improved version of the cal. 1861 that powered the Moonwatch for decades, the cal. 3861 boasts all of the technological bells and whistles that define Omega’s contemporary movements. The new calibre is also is partly responsible for a price rise, with the new Moonwatch being about 25% more expensive than its equivalent with the cal. 1861.

The cal. 3861 under the display back; only the Hesalite-crystal model has a solid back

Initial thoughts

The new Moonwatch is appealing but predictable in packaging details taken from vintage Speedmasters along with the new cal. 3861. Mostly derived from the Speedmaster ref. ST 105.012, the vintage elements include stepped dial and “DON” bezel”, which evoke Speedmaster models of the late 1960s and will no doubt please enthusiasts.

At the same time, the cal. 3861 is clearly a step up from the cal. 1861 that remained essentially unchanged for decades. Though visually similar to its predecessor, the cal. 3861 has been upgraded in both mechanics and finish, resulting in a movement that’s better in both form and function.

The fly in the ointment is the price of the new Moonwatch. In absolute terms, it remains affordable as such things go – the entry-level model with its crystal in Hesalite (or a type of plastic also known as acrylic) retails for US$6,300. But that’s still a quarter more expensive than the outgoing model.

And the gold versions are striking – especially the white-gold model – but especially expensive. The white gold version on a bracelet costs a bit over US$45,000.

Case detail of the Moonwatch in Sedna gold

From a business perspective, however, this makes tremendous sense. One of the iconic chronographs in watchmaking, the Speedmaster was perhaps too inexpensive from Omega’s point of view, and upgrading the watch justifies increasing the price, which will help raise the average price of a Speedmaster and bring it closer to that of the hallmark chronograph of its rival in Geneva.

The steel model is available with either a sapphire or Hesalite crystal, and either a bracelet or strap

Vintage details

The new Moonwatch draws heavily from the 4th generation model, specifically the ref. ST 105.012, which was also the model worn by the astronauts of the Apollo 11 mission who landed on the Moon (and probably wore the ref. ST 105.012-69).

The “space-era tributes”, as Omega labels them, are applied to the inside and outside of the watch. The aluminium bezel insert has a “dot over 90”, or “DON”, while the dial has an applied Omega emblem as well as small step along the chapter ring. And even the bracelet is also modelled a vintage bracelet, featuring a retro-style clasp and five-link style that is nonetheless modern in construction with a push-button closure and screwed links.

The case remains the traditional 42 mm, but with a double-step case back like the vintage original, though now with a sapphire window to show off the movement.

“DON”

The new clasp that’s 15 mm wide, allowing the bracelet to taper from its 20 mm width at the lugs

First seen in the all-gold Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary, the cal. 3861 incorporates most of Omega’s modern technical innovations. The movement features a Daniels Co-Axial escapement, Si14 silicon hairspring, as well as non-ferrous alloys for the escapement, giving it magnetism resistance of up to 15,000 Gauss.

Like the cal. 1861 in the previous version of the Moonwatch, the cal. 3861 runs at 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz). But unlike its predecessor that had a seconds track scaled for 1/5th of a second, the new Moonwatch has a correctly-graduated track with seconds hashmarks for 1/3th of a second (because the seconds hand moves in 1/6th of a second steps).

The applied logo on a stepped dial

And like most of Omega’s top-of-the-line movements, the cal. 3861 is a certified Master Chronometer, after having passed comprehensive timing and functional testing overseen by METAS, Switzerland’s national meteorological and measurements agency.

All versions except the Hesalite-crystal model have a display back

The luxe versions

The new Moonwatch is also available in two flavours of gold – Canopus and Sedna gold. Both proprietary to Omega, the former is a white gold alloy with a naturally silvery white appearance, doing away with the need for rhodium plating, while the latter is a fade-resistant pink gold alloy.

Both gold versions share the same dimensions and design as the steel model, but feature the enhancement of applied gold hour markers on the dial.

The gold models are available on strap or bracelet

Probably the best looking watch in the line up, though hardly a true “Professional” Moonwatch, the white-gold version brings to mind past models in white gold. It has a bright, silver dial with a radially-brushed finish that contrasts with a flat, matte finish found on the steel models.


Key facts and price

Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional Co-Axial Master Chronometer Chronograph 42 mm
Ref. 310.30.42.50.01.001 (steel, sapphire, bracelet)
Ref. 310.32.42.50.01.002 (steel, sapphire, strap)

Ref. 310.30.42.50.01.001 (steel, Hesalite, bracelet)
Ref. 310.32.42.50.01.001 (steel, Hesalite, strap)

Ref. 310.60.42.50.02.001 (Canopus gold, bracelet)
Ref. 310.63.42.50.02.001 (Canopus gold, strap)

Ref. 310.60.42.50.01.001 (Sedna gold, bracelet)
Ref. 310.63.42.50.01.001 (Sedna gold, strap)

Diameter: 42 mm
Height: Unavailable
Material: Steel or 18k gold
Crystal: Sapphire (option of Hesalite for steel model)
Water resistance: 50 m

Movement: Cal. 3861
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, and chronograph
Additional features: Co-Axial escapement, silicon hairspring, and resistant to magnetism of up to 15,000 Gauss
Winding: Hand-wound
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Power reserve: 50 hours

Strap: Matching metal bracelet, or strap in nylon or leather

Availability: Already at Omega retailers and boutiques, with gold models exclusive to boutiques
Price:
Steel, sapphire, bracelet – US$7,150; or S$10,450
Steel, sapphire, strap – US$6,800; or S$10,000

Steel, Hesalite, bracelet – US$6,300; or S$9,200
Steel, Hesalite, strap – US$5,950; or S$8,700

Canopus gold, bracelet – US$45,300; or S$66,350
Canopus gold, strap – US$30,400; or S$44,500

Sedna gold, bracelet – US$34,800; or S$51,000
Sedna gold, strap – US$24,600; or S$36,100

For more information, visit Omegawatches.com.


Correction January 6, 2021: The cal. 1861 runs at 21,600 beats per hour, and not 28,800 beats per hour as stated in an earlier version of the article.

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Swatch Introduces the Disney Mickey Mouse x Keith Haring Collection

Pop art Mickey.

Continuing its series of collaborations with noted artists, Swatch has just unveiled the Disney Mickey Mouse x Keith Haring Collection, a quartet of watches inspired by the artist’s take on the iconic mouse. The collection is made up of a pair of 41 mm New Gent models, a smaller 34 mm watch, as well as an oversized, Maxi wall clock shaped like a wristwatch.

An artist whose pop art outlived his unfortunately short career, Haring was best known for his graffiti in New York City’s subway stations, often depicting dancing figures or animals in outline. Haring was also a proponent of accessible art, and worked with Swatch in 1986 to create a set of four watches, which debuted alongside Pop Shop, a store in New York’s Soho district that sold affordable products bearing his work.

The 1986 Swatch Keith Haring set. Photo – Christie’s

Haring died in 1990 at the age of 31, but now, some three decades later, Swatch has rolled out the second Haring collection, conceived together with the artist’s eponymous foundation. The new collection revisits Haring’s earlier work that depicts Mickey Mouse, explaining the collaboration with Disney.

The 41 mm Eclectic Mickey

Initial thoughts

Swatch excels at watches in funky design and bright colours, and the Haring-Mickey Mouse watches personify that. And the fact that the watch incorporate iconic examples of 1980s pop art make them even more interesting, less timekeeper than an affordable means of acquiring a little bit of Haring’s iconic style. The watches smartly minimise their timekeeping features while maximising Haring’s work, with the time reduced to  minimalist baton hands.

Additionally, the quartet of watches ensures that there’s something for everyone, with each watch distinct in style and size, ranging form the pared-back, almost monochromatic Mickey Blanc Sur Noir, to the vibrant Eclectic Mickey that features the artist’s trademark line motif.

Most unusually, the Ecletic Mickey is also offered in an extra-large size intended for the wall – 2.1 m long from top to bottom, taller than the average person – which turns the watch into an actual piece of art.

The wristwatches are minute next to the wall-clock “watch”

The prices for the new collection are in line with other Swatch watches, albeit being a little more expensive due to the royalties that go to the Keith Haring Foundation. But they are still eminently affordable and compellingly priced, starting at US$100 for the 34 mm wristwatch and rising to US$500 for the Maxi Eclectic Mickey wall clock.

And set against the value of the original 1986 Keith Haring quartet – Christie’s sold a set for US$3,000 in 2016 – the new watches are almost a bargain.

Keith Haring and Mickey Mouse

Though much of Haring’s work was a channel to raise social awareness of AIDS, especially after he was diagnosed with the illness, Haring long had a fascination with Mickey Mouse originating from childhood. Early on in his career, Haring produced several drawings of the Mickey Mouse, which now form the blueprint for the new Swatch collection.

The most complicated work is reproduced on Eclectic Mickey, a New Gent model with a 41 mm blue-plastic case along with a dial and strap covered with Haring’s signature lines, and a dramatic depiction of Mickey Mouse based on a 1982 drawing. And the same watch is also rendered as the oversized Maxi wall clock.

The Haring-Mickey Mouse collection is presented in a special box

More minimalist is the Mickey Blanc sur Noir, also a 41 mm model that reproduces a 1981 drawing. Instead of filling up the dial, the drawing is framed in a box against an all-black case and strap. Notably, the hands are peculiar in style, resembling paperclips and painted yellow, making the watch appear more lively.

Mickey Blanc sur Noir

And between the two is the Mouse Marinière, a smaller, 34 mm watch in striking red and white, with Mickey Mouse clad in his trademark shorts.

But unlike the other two watches, the Mouse Marinière has the drawing etched on the crystal, instead of being printed on the dial. This has the effect of making the black hands less visible, making the art more prominent.

Mouse Marinière


Key Facts and Price

Swatch Disney Mickey Mouse x Keith Haring Collection
Ref. GZ352 (Mouse Marinière)
Ref. SUOZ336 (Eclectic Mickey)
Ref. SUOZ337 (Mickey Blanc sur Noir)
Ref. MSUOZ336 (Maxi Eclectic Mickey)

Diameter: 34 mm (GZ352);  41 mm (SUOZ336, SUOZ337); 300 mm (MSUOZ336)
Height: 8.75 mm (GZ352); 9.85 mm (SUOZ336, SUOZ337)
Material: Plastic
Water resistance: 30 m

Movement: Quartz
Functions: Hours and minutes

Strap: Silicone

Limited edition: No, “special edition”
Availability:
 Starting January 7, 2021 at Swatch stores and online boutique
Price:
Eclectic Mickey – US$185, or 283 Singapore dollars
Mouse Marinière – US$100, or 149 Singapore dollars
Mickey Blanc sur Noir – US$125, or 186 Singapore dollars
Maxi Eclectic Mickey – US$500, or 745 Singapore dollars

For more, visit swatch.com


Addition January 7, 2021: Included the height of all wristwatches, and the price of Maxi Eclectic Mickey.

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