Omega Introduces the Speedmaster Moonwatch Master Chronometer with Cal. 3861A 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.
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 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.
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 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.
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).
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.Back to top.