The Omega Speedmaster family is one of the most visible watch collections in the world. While the early antecedents were great space travellers and accompanied NASA astronauts on their momentous space missions of the late nineteen-sixties and seventies, some of the more recent progeny that haven’t carried the authentic moonwatch gene have, in my opinion, let their illustrious fore-fathers and mothers down. I’m pleased to say that the new Speedmaster Co-Axial calibre 9301 model is not one of them.
For purists, the only Speedmasters worth embellishing the wrist are those that are linear descendents of the moon watch (the calibre 321/861/1861 progression), and such tastes are amply catered for with the limited edition Apollo 15 Anniversary model and the Speedmaster Professional range. But, for those who hankered for an automatic version that still offered some historical rub-off, the most recent options have been limited to models powered by the somewhat effete Piguet-based 33xx and 36xx calibres. The exception was the more strapping 3212.80.00 calibre1164 date range based on the famous Valjoux 7750 ‘tracteur, but that was superceded by the sissier calibre 3304 versions.
The Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Chronograph Co-Axial calibre 9301 (seen above in the 18k orange gold iteration) adds muscle back into the automatic collection with a new in-house automatic movement that was designed from the bottom plate up for robustness and accuracy. This collection pays due homage to the famous design elements of the Professional – classic black dial, tachymeter and original hands – and blows the size of the watch out to a weapons-grade 44.25 mm. Not for the faint-hearted and likely to cause a back injury to anyone weighing less than 170 pounds, this piece is meant to be worn with a swagger.
Perhaps a fat wallet lodged in the right-hand back pocket will help owners of this new Super-Speedie maintain vertical equilibrium, because they will certainly need a sizeable stash to pay the $35,000.00 plus for the platinum version. The more reasonably priced stainless steel version will still dent the pocketbook at $7,000 dollars plus, with the ‘orange’ gold version priced in the middle.
So, what are you getting for your money? The answer is that you’re paying for twenty-first century movement that is one of the most technologically advanced machines currently in production: co-axial escapement, free-sprung balance, innovative column wheel and vertical clutch arrangement, silicon balance spring, new-age materials in some of the components, novel two subdial chronograph configuration, beautifully executed case, an upgraded bracelet that allows better adjustment when links are removed, a four year warranty and a COSC certified chronometer watch that promises to deliver outstanding reliability over a long period of time.