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OMEGA Speedmaster Co-Axial Chronograph Caliber 9300 – My Personal Favorite Of 2011

The story of the Speedmaster began in 1957, when OMEGA’s Claude Baillod designed the watch for his manager, Head of Creation Pierre Moinat. The first few models (CK2915 and CK2998) had a symmetrical shape and were replaced by the a-symmetrical case as we happen to know it now, in 1963. When the Speedmaster was chosen by NASA to become part of the astronaut’s equipment, OMEGA added the wording ‘Professional’ on the dial in 1965. The rest is history and has been discussed and documented by many, including here at Fratellowatches.

Besides the Moonwatch, OMEGA developed and produced a number of Speedmaster watches that were not part of the Professional series. We would say that the Speedmaster ‘Reduced’ is probably the most popular non-Moonwatch Speedmaster and that the Speedmaster Automatic ‘Holy Grail’ the most sought-after model. For now at least.

This article is all about the new OMEGA Speedmaster Co-Axial Chronograph ref. 311.30.44.51.01.002 with the in-house caliber 9300 movement. This two register Speedmaster chronograph was introduced during BaselWorld 2011 but has been a bit in the shadow of the (also) newly introduced Seamaster Planet Ocean line-up. The new Speedmaster non-professional does not get the attention it deserves to be honest.

It is not a Speedmaster Professional, so we won’t do a comparison. But let us say this: The Speedmaster Co-Axial Chronograph is meant for those who love the NASA heritage, the Speedmaster-cult status and the design of the ‘original’ but need a watch with a date, an automatic mechanical movement and – perhaps – an in-house movement.

OMEGA was able to send us a Speedmaster Co-Axial Chronograph for review purposes and in short: we had a hard time giving it back. The size of 44.25mm is more modest on the wrist than it seems by specification, so don’t let this scare you. The dial of the watch is simply mesmerizing and very thought-through with only 2 sub registers. OMEGA combined the 12 hour recorder with the minute recorder in one sub register, which is quite easy to read when using the chronograph to time certain things (we timed a few long trips with this watch).

OMEGA Speedmaster Co Axial Chronograph Caliber 9300   My Personal Favorite Of 2011

We’ve heard people commenting on the watch that there is too much distance between the sub registers, however, our logical explanation would be that when the sub registers would be more close to the center pinion, the short end of the chronograph second hand could possibly block the view of one of the sub registers. Our other guess is that people need to adjust to this lay-out and can’t stop comparing the Speedmaster Professional ‘Moonwatch’ with this Speedmaster Co-Axial Chronograph.

Before we get to the previously mentioned in-house chronograph caliber 9300 (also discussed here in detail), let’s have a look at the new Speedmaster bracelet. A comfortable Oyster-style bracelet with ‘Speedmaster’ engraving in the clasp. The clasp is identical to those on previous Speedmaster models, using two pushers to open and a simple but firm ‘click’ to close. The links of the bracelet are connected to eachother using screws instead of pins. Well, that’s not entirely true. There is a pin inside, that is being locked by two small screws on each side.

We expressed our worry about losing one of the two screws and thus losing the pin inside. Head of Development of OMEGA ensured us that this system has been tried and tested and that you shouldn’t fear. During our period of testing this Speedmaster Co-Axial Chronograph, no issues occurred with the bracelet.

OMEGA Speedmaster Co Axial Chronograph Caliber 9300   My Personal Favorite Of 2011

During the test period of this watch, we’ve been invited by OMEGA to visit their revamped museum in Bienne (reported here, lots of pictures), have a lunch with CEO Stephen Urquhart and visit the production facilities of the Co-Axial escapement and their new in-house movements.

Unfortunately, we could not take pictures during the factory tour, but let us assure you that OMEGA does everything it takes to make sure the movements meet all requirements by both COSC, OMEGA and you, the critical customer. The new caliber 9300 chronograph movement is chronometer certified (which means it is very accurate – between -6/+4 seconds deviation per day – and will be for at least 5 years) and will not disappoint you in terms of look & feel. Look & feel? Yes, we think it is important how a chronograph ‘feels’ when operating the start, stop and reset buttons. We’ve had multiple comments on our test watch from (watch)friends who noticed that the start/stop mechanism feels like silk. With ‘look’ we mean the esthetics of the movement, which is in this case, sheer beauty.

OMEGA Speedmaster Co Axial Chronograph Caliber 9300   My Personal Favorite Of 2011

Because we also witnessed the production process of the new range of in-house movements, we’ve seen that a lot of effort and time is being put in finishing all the various parts of the movement. Both those you can see through the transparent case back but also those that can’t be observed by the wearer of the watch.

OMEGA Speedmaster Co Axial Chronograph Caliber 9300   My Personal Favorite Of 2011

RJ examining tiny movement parts @ OMEGA Factory

Talking about the transparent case back, this is – in our opinion – one of the coolest extras on this Speedy. It seems that the sapphire crystal they used for the case back is almost identical to the one on the front of the watch (which isn’t the case of course). This results in a very domed crystal on the case back, which you will definitely notice when wearing it on your wrist. The transparent case back catches sun light in certain angles, which gives it a very interesting look. The photo below should demonstrate this.

OMEGA Speedmaster Co Axial Chronograph Caliber 9300   My Personal Favorite Of 2011

When you flip the watch, you”ll get a great view on the caliber 9300 movement. Partly, because the movement is covered by a main plate that covers most of the gears and gear trains. However, because the case back is entirely made out of sapphire, the view is still impressive. The finish of the movement and rotor clearly makes up for this. Also, the silicon parts are also noticeable through the sapphire crystal.

OMEGA Speedmaster Co Axial Chronograph Caliber 9300   My Personal Favorite Of 2011

Although the watch is significantly larger than the Speedmasters we are used to be wearing, it is one hell of a comfortable watch as a daily wearer. Despite the diameter of 44.25mm it wears comfortably on the wrist and it actually tooks us only a few minutes before we were used to it (instead of wearing 39/40mm diameter watches). Because we have and have had our share of Speedmaster Professional watches, we certainly appreciate the fact that OMEGA kept using the design of the case that mr. Claude Baillod came up with in 1957.

OMEGA Speedmaster Co Axial Chronograph Caliber 9300   My Personal Favorite Of 2011

The position of the pushers, crown guards and crown does remind us of the design of the Speedmaster Automatic ‘Reduced’, where the crown is somewhat smaller (because automatic instead of handwound) and is located deeper between the crown guards. The large black dial is being magnified from certain angles due to the [super] domed sapphire crystal and makes it extremely readable in combination with the white baton hands. Also cool, the date aperture located on 6 o’clock shows a black date wheel and a silver colored date. Completely in line with the printing on the tachymeter.

A bit hard to capture on a picture, the lume is great as well. The hour markers and hands stay bright for a long time only after being exposed to (sun) light for a few moments.

OMEGA Speedmaster Co Axial Chronograph Caliber 9300   My Personal Favorite Of 2011

Setting time and date is very easy, just pull out the crown in the 2nd position (2 clicks) and move the hour and minute hands and put the crown in the first position (1 click) to set the date. The date is being set by moving the hour hand independently from the minutes hand. This takes a bit longer than you are used to with a quick set date, but it’s manageble. It is a similar to setting the date on a Rolex GMT-Master II.

If we have to mention something critical about this watch, perhaps this would be it: the lack of a quick-set date. However, it didn’t bother us until we had to change the date and we soon forgot about it again when the watch was back on the wrist.

We’ve noticed that some people have difficulties with the price tag of this Speedmaster Co-Axial Chronograph. This OMEGA lists for 6.400 EUR (approx $8250.- USD). These kind of prices were – and perhaps are –  quite unusual for OMEGA but comparing this Speedmaster Co-Axial to chronograph watches of other brands with similar features and built quality it is actually not that expensive. The Speedmaster Professional retails for much less, but again – this is not a Speedy Pro and definitely has some advantages over the hand wound ‘Moonwatch’.

OMEGA Speedmaster Co Axial Chronograph Caliber 9300   My Personal Favorite Of 2011

More information:

Official OMEGA Facebook Page

Official OMEGA Website

OMEGA Speedmaster Co Axial Chronograph Caliber 9300   My Personal Favorite Of 2011

19 Comments

  1. Markstanden 85 Reply

    Great review, thanks for taking the time to do such a good job. I was pleased with the timing of it too; I’ve started looking into getting this watch as I’d like a chrono and I was just doing some research when your post came up.

    I’m pleased Omega have introduced this watch – the dials are the clearest I’ve seen on any of Omega’s chronos… I was however wondering what luminescence materials they have used? I’ve got an Omega aqua terra co-ax and haven’t been as impressed by its ability to hold the lume as I was hoping… is this watch very different?

    I’ve also been looking into the 9301 movement – I’m a bit green to all this and whilst I understand it has a gold rotor, I can’t work out much else that is different – is it much more expensive? Any detail you can give would be really appreciated!!

    Cheers!

    1. Robert-Jan Reply

      Hi Mark,

      Thanks for your comment. I am not sure about the lume, my guess is that they ‘just’ use Super Luminova. I don’t have a modern Speedmaster Pro or Seamaster Pro, but I assume it is no different from these watches.

      The caliber 9301 movement versus the reviewed 9300 is only a matter of optical differences, like the gold rotor. It has the seem construction otherwise.

      RJ

      1. Markstanden 85 Reply

        Thanks RJ, there appears to be a larger surface area on this speedmaster so I reckon it’ll be fine.

        I’m finding it difficult to find anywhere that sells a 9301 movement – do you know if they are limited edition/much more expensive?

        Thanks

  2. Co-axial movement: 2500 vs 8500? - Page 3 Reply

    [...] the Speedmaster Co-ax 9300 calibre. A good review has appeared on the forum by Robert-Jan for this: OMEGA Speedmaster Co-Axial Chronograph Caliber 9300 – My Personal Favorite Of 2011 | Fratellowatches… However, I wondered what was thought of this movement? Do the same pros and cons that have been [...]

  3. Master Reply

    Great review as allways,
     
    but want to add something about the bracelet !
     
    I don’t understand your first consern about the bracelet.
    I can honestly say that these pin-screw bracelets are a lot more thrustfull than any onther Rolex oyster bracelet .. why ?
     
    Because the Oyster bracelet use a srew witch recieves all the shockes and can easely unleash, while in the new Omega bracelets the pins recieve all the shocks witch are verry clever locked by the cover-screws and therfor these are a verry huge approvement.
     
    I hope you understand the technicity of these bracelets.
     
     
    Kindest regards.

    1. Robert-Jan Reply

      Thanks for the comment my friend.

      I understand the ‘works’ of the new bracelet and lock-system, but my worry was about the two small cover screws on both sides, that one of them would get lose, disappears and then losing the pin inside. However, I’ve been assured by OMEGA that they really thought this through and it will not fail. I am not sure how they fixed the safety of the cover screws yet. Although it rarily happens to bracelet with screwed-pins, it occasionally happens that they fall out after heavy shocks or vibrations.

      RJ

  4. Watcho Reply

    Great review!  I have always been extremely satisfied with my omegas, the craftmanship feels rock solid.

    Keep it up!

  5. Monday Grab Bag of Links … | The Pretense of Knowledge Reply

    [...] watches Just Because: A $464,500 Patek Philippe Reference 2481 With Cloisonné Eurasia Enamel Dial OMEGA Speedmaster Co-Axial Chronograph Caliber 9300 Linde Werdelin SpidoSpeed Chronograph Review An Early Look At The Hamilton intra-matic: A Winner [...]

  6. Vagabond056 Reply

    Which one will you guys choose ?

    Omega PO CoAxial Chrono VS Rolex sub Date

  7. Chronoman Reply

    I won’t consider the Speedmaster because the chrono registers are not in balance with the design. With the Seamaster it is totally different though. THAT is one fantastic watch. 

  8. Greg Reply

    Great review.  I’m just now catching up with the newer movements. I am a purist, and a vintage collector and I’m still very impressed by this movement. It will be interesting to see in 5+ years how all of Omega’s co-axial watches hold up. These watches would be even more interesting if Omega is able to lower the price (by about half, I’d say) in the coming years, as they pay off their new tooling they’ve had to invest in.  There are quite a few other watches I’d buy at this price before this watch. I still want it though!

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  11. Luxest » Speedy Tuesday – Another OMEGA Speedmaster Co-Axial Caliber 9300 Review Reply

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    [...] Omega’s new caliber 9300 is simply magnificent. When we’re looking at price/product ratio than this is just superb. No beefed up ETA/Valjoux 7750 that is sold for 6k€, no a serious in-house movement with superb specifications and great performance. The same movement is also used in the new Speedmaster that our friends of Fratellowatches reviewed. [...]

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