You’ve probably heard it by now, OMEGA introduced the remake of the “First Omega in Space” Speedmaster. The watch worn by Walter ‘Wally’ Schirra on the 3rd of October 1962 during the Sigma 7 flight, was the Speedmaster ref. CK2998. This is a second generation Speedmaster, a few years before it became the official choice by NASA and renamed ‘Speedmaster Professional’ in 1965. We had a look at the new remake of this Speedmaster ’1962′ during our appointment with OMEGA in BaselWorld and we’d like to share our findings and the pictures we took, with our readers.
As you can see, the dial lacks the ‘Professional’ wording and has the applied OMEGA logo again, like it was used in those days. The font that OMEGA used doesn’t match with the original one, but that has been a matter of ‘corporate branding’. The hands are according to the original 1962 ref.CK2998 Speedmaster as well, except that the use of the chronograph second hand belongs to the original CK2998-1 (or mark 1) and the small sub register hands to the later CK2998-2. On the other hand, we’ve seen so much combinations through the years, including those who left the factory in Bienne in the 1960s that is getting hard to have the exact rights facts on the table. Despite that, OMEGA did a great job to create a dial that comes so close to the original model.
With a diameter of 39.7mm a tad bit smaller than the current Speedmaster Professional ‘Moonwatch’, but we’ve found it to wear very well. The straight lugs of this Speedmaster are very interesting and correspond to those of the original CK2998. The finish on the case differs a bit from the original Speedmaster from 1962, but nevertheless does the watch give you a feel that are you are actually wearing this vintage Speedy from the 1960s.
OMEGA decided to put a vintage looking brown strap on the watch, something of which Jean-Claude Monachon (OMEGA’s Head of Development) told me was a very clear decision by them. It would not make sense to have either the current stainless steel bracelet resized for this Speedmaster “First Omega in Space” but it also wouldn’t have made sense to do a remake of the original bracelet as it wouldn’t meet their current standards for a bracelet.
Inside the Speedmaster 1962 is the famous caliber 1861, based on the manual winding Lemania 1871 chronograph movement. We are glad that they used this movement instead of a new co-axial movement, historical wise it should be the caliber 321 but this is definitely the best solution as the original caliber 321 is not available anymore. We love the new co-axial movements by OMEGA (read RJs thorough review of the Speedmaster Co-Axial caliber 9300 here), but it would not have made sense.
This watch has a sapphire crystal and also the case back is different than the original ‘Seahorse’-only engraved one. The caseback is embossed with OMEGA’s original seahorse emblem, the wording “THE FIRST OMEGA IN SPACE” and “OCTOBER 3, 1962”, which is the date of the Mercury-Atlas 8 (Sigma 7) mission. The caseback also has the number of the watch engraved. Unlike the annual Limited Editions that OMEGA introduces (this year was the Last Man on the Moon edition), this Speedmaster is not a limited edition.
This is a watch for Speedmaster collectors and lovers all over the world, we’re sure. Since OMEGA have done their best to create a straight-lug CK2998 remake, we are sure that the audience will understand some of the compromises that have been made to let it fit in the current OMEGA catalogue.
OMEGA will get this watch delivered to authorized dealers in October/November 2012, at least ‘after’ the 50th anniversary of Wally Schirra’s Mercury Atlas 8 mission. Price is set at CHF 4750.- (including taxes).
An all original OMEGA Speedmaster pre-Professional (and thus pre-Moon) CK2998 sells for much more than that. It makes the Speedmaster ’1962′ or ‘First Omega in Space’ a very interesting and attractive Speedy for those who can’t find a vintage ref.2998 to their liking, don’t want to spend so much money for one or just prefer new watches. Whatever reason it may be, we think that this remake Speedmaster pre-Professional will be a very good seller amongst Speedmaster collectors and aficionados all over the world.
Below a picture of Wally Schirra (who passed away on the 3rd of May in 2007), wearing his OMEGA Speedmaster over the sleeve of his NASA suit.