Limited editions are a hot topic today, bot in sales as well as in discussions. Perhaps in the pre-internet age, it was less transparent and as a result, less complaining. What we have here today is a perfect example of a limited edition without a real reason, yet it is starting to become a really sought-after watch.
27 CHRO C12
This gold Speedmaster Professional dates back to 1992 and was limited to 999 pieces to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 27 CHRO C12 movement, the predecessor of the famous calibre 321 movement. That is right. It celebrates a movement that was not even used in the Speedmaster, but its successor was. But does it affect the coolness of the watch? Heck no. This watch is awesome. The fact that it is 999 pieces only, or celebrating some chronograph movement that wasn’t even in a Speedmaster doesn’t matter for the owners of these watches. They just have a very cool 18-carat gold version of their favourite chronograph; the Moonwatch.
Together with Lémania, Omega introduced the 27 CHRO C12 movement in 1942 already. The 27 stands for the diameter of the movement in millimetres and the CHRO is an abbreviation for “chronograph”, of course. C12 refers to the 12-hour recorder of the watch. Back in those days, the chronograph movements used by Omega were normally a bit larger, namely 28.9mm, 33.3mm and 39mm. A smaller movement with 12-hour chronograph complication was needed at the time, for the use in (smaller) watches. A few iterations (and years) later, Omega started to call this movement their calibre 321. So, in all fairness, the calibre 321 was used in the Speedmaster from 1957 to 1968 (CK2915 till 145.012).
Jubilee 27 CHRO C12
In order to pay homage to that first 27mm column-wheel chronograph movement that later became known as the calibre 321, the most sought-after Speedmaster movement, Omega decided to come up with three limited edition watches in gold in 1992. A skeletonized version that we covered in this article, a 250 piece version that has a chronometer certified caliber 864 movement and this 999 piece version with a calibre 863 movement. This 999 piece model we have here today, complete with box and papers.
We know that this can be a bit confusing, but Omega used reference numbers and PIC numbers. We often call the PIC the reference number, as we did above. Reference 3691.50 is actually the same as PIC 3691.50. It is also known as reference BA145.0052 though, which was basically the old referencing system which later became a PIC code. The version with a gold bracelet is PIC 3191.50, but also known as reference BA345.0052. Later on, when the PIC number became the reference number, the reference number (BA145.0052) became the case reference. You will find this number stamped on the inside of the case back. Like you will find 145.0022 on the inside of case backs with watches that have reference 3570.50 for example. We hope it is clarified now.
First Speedmaster with Sapphire crystal
You might know about the other gold Speedmaster Professional from 1980 (we covered it here), that was the first Speedmaster with a sapphire crystal in the case back. Well, this 1992 limited edition of 999 pieces was the first Moonwatch to have a sapphire crystal fitted on the front side. It is a very nice box crystal, that doesn’t magnify the dial like a Hesalite (plexi) crystal does but still gives the Speedmaster a vintage look & feel.
This Speedmaster Professional Jubilee 27 CHRO C12 reference 3691.50 came with a very nice wooden box, with a sliding mechanism for opening and closing it. The inside was made of this green velvet (like) material. A cool package that came with a small hardcover book on the Speedmaster, as you can see below. The warranty card was placed inside an extra green velvet (like) pouch.
Besides the already mentioned calibre 863 movement, which is basically a calibre 861 movement with a finish that’s a bit more pleasing for the eyes (and in yellow gold colour), this watch has of course an 18-carat yellow gold case, yellow gold baton hands, a yellow gold crown and pushers and a closed gold case back with special engraving. Besides the ‘standard’ Flight-Qualified engraving, you will find the unique number (of 999 pieces) engraved in the case back bezel.
The black dial has snailed subdials surrounded by gold rims. The gold hour markers are applied and you will find a luminous dot at the end. These are tritium, so little chance they still do their job properly.
The 27 CHRO C12 reference 3691.50 came on a black leather strap. The one we have here doesn’t have the original strap anymore, but at least it still has the 18-carat gold Omega signed buckle from 1992.
Gold is Hot
The owner of this Omega Speedmaster Professional Jubilee 27 CHRO C12 Reference 3191.50 is a friend of this magazine, and some of you might recognize his watch from our Instagram feeds (or at least my personal feed @rjbroer) as we did a little video on opening the box. After a long search, the owner of this watch found this stunning gold Jubilee 27 CHRO C12 Reference 3191.50 for sale and decided to make an offer. He was longing for a gold Speedmaster for quite a while, as he feels that besides having a stainless steel Speedmaster Professional (or a few of them), owning a gold version is something special. And I can relate to that, as having one myself as well, it is a watch based on the common ‘every day’ steel Speedmaster Professional, yet the precious metal makes it indeed precious. Something for special occasions, or simply to celebrate the Moonwatch in a very nice way.
Whatever it is, rocking a gold Moonwatch is something that might not be as far away from reality as it seems. Yet. Since most people are after a steel model, perhaps a vintage one or perhaps one of the steel limited edition models, a gold Speedmaster Professional can be still had around the €10.000 mark. That is still a lot of money, but compared to some of its competition in gold, or one of the steel vintage Moonwatch models, it is not that crazy, at all.