The Best Of The Bunch — Meet The New Omega Speedmaster ’57 In Blue
For the diehards, there’s probably only one Speedmaster — the Moonwatch. However, other Speedmaster variations are available, and this has always been the case since 1969. Whereas the first variations were indicated with Mark 2, 3, 4, or 5 (and even 4.5), later on, we saw Speedmaster Day-Dates, Speedmaster Moonphase watches, and even a (very limited) Speedmaster Perpetual Calendar for the Japanese market. Today, however, we’re looking at the latest Speedmaster ’57 in blue.
Omega Speedmaster ’57
The Speedmaster ’57 is a nod to that first chronograph with an external tachymeter bezel, the reference CK2915. The original was Speedmaster with a steel bezel, straight lugs, broad arrow hands, and the hand-wound Lémania-based movement.
A short-lived model, it was only in production from 1957 to 1959. It saw a brief revival in the late 1990s, making it one of the first Speedmaster re-editions. Omega also brought it back in 2017 for the 60th anniversary of the Speedmaster.
Missing the mark
But wait, there’s more! Back in 2013, Omega introduced a new series of Speedmaster ’57 watches. They were equipped with the in-house-developed automatic caliber 9300 housed in a 41.5mm case. These watches were slightly smaller in diameter than the Speedmaster Professional, but at 16.17mm thick, they were also quite a bit beefier. The thickness of these caliber-9300 powered Speedmasters was and still is an often-heard complaint. In the years that followed, Omega introduced several variations of the Speedmaster ’57, all with a 41.5mm case.
Speedmaster ’57 Co-Axial Master Chronometer — A smaller, thinner case with caliber 9906
Earlier this year, Omega showed us the new generation of the Speedmaster ’57, now housed in a 40.5mm case. And at 12.99mm thick, these new watches are thinner than the Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch. Omega achieved this by using a hand-wound movement, the in-house-developed caliber 9906. This new generation looks to the first Speedmaster from 1957 for its aesthetics but is equipped with the latest technology when it comes to the movement.
Caliber 9906 is a Master Chronometer-certified movement with a Co-Axial escapement. This means it is anti-magnetic up to 15,000 gauss and has an accuracy of +5/-0 seconds per day on average. And since it is a hand-wound movement, it also requires less space inside the case. The power reserve of Omega caliber 9906 is 60 hours.
Speedmaster ’57 dial variations
Omega has introduced the new Speedmaster ’57 in four colors — red, green, blue, and black. The fourth has a sandwich dial with beige Super-LumiNova to give it a vintage look. That version might become the best-selling one, but the color variations are also quite cool.
Blue reels me in
When we had the Omega Speedmaster ’57 watches in our office, I realized I kept returning to the blue-dial version (318.104.22.168.03.001). I have my share of Speedmasters, and the majority have black dials. The classic Moonwatch references, my Speedmaster ’57 3594.50, and the Speedmaster ’57 60th Anniversary from 2017 all have the famous black dial. As I said at the start of this article, the diehards will always pick the classic Omega Speedmaster (Professional) Moonwatch.
But what if you like to have a date indicator or just like the looks of the broad arrow handset? In that case, the blue-dial Speedmaster ’57 could be a fantastic option. It is the one I wore the most, not only because blue is my favorite color, but also because it just popped. Especially in the sun, the dial with its sunburst effect and darker outer rings looks amazing. The blue also contrasts nicely with the steel hands and the steel bezel.
But it is not only a matter of aesthetics. The Omega Speedmaster ’57 also wears fabulously. The 40.5mm case is somewhere between the classic 42mm case and the 39.7mm case of the Speedmaster Calibre 321 in my collection, or even the 38.6mm of the Speedmaster ’57 60th Anniversary/Trilogy watch. The thinner 12.99mm case profile is also fantastic. It lets the watch slide under a cuff with no problem and is such an improvement over the earlier automatic versions of the Speedmaster ’57. Those were nearly as thick as the PloProf!
Although green might be the hot color today, the blue dial did it for me. I am not a big fan of sunburst dials on tool watches, but I am not sure if the Speedmaster ’57 is meant to be a tool watch like the Moonwatch. It’s a rather chic watch that can be worn with anything casual and even more formal attire. The black-dial version (reference 322.214.171.124.01.001) is the only one with a different dial texture, including the sandwich effect (cavities for the hour markers with faux-patina lume).
Omega took care of all the details, despite the Speedmaster ’57 not being a copy of the original 1957 Speedmaster. On the bezel, you will find the typical flat-top “A” in “Tachymeter” as well as the dot over 90. On the dial, there’s the applied Omega logo and the silver-colored broad arrow hands. Although inspired by the original Speedmaster, the rest of the dial is quite different. It features applied hour markers filled with Super-LumiNova, two registers, and a date aperture at 6 o’clock.
In case you don’t know, the sub-dial at 3 o’clock shows the hour and minute counter of the chronograph. The counter at 9 o’clock is for the running seconds. Like the original caliber 321 in the 1957 Speedmaster, the caliber 9906 has a column wheel mechanism. This is something that the current movement (3861) for the Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch lacks. On top of that, the 9906 has a timezone function, allowing you to set the hour hand independently.
As you can guess by now, in my opinion, the blue one is the best of the bunch. It looks ace, especially on the matching leather strap. Blue is the safe color choice, perhaps, whereas green and red are more outspoken and not for everyone. Though this also perhaps depends a bit on your wardrobe, I believe that blue is slightly more versatile.
You can also opt for the flat-link bracelet with an extension in the clasp for an additional €400. And this leads me to the pricing of the new Omega Speedmaster ’57 models. The version on the leather strap is €9,300 (or CHF 8,300). On a steel bracelet, it has a retail price of €9,700 (or CHF 8,600). It’s significantly more expensive than the standard Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch, but it also comes with one of the latest in-house-developed Omega movements. The 20mm leather strap of the Speedmaster ’57 is soft and comfortable and comes with an Omega-signed buckle. As almost always, this Speedmaster also has a water resistance of 50 meters (METAS tests it to +25%, though, if that helps you).
What do you think of the Speedmaster ’57 collection? Would you choose one of these watches instead of a Moonwatch? If so, which color would you go for? Let us know in the comments below.