My Favorite Moonwatch Master Chronometer — The Omega Speedmaster Canopus 310.60.42.50.02.001
A few Tuesdays ago, Omega introduced its new Moonwatch Master Chronometer. The drop included the Speedmaster Canopus 310.60.42.50.02.001. 18-karat white gold is not new to Omega’s Speedmaster, but this specific Canopus alloy is. In this article, I take a closer look at the Speedmaster Canopus and explain why it’s my favorite new Moonwatch Master Chronometer.
I showed a picture of the new Speedmaster Canopus side-by-side with my Speedmaster Moonshine on IG and in the #SpeedyTuesday Facebook group. People immediately tend to make their favorite known (a common thing that happens when a picture shows two watches) or ask how one compares to the other. It also makes me think, which one do I like best, and would I have made a different purchase if these two Speedmasters had been introduced at the same time, for example.
Omega Speedmaster Canopus 310.60.42.50.02.001
Before I get into the details of the new Omega Speedmaster Canopus with reference 310.60.42.50.02.001, I believe it is interesting to have a look at what Omega did in the past when it comes to white gold and the Speedmaster model. We all know about that very first yellow gold Speedmaster Professional BA145.022-69 that was presented to the astronauts in November 1969, and the ones that followed from 1980 onwards. But what about the Speedmasters Professional in white gold? Although you may find this surprising, the Speedmaster Canopus is not the first white gold Moonwatch.
White Gold History
The first white gold Speedmaster Professional I came across was when my (now) colleague Gerard bought his Speedmaster Moonphase. That was a 1999 model to commemorate Apollo XI’s 30th anniversary, but it was never marked or engraved as such. That watch was — and still is — a pretty impressive chunk of 18kt white gold. Later on, I learned that there were more Speedmaster models in white gold, the first being the 1980 BC345.0802 (pictured below). Only 20 pieces were made as a tribute to the qualification of the Speedmaster for the Space Shuttle missions.
The other Speedmaster Professional in white gold that perhaps comes very close to the Canopus, is the 1994 chronometer-certified reference 3192.30. Pictured above with a strap, but also available on a bracelet. We wrote about this chronometer-certified version in this Speedy Tuesday article. It was powered by the caliber 864, a rhodium version of the caliber 863, but certified by COSC. Only 500 of those were produced.
And now, there’s the Omega Speedmaster Canopus. Not a limited edition, but as part of the regular Speedmaster collection. You can wonder if this watch will ever become regular, given its price point, of course. When Omega delivered the new Speedmasters to us for review, this white gold model caught my attention right away. And I wasn’t alone. Both Jorg and Bert agreed it is the one to have.
The weight (235 grams) only comes to play when you put it on the wrist, but it certainly adds a bit of magic to it. My Speedmaster Moonshine weighs a bit less, with its 210 grams (I took out a few links, at full length, it should be around 220 grams). Compared to the Speedmaster in steel, with a weight of 135 grams, it is quite a difference. That said, the Speedmaster Canopus is definitely wearable. I had the pleasure to try the platinum Speedmaster Moonphase models (on a bracelet, but Omega later decided not to produce these) and those were in the ballpark of 500 grams. You can wonder whether that’s comfortable to wear.
A lot of questions have been addressed to us (after this introductory article and our video on Youtube) about the canopus alloy. This alloy consists of white gold (75%), palladium, platinum, and rhodium. Omega does not wish to disclose the exact percentages, but the percentage of palladium is very substantial. This material is costlier than white gold, whereas platinum seems to be cheaper today.
We’ve been asked why the Speedmaster Canopus (with a retail price of €45,100) differs so much from the full Sedna (rose) gold reference 310.60.42.50.01.001 model (which retails at €34,600). Omega’s official response is that gray precious metals are more expensive to process and that the composition of Canopus is more expensive in general. In the end, you can wonder if it really matters when it comes to these price tags. It remains to be a matter of preference, and perhaps this also makes the Speedmaster Canopus more exclusive. There’s always the Speedmaster Canopus 310.63.42.50.02.001 on a leather strap, of course, with a retail price of €30,200.
In this article about all details on the new Speedmaster Moonwatch Master Chronometer (compared to the now discontinued Moonwatch), I explained a lot about the caliber 3861. In essence, this Speedmaster Canopus shares the same technical specifications as the Speedmaster Master Chronometer Moonwatch models in stainless steel. The only difference? Lashings and lashings of sweet, white gold.
The movement is the same though, unlike the 3861 used in the Moonshine gold version in 2019. That one had a gold plated finish, as you can see here. When it comes to finishing, the caliber 3861 is a step forward compared to the 1861 and 1863 calibers previously used. As you can see in the picture below, angled bevels, Côte de Genève, and circular graining, it is all there.
Caliber 3861 is a Master Chronometer certified movement, meaning it has to pass 8 specific tests performed in the Omega manufacture, closely monitored by METAS. This is of course, after casing the chronometer-certified (by COSC) movement. These tests include a shock test (5000g), anti-magnetic to at least 15,000 gauss, and a bunch of accuracy tests, also measured with low power reserve. In the end, a Master Chronometer watch needs to stay within the +5 and 0 seconds per day range (on average), so no slow running watches. In this podcast, you can hear more about the topic, as I discuss Master Chronometer watches with Omega’s VP of Production and Procurement Mr. Hobmeier.
Dial and Bezel
The Omega Speedmaster Canopus watch has a silvery step-dial with a sun-brushed finish. That makes it slightly different from the stainless steel watches. The step dial is there though, but on the Canopus, you will also find applied gold hour markers (instead of printed) and white gold hands. It seems some people are a bit disappointed that there’s no ceramic (or ceragold) bezel on this Speedmaster. The gold bezel has an aluminum inlay, just as you would find on the steel models. It does have the dot-over-ninety, of course. Is that a bad thing? I wouldn’t have minded a ceramic bezel on the watches with a sapphire crystal, as I stated in this video. But to me, this wouldn’t be a dealbreaker either.
Speedmaster Canopus versus Moonshine
Now, what if I had the funds to purchase the Speedmaster Canopus. Or what if it had been available at the same time as the Speedmaster Moonshine? Which one do I prefer? I have been wearing the Speedmaster Moonshine since March 2019, and it is probably one of my most worn watches ever since. The two watches have a lot in common, like the caliber 3861 (even though the Moonshine version has a gold plated finish) and similarities between the bracelets.
The new Speedmaster bracelets are based on the Moonshine bracelet. There is a difference of 1 mm in the width of the clasps. The clasp on the Moonshine model measures 14mm in width. Meanwhile, the new Speedmaster Canopus, Sedna, and steel ones measure 15mm in width. The bracelet was inspired by Omega’s back catalog. The DNA of references 1116 and 1479 can be clearly seen here.
What I love about the Moonshine, is that there are more details in there. It is a tribute to the original Speedmaster Apollo XI in gold from 1969, and it stayed very true to that model. There’s the solid gold dial, the onyx markers on the dial, and the burgundy bezel inlay. Interestingly enough, for the Moonshine watch, Omega chose to use a ceragold bezel instead of aluminum. What I love about the new Speedmaster Canopus, is that it is a very stealthy watch.
Only those in the know will see it is made of white gold. Better still, it has all the proper Moonwatch ingredients like the 4th generation Speedmaster case, DON bezel, step-dial, hand-wound chronograph movement, etc. In the end, though, I would still take my Speedmaster Moonshine gold watch. I love the details that Omega put in there. While it is perhaps a bit of a bold statement, it feels at home on my wrist. I believe it is better than the original Speedmaster Apollo XI in gold. And that’s a watch that had been my grail for a very long time. The Speedmaster Canopus did not change that.
It does look good on me though…
Price and Availability
As indicated above, the Omega Speedmaster Canopus 310.60.42.50.02.001 retails for €45,100 (including 21% VAT). The version on leather strap (310.63.42.50.02.001) is priced at €30,200. It is not a limited or special edition model and will be in the regular Omega Speedmaster collection. The watch is already delivered to certain markets. However, it might take a while before production is up to speed, and boutiques and authorized dealers have them in their hands.
More information can be found via Omega online.