Hands-On With The Omega Speedmaster Canopus Gold — The One That Impressed Me Most This Year
We’re approaching the end of the year, and it has been an odd one (again). However, for Speedmaster fans, it was quite interesting. On the one hand, there were no limited editions or special editions this year. On the other hand, Omega introduced to us the new Moonwatch for the coming years, or perhaps even for the next decades. Two of these Moonwatch models are in precious metal. One is in Sedna Gold, Omega’s own rose gold alloy. The other one is in Canopus Gold, Omega’s white gold formulation.
Omega Speedmaster Canopus Gold
The white gold Omega Speedmaster Professional Master Chronometer is on my wrist as I write this article. Together with the platinum Speedmaster with caliber 321, these are the most expensive Speedmasters from the collection. Gold editions of the Speedmaster Professional had been discontinued for nearly a decade, except for a few limited editions. But they’re back in the regular collection in 2021, with this Canopus (white) Gold and the Sedna (rose) Gold versions. Then, there’s the platinum Moonwatch of course, but that I consider a limited version due to the use of the caliber 321.
The new generation Speedmaster Professional models
From the aforementioned watches, I bought the stainless steel Omega Speedmaster Professional Master Chronometer with Hesalite crystal earlier this year, as you can read here. I think that’s the best Speedmaster to own at the moment for a number of reasons. For starters, the design of the Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch Master Chronometer has a lot of design aesthetics from the 1960s. The case is based on the fourth generation Speedmaster, the reference 105.012. The dial and hands are based on watches from that era as well, with the teardrop counterweight on the chronograph second hand and the step dial. The bracelet is a piece of art as well. Loosely based on the reference 1116, it also shows similarities to the 1479 from the 1990s.
The next big reason why I think this is the best Speedmaster to own is the movement. The Omega caliber 3861 already debuted and was used in the Speedmaster in 2019. But it has now found its way to the regular Moonwatch as well. Combined with the price point of €6,200, the current Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch is a watch that should be in anyone’s collection. Whether you’re into vintage watches or modern watches, the new Speedmaster is nearly impossible to dislike.
I’m incredibly happy with my new steel Speedmaster Professional Master Chronometer. However, there’s this other model that impressed me even more. I am talking about the Omega Speedmaster Canopus Gold watch. This white gold Moonwatch looks beautiful, with its silvery dial with a sunburst finish. It’s the same that we’ve seen on previous white gold Speedmaster models. To the untrained eye, it looks like a steel watch with a silvery dial. But the moment you put it on the wrist, you know that it’s not. The weight of the Speedmaster Canopus Gold is a whopping 235 grams. This keeps you constantly aware you are wearing something precious.
The white gold alloy that Omega dubbed Canopus is not new. Well, at least it’s not new anymore. Omega has been using this 18K white gold alloy since 2015. It takes its name from the second brightest star in the sky. Not only is Canopus 71 times bigger than our sun, but it is also 10,000 times brighter. The special alloy that Omega uses — consisting of platinum, rhodium, palladium, and gold — is 100% noble and ensures that its whiteness and brilliance will last. We held it next to a white gold Daytona and white gold GMT-Master II and found the Canopus gold is more gray-ish in tone. The white gold Rolex watches, on the other hand, still had a bit of yellow in there.
Compared to the stainless steel Speedmaster Master Chronometer
The iconic Moonwatch comes, of course, with a black dial and white hands. The Speedmaster Canopus Gold has a silvery-white dial, and that gives the watch a completely different look. It’s unmistakably a Speedmaster, but just not the classic black dial. The case design and dimensions, the black aluminum bezel inlay, and the bracelet design are identical to the steel Moonwatch. It’s the weight and hue of the precious metal that make the difference. Inside, we find the same 3861 movement. This movement is rhodium-plated, perfectly matching the white gold case and bracelet.
I’ve seen some people in the past swap their black dial and white baton hands for a silvery-white Speedmaster dial from a gold model and the accompanying hands. Only a few people will notice it is not the white gold model, I guess. However, white gold is quite different from steel when you compare it side-by-side. And there’s the weight difference, of course. In the end, it is very much about the experience of wearing a (white) gold watch. It’s not so much about the dial color itself.
Comparing the Speedmaster Canopus gold with the Speedmaster Moonshine
One of the watches I wear the most in my collection is the yellow gold Speedmaster Professional Moonshine, made for the Apollo 11 50th anniversary. At 220 grams, it’s not lightweight either. I’ve been asked several times what I think of the Speedmaster Canopus Gold. I’ve been asked if I prefer it over my Speedmaster in Moonshine Gold. But the experience of wearing a yellow gold watch is quite different than wearing white gold one. Yellow gold is much more “out there” and is often a conversation maker, especially with the Speedmaster. The Speedmaster Canopus gold is a stealthier watch, and only the wearer will basically know that it’s something precious. It is therefore a bit difficult to compare the Speedmaster Canopus Gold to the Moonshine Gold.
However, what I do like better about the Speedmaster Moonshine Gold is that it has so many interesting details. The solid gold dial, the onyx markers, the burgundy ceramic bezel, and of course the case back with its little piece of lunar meteorite. Last but not least, the caliber 3861 in the Moonshine is slightly different from the movement in the steel and Canopus Speedmaster. The bridges and plates of the caliber 3861 inside the Speedmaster Moonshine are yellow gold-plated, while the Speedmaster Canopus Gold (and steel) watch has a rhodium-plated movement.
Wearing the Omega Speedmaster Canopus Gold
I’ve been wearing the Omega Speedmaster Canopus Gold for a while now, and it gives me the same excitement as it did when we had one in our office in January 2021. Even now that the “novelty” aspect is gone, it is still something special to wear. A white gold Speedmaster is rare in itself. Since 1980, Omega has made a number of them in this precious metal, but they were always a limited or special editions. This Omega Speedmaster Canopus Gold is part of the regular collection, but I can imagine that it will not be in stock everywhere. I’ve owned a Speedmaster Professional Moonphase with silvery dial, and I do own the Speedmaster Silver Snoopy Award with a white dial. There’s just something special about a Speedmaster with a light-colored dial.
The same applies to the Speedmaster Canopus Gold. I am happy Omega chose a silvery-white over black. It’s the one thing I don’t fancy when it comes to the Speedmaster in Sedna Gold, for example. The appearance of the Speedmaster Canopus Gold is fresh and goes with light and dark clothing, for example. I don’t own a watch in white gold (yet), but the hue is quite different from a steel Speedmaster Professional. The Speedmaster Canopus edges toward more of a gray color, rather than a typical metal/steel color.
The Speedmaster Canopus Gold is a little bit heavier than even the Speedmaster Moonshine, at 235g versus 220g (all links included), and this is definitely noticeable. I don’t mind wearing a heavy watch, and I like the fact that it is heavy due to the material, not just its dimensions. It’s kind of logical some big watches in steel are heavy, but a small(er) watch that is as heavy (or heavier) than a larger steel watch, is always somewhat impressive.
The bracelet on this Speedmaster Canopus Gold is similar to the one on the stainless steel Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch Master Chronometer. The clasp width is 15mm (instead of the 14mm clasp on the Moonshine edition). It is a real pleasure to wear this bracelet, compared to the previous generation that was introduced in 1996 and in production till 2020. It tapers from 20mm and that gives it a more elegant look. The clasp has no micro-adjustment other than an additional pin position, so you need a little tool or wooden toothpick to adjust it yourself. But, and I believe I am one of the very few here, I don’t care much about the easy adjustment clasps. I have a few bracelets that can be adjusted by pushing a button and then sliding a piece of a link in or out, but I very rarely use it.
Some people think that if it’s possible or available, the watch should have any upgrade the brand can muster. But I don’t necessarily agree with that thinking. I’m fine with modern solutions and upgrades, but only if they don’t sacrifice the design. If greater ease of adjustability means that the clasp gets bigger and bulkier, I actually would rather not have this feature. However, the Speedmaster Chronoscope has a similar-looking clasp to the one on the Speedmaster Professional series, and it has this easy adjustment system. Omega’s CEO Raynald Aeschlimann told me that this will become available for the Speedmaster Professional as well in the future, but as of right now, there’s been no date given.
The retail price of the Omega Speedmaster Canopus Gold reference 310.60.42.50.02.001 is as impressive as its weight. It retails for €45,100 (incl VAT) / $45,300 (excl VAT) / CHF45,100 (incl VAT). You can also buy it on the leather strap, which drastically affects the price, of course. The reference 310.63.42.50.02.001 with leather strap and Canopus gold folding clasp is €30,200 (incl VAT) / $30,400 (excl VAT) / CHF30,300 (incl VAT). For more information, visit the Omega website.