Some expected a new Speedmaster Speedy Tuesday in BaselWorld, but instead Omega surprised us with a number of other Speedmaster novelties. The Apollo 8, a Speedmaster Moonphase Master Chronometer in blue ceramic with Aventurine dial and three variations of those in full platinum. More about those later, because first I want to shed the light on the new Speedmaster CK2998 Pulsometer that they released for this year. This watch is based on the original CK2998 reference that was introduced in 1959 and is the 2nd generation Speedmaster. It was in production up to 1962 and succeeded by the 105.002 and 105.003.
Exactly 6 years ago, I introduced you to the Speedmaster First Omega in Space model. A very popular model, influenced by the original CK2998 reference that astronaut Wally Schirra wore during his Sigma 7 flight on the 3rd of October 1962. In 2015, Omega released this model in the stunning Sedna gold material, with a panda dial. Then, two years ago, in 2016, Omega introduced another variation on the CK2998 theme, the blue panda dial version in stainless steel.
Now, in 2018, it is time for another variation on the theme with this limited edition Omega Speedmaster CK2998 Pulsometer with panda dial, red second hand and black ceramic bezel. This watch will be limited to 2998 pieces, world wide.
The new Omega Speedmaster CK2998 Pulsometer we have here today has reference number 3126.96.36.199.02.001 and has the same specifications as the previous CK2998 in blue. That said, aside from the color scheme, the main difference is in the bezel. The new Speedmaster CK2998 Pulsometer has a bezel with a different scale than the usual tachymeter one. With a pulsometer bezel, you will be able to measure the heart rate of someone. It was considered a useful tool for medical staff, as it allowed them to quickly measure the heart rate of a patient by using the pulsometer scale on the dial or bezel. You often find the pulsometer scale in 15 heart beats, and sometimes in 30, like this new Speedmaster CK2998 Pulsometer. Feel your pulse, start the chronograph and count 30 heart beats. Then you stop the chronograph and read the pulsations scale on the bezel where the large red chronograph second hand stopped. My own pulse is 65 today.
What Omega has mastered in the last few years, is their eye for detail. A pulsometer was an option for Speedmasters since the early 1960s. A useful piece of equipment for doctors, but more of a gimmick today. Although the eye for details is amazing with Omega, this pulsometer bezel has a 30 pulsations scale instead of a 15 pulsations scale as the historic ones were. These are hard to come by these days, if original at all. Of course, more details on this limited edition Speedmaster CK2998 Pulsometer can not be found back in the original CK2998 model. There never was a panda dial for this reference nor was there a red second hand etc. No, the CK2998 models these days are inspired by the original CK2998 reference and are more of a ‘lifestyle’ piece than Speedmasters for the vintage collector. Nobody denies that, I can’t imagine Omega would be aiming at this audience with these watches as well. It is just a very beautiful watch with some great vintage elements, for people who like this kind of style. I think this has been the case for the Speedmaster First Omega in Space in 2012, the Sedna gold Panda, the blue ceramic CK2998 and this new model as well. I believe that it is in this way you should see this watch, not as a ‘retro’ model for the original CK2998. Last year’s Speedmaster 60th anniversary was a bit different of course. That reference respected a lot of specifications from the original first generation Speedmaster, the CK2915 (1957-1959). That’s a watch that three of our team bought (being Speedmaster collectors) for example, while none of us has one of the CK2998 inspired models. I acknowledge hereby that we belong a bit to the nerd camp, but I can see the attraction in the Speedmaster CK2998 Pulsometer for sure.
Although last year’s Speedmaster 60th anniversary edition looks very similar to the CK2998 models, it actually has slightly different case dimensions. The 60th anniversary shares the exact case dimensions as the original CK2915 (38.6mm diameter).
In the picture above you will also see that the CK2998 is a more lifestyle dictated watch, it has a flashy caseback with a beautiful bas relief Seahorse on a Clous de Paris-like motif whereas the Speedmaster 60th has the stepped caseback with engraved Seahorse.
Further with the Speedmaster CK2998 Pulsometer: It has the hand-wound Lemania based caliber 1861 movement, like most Speedmaster Professional watches in the collection. The diameter of the case is 39.7mm and it has a sapphire crystal fitted. The black leather strap is very comfortable and has this ‘racing’ perforated decoration. The stitching on top is white, while the back shows red stitching.
The leaf hands are typical for the CK2998 and its vintage counter part. The panda dial is not of course, but it looks great. The red second hand is easy to read and contrasts nicely with the two tone black & (silvery) white dial. Then there’s the applied Omega logo and Speedmaster wording in red.
As written above, this watch is aimed at people who like the looks of the Speedmaster and love these vintage inspired elements. This is not a watch for the die-hard collectors who literally trip over each other during get-together. There is nothing wrong with that either, but you need to understand that these are two different worlds. Worlds that do not necessarily have to collide. Both parties will respect each other, I am pretty sure. What I am also pretty sure about, is that each of the 2998 watches will find a good home. It is a very nicely executed version of the Speedmaster CK2998 theme, and the list price is 5400 Swiss Francs (excluding taxes). The price of the former blue panda model was 5400 Swiss Francs including taxes, but I guess that’s the inflation we have to deal with.
More information via Omega on-line.
Ever since he was a young child, Robert-Jan was drawn to watches, even though it were digital Casio and quartz Swatch models at the time. In the mid-1990s, his interest increased when he started to read about mechanical watches in... read more