At the Baselworld 2014 event, the Swiss watchmaking house has presented its Omega Speedmaster Mark II 1969 Reissue (ref. 318.104.22.168.06.001) automatic chronograph. The model was designed in the same style as the iconic Speedmaster chronograph that first went on sale 45 years ago. It looks like the number of great watches inspired by the great decade is going to get yet another worthy member.
Of course, unlike those small watchmaking brands that can find four dozens of NOS movements, make the same number of watches and sell them as an ultra-limited edition at a nice premium, Omega is too large for such tricks: they sell their products by hundreds of thousands and need a good supply of reliable and easy to service movements. Preferably, their own.
That’s why the “reissue” model is offered with Omega’s relatively new Co-Axial caliber 3330 high-grade automatic movement that also powers a number of their other chronos, those including the gorgeous 2012 Speedmaster Racing Chronograph.
Unlike the original hand-wound Caliber 861 that powered the 1969 model, the new mechanism offers such nice features as Si14 silicon balance spring, which is both extremely lightweight and antimagnetic, and a column-wheel chronograph module. The movement is also certified as a chronometer by the local COSC authority that ensures not only its high accuracy but also top quality of all of its components.
Thanks to the new movement, the watch has also received a small calendar window, which is located at 6 o’clock.
As you can see on the pictures, the watch will be released in a number of versions. While the monochrome models look the most versatile, it the one that mimics the sporty Racing Professional Exotic Orange model (pictured above and below) that looks the most appealing to yours truly thanks to its flashy bright orange color accents that look especially handsome with its grey dial providing it with the necessary level of contrast that one can expect from a true sports watch.
As usual for the brand, they have added a nice touch to the timekeeper’s design: its tachymeter scale, which is placed on a black outer ring above the sapphire crystal is ‘backlit’ by a layer of Superluminova generously applied on a second aluminum ring beneath it. Although it looks a bit like a gimmick to me (these days, tachymeter scales serve nothing, but purely decorative purpose), it is still a nice gimmick: something that makes this beautiful reissue a bit more special.
In its press release, Omega doesn’t say a word about the chronographs dimensions, but if it is anything close to the original 1969 model, then its tonneau-shaped body should measure around 41 or 42 millimeters* in diameter: an ideal size for a sporty watch of this pedigree.
With its price of just over $6200 USD, buying one of these is almost a no-brainer: it is more than competitive taking into account its unusual styling and the great mechanism that powers it.
UPDATE: The Swiss brand has finally released official specs of the timekeeper including its physical dimensions. According to the company’s website, the watch is going to measure 42.4 mm in width (well, I almost nailed it) and 46.2 millimeters from lug to lug. To my taste, it is a bit over the top -even for a sporty timekeeper- with the Mark II 1969 consuming almost all width of a normal wrist, but the size of this thing is still reasonable: after all, its whole styling suggests that this is a massive, rock-solid time measuring device that was designed for space exploration and stratospheric flights.
Build quality: 5/5
Value for money: 5/5
Omega Speedmaster Mark II 1969 Reissue (ref. 322.214.171.124.06.001) specification
Price: $6250 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, Co-Axial caliber 3330, in-house, COSC chronometer, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 31
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 52 hours
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, chronograph
Case and Bezel: Stainless steel, polished and brushed
Bezel shape: Round
Dial: Black or Grey
Hour markers: Luminous
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Brushed stainless steel bracelet, extendable fold-over rack-and-pusher clasp
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective