One of the world’s most buzzworthy movements, Calibre 321, regains its speed: 50 years ago it landed on the Moon an soon was retired but now is coming back
If you ask most watch fans to name a famous movement they’d like to see reborn, you’re bound to hear them mention the Omega Calibre 321. This robust and elegant chronograph movement has been a favourite since the 1940s and is still highly sought-after by watch collectors around the world. Now, more than 50 years after the last Calibre 321 was produced, Omega is bringing the iconic movement back.
Known for its beautifully intricate design, the original Calibre 321 earned a notable place in history. It was used in a variety of models including the Speedmaster ST 105.003 (the model first tested and qualified by NASA and worn by astronaut Ed White during the first American spacewalk) and the Speedmaster ST 105.012 (the first watch worn on the moon).
Reintroducing a movement with such an important reputation must therefore be done with the utmost exactness. For the Calibre 321 project, Omega utilised a dedicated team of experts who worked efficiently over two years and in total secrecy to bring the movement to life. The small group was composed of researchers, developers and historians, as well as the finest craftsmen and experienced watchmakers.
Using the 2nd generation Calibre 321 as a reference, the Omega team compiled extensive historical research and original plans to reconstruct the movement as accurately as possible. Going even further, they also used digital scanning technology to see inside the true Speedmaster ST 105.003 timepiece that astronaut Eugene “Gene” Cernan wore on the moon during the Apollo 17 mission in 1972.
As a result, even the most unique and iconic parts of the Calibre 321 have been reborn in respect to their authentic specifications. The new movements will now go into production at Omega’s HQ site in Bienne. Uniquely, all aspects of creation will be undertaken within a dedicated Calibre 321 workshop. For each movement, the assembly, as well as the watch head and bracelet assembly will be performed by the same watchmaker. But more about that and about other developments and news will follow in the coming months…