It was in 1968 (more than 50 years ago) that Omega stopped production of its Calibre 321 chronograph movement, which had been using since the 1940s. Since it was the very first movement with iconic and highly collectible Speedmaster (which debuted in 1957), Omega watches featured with this iconic and discontinued movement (replaced by the Calibre 861) later increased its value and desirability highly. What’s more, the Omega Caliber 321 is back now more than half a century later, there are no more exciting things than the return of one of the most legendary movements for collectors.
Except for the Speedmaster, the Omega Caliber 321 (which was based on the Lemania CH27) was also used in early Seamaster chronographs, as well as a range of other watches for many years (often under different names), and variations can be found inside celebrated timepieces by Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, and Vacheron Constantin. Because of its prevalence and important position within the history of wrist-mounted chronographs, the Caliber 321 has been choosing as a true icon of mechanical watchmaking by collectors formally.
We all know the most well-known Speedmaster of all time, fitted with an Omega Caliber 321 the first watch worn on the Moon, which makes the movement famous mostly. On the smallish side, but with both guts and grace, the manually-wound movement has 17 jewels, a frequency of 2.5 Hz (18,000 VPN), a power reserve of 44 hours, and features a 12-hour chronograph with running seconds.
Due to it has been endlessly praised on watch forums for many years, resulting in prices of Caliber 321-equipped pieces soared, now Omega has decided to start manufacturing this legendary movement again. Surely, not every fake rolex watch collector geeks out on movements. However, even those who do not can still understand the important position of the replica Omega Caliber 321 to the greater world of mechanical watchmaking.
Omega had to reverse engineer the Caliber 321, which features a monobloc column wheel that is regarded to be more reliable and aesthetically appealing than cam-actuated alternatives, and wonderful technical expertise to be required perfectly. Omega says it took a team of expert watchmakers, researchers, developers, and historians toiling in ‘total secrecy’ under the codename ‘Alaska 11’ to re-create the Calibre 321 more than two years. They used ‘tomography’ technology, a digital scanning method, on one of the more celebrated Caliber 321-equipped watches from the Omega Museum – the Speedmaster ST 105.003 that astronaut Eugene ‘Gene’ Cernan wore on the moon during the Apollo 17 mission in 1972.
Omega President and CEO Raynald Aeschlimann said it’s amazing that so many people are enthusiastic about the Calibre 321, we produced the last piece in 1968 and fans have never stopped talking about it. That shows how precious it is. We’re very proud to finally satisfy their requirements and have tried our best to make the move back perfectly.’ The new movements will now be added to the production lineup in the form of a dedicated Calibre 321 workshop at Omega HQ in Bienne, Switzerland. As of the honest fans, we are really excited that the new movement is back and we are expecting a more handsome and wonderful edition of Omega replica watches!