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The new Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch 2021 in detail

The new Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch 2021 in detail

Nils Rau

On the 5th of January 2021, Omega presented one of the year's highlights with the latest generation of the Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional. Thanks to calibre 3861, the new Moonwatch features a Co-Axial escapement for the first time. Omega has also made some minor and major design changes to the Moonwatch 2021. We have everything you need to know.

The long-awaited update comes with the new Moonwatch

The rumour mill surrounding the launch of the new Moonwatch has been bubbling for about a year. While the delivery situation of the previous Moonwatch gradually tightened and leaked photos of the new Moonwatch circulated on the web in December 2020, it is now certain that the Biel-based manufacturer has climbed another successful rung on the evolutionary ladder with the new Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional.

As before, the Moonwatch will be available as a Hesalite version with a closed case back and as a sapphire crystal version with a visible case back, optionally with a stainless steel or nylon strap. Moonwatch models will also be available in 18-carat Sedna gold (rose gold) and 18-carat Canopus gold (white gold), with either a precious metal or leather strap.

The new Speedy | Source:
The new Speedy | Source:

Vintage airs with step dial, "dot over 90" bezel and familiar strap

With the Moonwatch 2021, Omega revisits design features from past Speedmaster references. The most striking is the new bracelet which is based on the Ref. 1479 bracelet produced between 1989 and 1996 and tapers from 20 to 15 millimetres. The company has given the clasp a new striped look with six longitudinal grooves; the incorporated Omega logo is inspired by the bracelets of the 1960s and 1970s.

The bezel of the new Moonwatch now again bears a "dot over 90", which was already used in the 1960s. The dot marking 90 on the tachymeter scale is now located above the 90 and no longer to the right of it as before. The central chronograph hand has also been slightly reworked and inspired by earlier versions.

Several innovations can be seen on the dial. Firstly, the Moonwatch 2021 celebrates the revival of the step dial, which has discreet graduation in the area of the inner end of the indices. The first Step Dial was installed in 1964. Additionally, the "Speedmaster" and "Professional" lettering are the same widths.

With the new Hesalite and sapphire crystal references 310. and 310., Omega introduces distinctive design features for the first time. While the Hesalite reference has a logo that remains imprinted and a fully matte strap, the sapphire reference has an applied logo and polished intermediate elements.

Calibre 3861 with Co-Axial Escapement and Hand-Wound Movement

With calibre 3861, the Co-Axial escapement used exclusively by Omega makes its debut in the classic Moonwatch. The usual Co-Axial lettering on the dial has been omitted in favour of the classic appearance. The Co-Axial escapement was developed by George Daniels and has been used in Omega models (so far except for the classic Speedmaster) since 1999. The escapement ensures that the friction between the escape wheels is reduced, making the movement lower maintenance.

In addition to the Co-Axial escapement, calibre 3861 has all the watchmaking achievements of recent years. The Moonwatch 2021 is now certified as a Master Chronometer and maintains the required rate accuracy of +0/+5 seconds per day as well as magnetic field resistance of up to 15,000 gauss, the latter thanks to the Si14 silicon balance spring used. The power reserve of calibre 3861 is 50 hours, two hours more than was the case with the predecessor calibres 1861 and 1863. Another new feature is the stop-seconds mechanism, which allows the time to be set to the second.

Last but not least, calibre 3861 is still a hand-wound calibre. The Moonwatch thus retains one of its most important and traditional characteristics, along with the Hesalite crystal.

Omega Caliber 3861 | Source:
Omega Caliber 3861 | Source:

"Flight-qualified by NASA in 1965": a small but fine detail?

While the previous Moonwatches bear the words "Flight-qualified by NASA for all manned space missions" on the case back, Omega has added the words "in 1965" to the new Speedmaster. What at first sounds as if Omega had not received NASA certification for the new calibre turns out, on closer inspection, to be historical precision. Only calibre 321 was certified in 1965 and calibre 861 in 1978, to pave the way for space shuttle flights. Calibre 1861 / 1863, which has been in use since 1996, has never received NASA certification. Nevertheless, Omega has inspected and tested this movement as well as the new calibre 3861 according to NASA specifications.

Flagship models in white and rose gold

While full gold was reserved for strictly limited special editions in the Speedmaster collection, Omega is launching two precious metal Moonwatches with the Speedmaster 2021. While the rose gold Sedna Gold version has a black dial, a black bezel and indices and dial lettering that match the gold-tone, Omega has incorporated a black bezel and a silver dial with a sunburst finish in the white gold Canopus Gold Moonwatch. Both models come with a matching gold bracelet in the look of the old Ref. 1479.

Conclusion: better technology, more classic look

What might have been suspected at first glance has been confirmed on closer inspection. The new Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional is a great success. The manufacturer has succeeded in making its traditional watch fit for the future without ignoring the significant history of the Moonwatch or incorporating industry trends into a timeless watch with a re-design.

From a technical point of view, the Moonwatch 2021 combines the current state of the art of watchmaking with the tradition of the Speedmaster. The calibre has all the latest achievements, but can still only be wound by hand. Additionally, the watch does without the usual Co-Axial lettering on the dial. And since calibre 1861 did not receive NASA certification, even horological dogmatists should be able to live quite happily with the new calibre.

As far as the design is concerned, Omega takes up the design of the Ref. ST 105.012 with the new Speedmaster. Nevertheless, the latest reference is not a heritage watch, because Moonwatches have always been far too close to the original references for that. Rather, the new Moonwatch reflects on its design origins with well-considered details, a path that the model has not left in more than 60 years. Well done Omega, a facelift could hardly be more successful.

Discover Now: Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Collection