Omega has reintroduced the Calibre 321. To most watch connoisseurs, its a pleasant hat-tip in the identical vein as heritage re-issues just like the current Omega Trilogy with one essential distinction – the re-introduction of the motion famously utilized by the Omega Speedmaster from 1957 and consequently within the unique Omega Speedmaster Professional aka Moonwatch from 1965 to 1968; to a smaller minority of studious collectors, the revival of this treasured classic calibre harkens again to the 1940s when Lemania labored with the model on the calibre CH27; the ebauche motion which ultimately led to the creation of the 321. At essentially the most critical area of interest of actually nerd-level proportions of watch amassing, the re-launch of the Omega calibre 321 can be a reminder of that superb second in horological historical past when Omega shared its steel coronary heart with two different venerable names in watchmaking – Vacheron Constantin and Patek Philippe. Today, greater than 50 years after the final Calibre 321 was produced, Omega isn’t solely reviving such a beloved, sought-after motion, additionally it is embracing a fair older-school fashion of atelier manufacturing, the place one watchmaker assembles the motion, installs it into the watch-head and completes the timepiece with its bracelet.
Omega embraces Atelier Manufacture with reintroduction of New Calibre 321
Lead by Albert Piguet and Jaques Reymond, Lemania and Omega tailored the bottom Lemania CH 27 for unique use by the Bienne manufacture ensuing within the delivery of the Lemania 2310. This motion was known as Calibre 321 by Omega. It is that this philosophically convergent but architecturally divergent sharing of the bottom Lemania CH 27 throughout manufacturers like Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin and Omega which provides to the provenance of the 321 and aesthetically, the monobloc column wheel, screwed steadiness wheel and signature “wishbone” formed bridge makes this calibre so iconic and recognisable to many watch collectors.
Widely thought to be one of many most interesting motion designs in watch historical past, Lemania 2310 variants have additionally existed within the Patek Philippe 2872, Patek Philippe CH 27-70, whereas the carefully associated 2320 with swan neck regulator and different technical refinements will be discovered within the Vacheron Constantin calibre 1141 (itself upgraded and modified for the current Historique Corne de Vache chronograph) and the Patek Philippe 27-70q. Hence, this distinctive shared historical past makes the return of the calibre 321 a poetic echo of time.
Arguably, an important side of this shared heritage recollects an easier time when a connoisseur may admire the 22mm (12-ligne), three-subdial chronograph calibres and make direct comparisons of the aesthetic signatures and refinements from a number of the business’s most storied manufacturers. In essence, the Lemania CH 27 utilized by Omega, Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin are concurrently comparable and but, dissimilar; giving essentially the most educated collectors a glimpse into simply how totally different a watch model expresses its watchmaking know-how and artistry – most of the elements have been altered by every manufacturers to resemble not one of the unique components discovered within the base calibre and but, sufficient stays just like the the zero-return hammers and chronograph brake, and the most important inform, that iconic wishbone bridge permits one to revel within the ancestral parentage with out taking away the elemental substance of what makes every model sensible of their chosen fields of mastery. For maisons like Patek and Vacheron, they ultimately grew to become recognised for his or her elevated refinement; for Omega, their Calibre 321 of such strong development that it alone had the fortitude to hold the duty of NASA certification, heralding an vital period of house journey for humanity and the delivery of the accompanying Moonwatch.
Durable and adaptable, the unique Lemania 2310 motion used a conventional column wheel to manage its chronograph capabilities however the very important factor (as a result of NASA certification for Calibre 861 which adopted implies that cam-lever or column wheel makes no distinction by way of precision or reliability) which made the Calibre 321 so enduring was that the levers and comes have been lower and formed from thick metal sheet, reasonably than bent from wire like different predecessor chronograph actions. That stated, Omega has not said whether or not the brand new Calibre 321 will comply with the identical competent industrial ending requirements or undertake ornamental finnisage that trendy connoisseurs have grow to be used to in wonderful watchmaking. The unique additionally bore a comparatively low beat screwed steadiness oscillating at 18,000 vph, no phrase if the model intends to vary that. (World of Watches will present updates as we get them).
Using a 2nd era Calibre 321 as a reference, Omega compiled in depth historic analysis and gathered the unique plans to reconstruct the motion. To guarantee absolute perfection in replicating such an important calibre within the Bienne manufacture’s historical past, Omega used “tomography” know-how (digital scanning methodology) to see contained in the true Speedmaster ST 105.003 worn by Apollo 17 Commander Eugene “Gene” Cernan throughout that 1972 mission. He was the final man to stroll on the moon and his Speedmaster is now housed on the OMEGA Museum in Bienne.
The re-birth Omega Calibre 321 was the work of two years and a devoted group of watch specialists, researchers, builders and historians sworn to secrecy and dealing underneath the auspices of a undertaking codename in step with the unique Speedmaster designs for NASA within the 1960s and 70s – Alaska 11. Numerous collectors and business insiders have postulated that the “Alaska 11” undertaking would ultimately energy a brand new Omega Speedmaster watch celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon touchdown.
Of historic word, the motion which powered the unique Moonwatch was additionally utilized in the Omega DeVille and Seamaster collections. No particulars as as to if this new column wheel chronograph would discover its approach again to these editions.