Baselworld preview: Omega Speedmaster Automatic

The latest timepiece with a name that has entered the realms of legend

by Tom Roche 11 January 2017

There are some watches that appear, become part of the manufacturer’s catalogue, and then gradually fade away into the vast universe of used timepieces. A few become legends. The Speedmaster is a good example, Omega’s iconic chronograph watch. The undying allure of the Speedmaster is demonstrated by what happened on Tuesday 10 January, starting at midday. A limited edition of the Omega #SpeedyTuesday was put on sale online. Four hours, 15 minutes and 43 seconds later, all the 2,012 pieces had been sold.

That occasion marked an important landmark for Omega. It was the first time that an Omega timepiece could be purchased online. It provided an eloquent testimony to the power of the web community, but also the enduring popularity of the Speedmaster.

The legend continues with the latest Speedmaster Automatic to be presented, a preview of the watch show Baselworld 2017 which begins on Thursday 23 March.

 

low speedmaster automatic diag

 

The new Speedmaster Automatic marks the return of the famous racing dial, with an unmistakable minutes scale incorporating quarter-seconds divisions, first introduced on the 1968 Speedmaster. The right-hand subdial has a totalizer for chronograph minutes and hours, with running seconds on the left. The orange highlights on the dial and strap give the piece a contemporary verve.

The case is 44.25 mm in diameter, a little slimmer than previous versions as a result of a modified sapphire watchglass. The star of the show is the 9300 movement visible through the caseback, with column wheel for chronograph control, and rhodium-plated finish, Côtes de Genève, and red lettering identifying the highlights. The regulator comprises a free-sprung deep black silicon hairspring, and Omega’s co-axial escapement that reduces friction. Power reserve is 60 hours.

There’s no doubt that this piece continues the Speedmaster tradition. It’s large and noticeable, it needs a fair-sized wrist, but the smooth chronograph operation, its good looks, bright luminous paint for visibility in low light intensities, and its impeccable detailing, make it a winner any day. Its reference is 304.32.44.51.01.001.