Squaring the circle! The Omega Speedmaster 57 Co-Axial Chronograph Broad Arrow
Last weekend I spent the perfect typical “watch nerd” Saturday in Milan by browsing various watch boutiques located between Via della Spiga and Via Montenapoleone, some sort of a Disneyworld resort for watch enthusiasts, who can spend hours and hours looking at different types of watches (hand-made, supercomplicated or simple three-hand-timepieces), whose cost ranges between 5,000€ and 500,000€. Whatever type of watch you might be looking for, this is definitely your ultimate destination. I’m quite a frequent guest at the (new) Omega boutique, since attending its official opening some time ago, when Eugene Cernan and Stephen Urquhart were also present. If you're in search of a special Omega this is where you might be able to find some limited, boutique-only timepieces that are very hard, if not impossible, to find anywhere else.
When I got there, my initial intention was to take a very good look at the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Moonphase Aventurine dial that was launched some years ago (either in 2011 or in 2012 If I'm correct), a limited production and an interesting take on the Speedmaster Moonwatch Moonphase, which was available on the official Omega catalogue for a while before completely disappearing. As hilarious as it might sound, during my visit I actually discovered the new release from the Speedmaster '57 collection that immediately superseeded my curiosity for the Aventurine (a timepiece that I will also review very soon.)
The Omega Speedmaster 57 Co-Axial Chronograph Broad Arrow with vintage SuperLuminova has just recently hit the market worldwide but, as it usually goes for most brands, the place, where the product is released to the mass market is actually the brand's boutique. When Omega launched the new Speedmaster 57 collection, I sensed that it had two ideas in mind: the first one was to reinterpret a classic timepiece from its archives, the very first Speedmaster produced in 1957 and featuring a column wheel mechanism and a superb caliber, the second idea was to raise the bar of its offering even further.
This collection has been around for a couple of years now but, if in the past Omega had mainly applied the clues of the original Speedmaster 1957 dial (and bezel) to a Moonwatch, whereas with this new one, and especially with this new version, the manufacturer has turned a page in its history and has adopted what was still missing in the first modern re-editions: the symmetrical case (straight long lugs and unprotected chrono push piece buttons) and a new in-house caliber to represent the caliber 321's legacy (please see here for our Q&A session with Federico Nolfi describing the caliber 321.)
On top of all the above the Omega Speedmaster 57 Co-Axial Chronograph Broad Arrow now features broad arrow hands and dial and hands filled with Vintage SuperLuminova, one of the last achievements in the lume market. If you take a closer look at this watch you will immediately realize that this collection is a game changer for Omega. The introduction of its newly developed 9300-9301 caliber, which has been fully conceived in-house, along with a new style and an enhanced perceived quality, make this watch stand out among all of today's Omega products.
The Omega Speedmaster 57 Co-Axial Chronograph Broad Arrow represents a tremendous improvement over anything that the brand has recently produced and is a serious competitor for any other manufacturer. First of all, the style is very consistent: it is 41,5mm wide (a perfect modern size), which is actually a nice size for a two counters chrono. The symmetrical case with straight lugs and the two registers is incredibly balanced, the detailing is superior, the dial is neat and absolutely not crowded at all, with a delicate vintage look. The case and the bracelet (it actually look nicer on this timepiece than on the Omega Seamaster 300) have a perfect aesthetic fit and have no gap in between them. It is the first time that Omega has re-edited the broad arrow on this watch and for a reason: the manufacturer claims that it is a perfect nod to the original 1957 Speedmaster and it is right, but I also think that this timepiece and the vintage SuperLuminova also have been revamped to give this collection that bold personality that was still missing in the previous versions. From an aestethic point of view they looked a bit cold, too perfect but not enough “Omega looking”.
The 9300 caliber looks better here than, for instance, on the Speedmaster Co-Axial Chronograph and if we consider that this is an an industrial high-end timepiece the massive Cotes De Arabesque decoration on the bridges and the winding rotor are an extremelly beautiful feature and a delicate work of art. The view through the case back is satisfying even to the most critic reviewer and, on paper, this watch has all the right technical features to please even the most demanding enthusiast.
On paper this watch has a list of interesting technical features such as the silicon balance spring and the Co-xial escapement, the column-wheel to activate the chrono function and it is certified as a chronometer. It is, however, a bit too thick. It is protected by a slightly curved sapphire crystal and it is as wide as the case itself. The dial has the same recessed counters as the original Speedmaster 57 and the glass is some sort of a sapphire “form box”, which has been treated with an antireflective coating on both sides. Would I buy it? Yes, I would. My review has been quite a positive and passionate one, although this timepiece is priced at 7,400€, quite a high retail price indeed, but if you consider the combination of the product itself, its brand and the overall package it's hard to find something similar and as tempting as this one on the market. Would I change or add something to it? Yes, I would because I'm a bore and I would therefore add a third counter, which would give this great timepiece another touch of perfect vintage look and after buying this Omega Speedmaster 57 Co-Axial Chronograph Broad Arrow I would also buy a nice Cordovan leather NATO strap to go with it.
(Photo credit: Horbiter's proprietary photo-shooting)