Omega Speedmaster Moonphase Co-Axial Master Chronometer Chronograph - Baselworld 2016
On one side, Omega are slowly rewinding the film of their history (I am referring to the Omega Speedmaster CK2998 Limited Edition and to the First Omega in Space Sedna Gold), but on the other side, with the launch of their Omega Speedmaster Moonphase Co-Axial Master Chronometer Chronograph, they are also re-writing the history of industrial watch-making. Take a Speedmaster Co-Axial Chronometer, choose the version with blue dial and bezel and replace the majestic 9300 caliber with the new 9904/9905 caliber; here is your new Omega Speedmaster Moonphase Co-Axial Master Chronometer Chronograph. The term “Master” summarizes the achievement of a new certification and the first and only entirely anti-magnetic movement ever crafted in the history of horlogerie.
The Omega Speedmaster Moonphase Co-Axial Master Chronometer Chronograph is the natural evolution of the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Co-Axial Chronograph, followed by the Dark Side and Grey Side Of The Moon with a zirconium-oxide-made-case, a gained challenged and the four ceramic-made-Speedmaster-timepieces that were presented at the 2015 Baselworld event. The 2016 evolution of this watch features a brand new innovation inside its asymetric case, it is the first chrono that was ever awarded the METAS certification, the new standard that has replaced the COSC certification. Those of you who are familiar with this type of certification will also know that it also comes with some cons, since it is solely awarded based on a watch's movement rather than on a watch's entirety.
The METAS cerfication, whose testing standards have been described in our Globemaster article and can also be found on the Omega website (please visit this URL), focus on a movement's total anti-magnetic properties. This new certification was also the excuse that Omega used to create a new relationship with their clientele, a generational shift that is as important as the technological innovation that the manufacturer has devised.
The 9904 caliber, a moon-phase-chrono, was exclusively projected to abide by the rules of the synodic cycle that equals 29.5 days, this is only the beginning of a developmental cycle that will see the addition of more complications on an anti-magnetic caliber that Omega have managed to industrialize in record time and add to all their collections in less than a year's time.
Some years after the launch of the first Planet Ocean featuring this new technology, the Omega Speedmaster Moonphase Co-Axial Master Chronometer Chronograph is the first Speedmaster equipped with a Liquidmetal-made-bezel sporting a tachometric scale and it is the first Moonwatch equipped with the moon-phase complication where the moon represented is the miniature of a very high definition picture. If you take a closer look at this photo, you will notice the image of the first human step set upon the satellite, the “Sea of Tranquility” as it was re-named by the American astronauts of the Apollo 11 spaceship. The only characteristics that have not been re-edited on this timepiece are the 44.25mm case, a size above limit for a Speedmaster, the original propeller-shaped-lugs and the double-glass-box sapphire crystal that is present both on the dial and on the case back.
By taking a look through the sapphire crystal, you can view the new 9904 (or 9905) caliber, the natural heir to the in-house-built 9300 caliber. The new movement is built up of 368 parts, it is equipped with a Co-Axial escapement mechanism and it has an above-15,000-Gauss magnetic-field-resistance (15,000 Gauss is the highest magnetic value that can be technically measured using today's existing instruments) but, most of all, it is the first chronograph in the world that has been awarded the METAS certification and it is guaranteed up to 4 years.
Does it mean that this is the end of the COSC certification era? Unless the Swiss institute is currently trying to come up with an alternative to the METAS certification and it has entered a partnership with another body to develop something new, I reckon that its industrial end is nearing while we will have to wait a bit longer to witness its commercial demise. The two mainspring barrels allow the Si14 balance spring to oscillate at a frequency of 4Hz or 28,800A/h, they also guarantee up to 60 hours of power reserve and make this timepiece water-resistant up to 100 metres.
Omega have strived to maintain a neat and easily recognizable Speedmaster dial, despite the colours and materials variations that add to a two-register-chrono-layout. This pattern might look like something still new to the owners of timepieces featuring a 321 caliber with a NATO strap to which a “pointer date” feature and a moon-phase-complication have been added.
You should try not to look for that same spirit in the new Omega Speedmaster Moonphase Co-Axial Master Chronometer Chronograph, since this chrono is deliberately rich, imposing and technically opulent. Omega have decided to launch five versions of this timepiece. In my opinion, the most interesting ones are the Sedna-gold-version with its white dial and the platinum version issued in 57 pieces only that sports a moon-grey dial and a contrasting red-Liquidmetal-ceramic-made-bezel. The retail price of this watch totals around 60,000euro, this is the most expensive Master Chronograph that Omega have currently for sale and, probably, the most successful one in their entire collection too. The Liquidmetal-made-bezel is crafted in a wonderful purple-red-hue and the two platinum moons are perfectly contrasting with the gold-made disc that is also hand-enamelled.
On this Omega Speedmaster Moonphase Co-Axial Master Chronometer Chronograph, complications, innovation and style seem to have squared the circle, but it is probably the third spatial dimension measuring 16,85mm that Omega could somehow improve. This timepiece will land in the Omega boutiques in October, the starting retail price will total 9,500 euro and even a version with a steel bracelet will be available.
(Photo credit: Horbiter's proprietary photo-shooting by Entropik)
Matteo Bulla @Horbiter