“Classic with a twist” is an overused expression in the fashion world. But its ubiquity stems from the underlying reasons why its formula is such a success. Most people don’t want to buy anything too outlandish, but nor do they want a cookie-cutter design than makes them look like everyone else. “Classic with a twist” is basically the everyman garment enlivened with a hint of personality. It’s the sober blazer with the flamboyant lining, the tweed pattern where one colour is emboldened in a brighter hue.
The expression is fitting for this watch as long as you accept the fact that “classic” rather undersells things when it comes to the Omega Speedmaster. In the 1960s when NASA were looking for a watch fit for the world’s first astronauts, they bought a range of chronographs from different brands in a bid to find the most reliable. These watches were subjected to the most rigorous trials in the history of horology. The only watch to pass was the Speedmaster and, in 1969, it consequently became the first watch to make it onto the Moon.
That Moonwatch was based on a 1957 piece – the Speedmaster CK2915-1 – which today is sufficiently rare that one sold at a Geneva Auction last for $3.4 million USD. Omega have created new tributes of that watch before, but the Speedmaster ’57 is the latest remix.
Colour is the most conspicuous update for the new Speedmaster ’57 with the black dial of the original perked up with burgundy, blue and green configurations. The rich burgundy is far more accessible than it might initially seem as its textured surface has a matte quality that doesn’t reflect the light. The blue and green options play in a more desaturated zone but balance their muted tones with a brushed sunburst quality. Should you prefer your classic less twisted, well, then there is also a black dial version as well.
The aesthetic configuration of the dial largely conforms to the dual-register layout of the 2013 model, albeit with slightly different hands. But on the wrist, what’s notable is that 40.5mm diameter case has been slimmed right down, making it 3mm thinner than the previous model.
This all stems from the movement that is now just 6.4mm thick. But as this is Omega, the performance isn’t compromised by this skimpier build. The watch is powered by the Co-Axial Master Chronometer Calibre 9906, a manually wound movement with a 60 power reserve. Like all Omega watches, the Speedmaster ’57 boasts METAS certification to ensure timing precision and accuracy as well as resistance to magnetism. But you don’t need to be a watch nerd to appreciate what this means for the watch. The thinner movement enables the slinkier case and makes the watch more wearable than ever before. It also feels a touch more elegant, an effect compounded by the tapered design of the flat-link bracelet – though you can also go for a leather strap that’s coloured to match your choice of dial.
If you don’t have a spare $3 million to bid for the next Speedmaster CK2915-1 at auction, there’s a lot to like about this chronograph. Visually, aside from the colourful dial options, it’s got enough retro cues to appeal to lovers of vintage, while also being internally propelled by the latest horological tech. The Speedmaster may have made it to the moon and back, but it looks like it’s not done yet.