You’ll no doubt already know all about the Omega Speedmaster. Having gone to the Moon, helped the astronauts of the stricken Apollo 13 mission return to Earth, and inspired the phenomenally popular MoonSwatch, it is one of the most famous watches of all time.
The Speedmaster hasn’t changed much over the decades, but today Omega has announced something very special indeed – a model of Speedmaster powered by a world-first movement with a chiming chronograph.
Let us unpack that. The Speedmaster has always featured a chronograph movement, controlled by a pair of buttons and using the second hand and a sub dial to work like a stopwatch. You can use this complication to time things, like laps of a circuit, and there’s a function for timing individual laps while keeping an overall timer ticking.
Now to the chiming part. Chiming mechanical watches are very rare indeed, and work by striking a gong, or sometimes the inner of the case back, with a hammer once every hour. Like the beep your Casio makes 24 times a day, but rather more complicated in its execution.
But no one has combined a chime with a chronograph movement. Until now that is, as after six years of development, Omega has created the 1932 calibre movement, where two hammers and gongs sat either side of the sub dial in the nine o’clock position each chime independently.
Described by Omega as a mechanical brain, and also the company’s most complicated movement ever launched, the 1932 of the Speedmaster Chrono Chime marks seconds with a high-pitch ring and minutes with a low-pitch ring when the chronometre is active, followed by a musical double ring using both gongs when ten seconds has passed.
As well as the 18k Sadna gold Speedmaster Chrono Chime with 45mm case and 300 metres of water resistance, the new movement is also offered in the vintage-styled Olympic 1932 Chrono Chime with 45mm gold case, leather strap and 30 metres of water resistance. In both instances, the movement has a power reserve of 60 hours.
Both come with an elaborate wooden display case, designed to amplify the chiming sound of the movement when holding the watch. Omega says on the box: “Produced using centuries-old violin-making techniques, the walnut presentation box sounds as good as it looks. Its resonance plate made of spruce, sourced from the Risoud Forest on the border of Switzerland and France, amplifies the precise rhythm, tone, harmony and length of each chime.”
Omega expects to produce only five examples of the 1932 movement each year, and interested buyers are asked to contact Omega boutiques for a price. Ablogtowatch estimates that the watches will be priced between $420,000 and $450,000.