Hands-On With The New Omega Speedmaster '57 Co-Axial

As I told you here, Omega had a REALLY strong showing at Basel. Like, shockingly good. How can I tell? Well, I went into the show brimming from ear to ear with the thoughts of nothing but the 50th anniversary of arguably a top three Ben Clymer watch of all time (the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona) and I left thinking not thinking about that at all, and instead "Wow, Omega had not one but THREE awesome chronographs this year". We've already shown you the Dark Side of the Moon - a fully ceramic Speedmaster that despite our purists' hesitation with messin' about with a classic, really works, and the retro Bull-Head here. Now let's talk about the awesome '57 Co-Axial Speedmaster, a watch after our own hearts and one that gives us something we've so long dreamed of in modern Omegas - a caliber 9300 watch UNDER 44mm.
The Omega Speedmaster '57, as Omega itself is calling it, strikes a certain chord with us as vintage lovers. It shares a few of the traits one might find in the original Speedmaster reference 2915-X such as a stainless steel bezel without black aluminum insert that is "base 1000". The case features straight lugs and no crown-guards just like the earlier Speedies. Strangely, Omega chose not to give this watch "broad arrow" hands as was seen on the 1957-1959 Speedmasters, though there is a little arrow action going on in the hour counter at 3 o'clock. Here is a picture of an original 1957 Omega Speedmaser Reference 2915 K for your reference.

Another distinct difference between the new '57 Speedmaster and the original is, of course, the layout of the dial. Certainly thanks to the difference in movements - the original was a manually wound three register Lemania-based movement while this new watch features Omega's excelllent self-winding caliber 9300.

It's a big change to a hard-core watch guy, but i don't believe this 2013 reference '57 Speedmaster is really aimed at the serious vintage guys (unlike last year's "First Omega De Ville Replica In Space" that featured a Lemania manual movement). To me, this watch offers a vintage look without going to hard into watch-nerd territory. One thing that made this obvious to me was the fact that this watch wasn't shown to us only in steel with a black dial like the original Speedmaster (and what we're used to seeing), but also in rose gold, full yellow-gold on a yellow gold bracelet (surprisingly awesome, no lie). two-tone, and even titanium! And in a variety of dial colors! Here she is in full rose gold:
The watch is just fantastic looking in all metals, and the idea of a titanium Speedmaster is really appealing to me, and i'd guess to most tool watch enthusiasts. The brushed bezel really looks great and offers a bit of the vintage look without going too far down that road. Inside this watch is the co-axial caliber 9300 that Blake first reviewed here, and despite the lack of quick-set date, we have nothing but praise for this movement - it features a column-wheel, a silicon balance wheel, and of course, the George Daniels conceived Co-Axial escapement. But, our biggest beef with the new Caliber 9300-based Speedmaster had nothing to do with looks or performance of the watch - it had to do with the size. Up until now, you could only get a Caliber 9300 Speedmaster in a 44.25mm case. That is just too large, in particular for a watch line that appeals to so many purists. Omega is not Hublot, and the Speedmaster should never be the same size as the average Big Bang.

Guess what? That has all changed. The Speedmaster '57 Co-Axial we're showing you here is actually sized SMALLER than your average Speedmaster Professional with manually wound movement. This new automatic is 41.5mm. That means you now have a few size options when buying a Speedmaster, and though 41.5mm is larger than the size of the original 2915 K (38.5mm), it's MUCH more wearable for us normal-wristed folk than the 44mm+ size of the previous caliber 9300 Speedmaster. Here's a look at the sizing options of our four favorite current Speedmasters:

Needless to say, the caliber 9300 in the '57 is the same that sits in the normal Co-Axial Speedmaster, so what you get are much larger (relatively speaking) registers than what you see on the the other Co-Axial Speedmasters. I happen to like the look.

One thing I think might be confusing to some is the name of this watch. The reason is, there are like 900 "1957 Speedmasters". Ok maybe not 900, but at least four or five. There is the watch we're talking about here, the 1957 Broad Arrow (which uses the caliber 3313 - which is a Piguet based movement, though with column-wheel and co-axial escapement), there is the "Speedmaster 1957 50th Anniversary," a limited edition of 1,957 pieces from 2007 using a different Piguet movement and there is the OTHER Speedmaster 1957 50th Anniversary model also from 2007, using the Lemania movement and featuring a gold printed patch on the dial.

Still, the '57 Co-Axial is the newest and perhaps most interesting Speedmaster in this group of 57's. It's automatic and features the best of what omega seamaster Replica has to offer in their caliber 9300, with a great size and modest vintage look. You also have the option of more than a few case materials and dial colors - more than we've shown you here.

Pricing for the Omega Speedmaster '57 Co-Axial should be around $8,000 in steel, $9,000 in titanium, and $30,000 in yellow or rose gold. Two-tone and those on straps should be somewhere in between. These should hit stores in August or September and we highly recommend you take a look. Now, with Omega offering three different incredibly compelling watches using the caliber 9300 (The Speedmaster Co-Axial Chronograph, The "Dark Side Of The Moon", and this smaller '57 Co-Axial), I think replica Tag Heuer Carrera puts up a great argument against just about anyone in the automatic sport-chronograph world. You can read more on the Speedmaster '57 Co-Axial here.

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