In 1957, Omega – catering to the growing demand for tool watches – released a “trinity” of what was intended as daily beater tool watches and back then, that’s exactly what it was.
The Seamaster 300, reference CK 2913, intended for divers.
The Railmaster, CK 2914, intended for engineers working in environments, where the exposure to strong magnetic fields would mess up a watch without proper shielding.
And the Speedmaster, reference CK 2915, initially a part of the Seamaster collection, intended as a watch for…well, just about everyone who would need a rugged chronograph on a daily basis, but – in the first place – for racing drivers.
On many occasions, I’ve seen people ask about the Omega Speedmaster sizes. Usually in terms of the “will it fit” conundrum.
“42mm, that’s too big, I’ll go for the FOiS (First Omega in Space, a reinterpretation of the CK 2998 design) it’s smaller.”
Ummm, well, that’s not really correct. Let’s have a look at why is that so.
During all the time I’ve spent at watch forums, I’ve encountered quite a lot of questions concerning the Speedmaster.
Most just keep repeating, so I’ve decided to create a short guide to them (well, to some of them).
- Can the running seconds be hacked on a Speedmaster Pro?
- What’s the deal with the NASA’s approval for the Speedmaster’s use for space flights and EVA (extravehicular activity)?
- Can a Speedmaster be taken swimming?
- Where to service a vintage Speedmaster, at Omega or an independent watchmaker?
- Which is a better choice, the sapphire crystal version, or the hesalite?
- Is it OK to pay more than the manufacturer’s suggested retail price for a limited edition?
In 1959, the short-lived (2 years in production) original Speedmaster reference, the CK 2915, got something of a makeover. The result was the reference CK 2998, currently the second most desirable vintage Speedmaster.
Powered by the calibre 321, it was – just as the 2915 – intended as a watch for drivers (racing drivers included), and marketed as such.
With its dashboard instruments inspired dial, clean and uncluttered, it was a very appealing design. Appealing enough to a US Navy pilot, captain Walter Schirra, who in 1959 became a part of NASA’s very first manned space flight program, the Project Mercury.
In 1962, Schirra’s own CK 2998 accompanied him on an almost 10 hours of the Mercury-Atlas 8 mission, when aboard the Sigma 7 Schirra orbited the Earth 6 times.
In 1967, the reference 105.012 has been replaced with the 145.012.
Nearly identical to its predecessor, it was in production for two years, from 1967 to 1968.
It was the last Speedmaster to be equipped with the column wheel cal. 321 (Lemania CH27 C12), prior to the introduction of the cal. 861, a cam-switching movement built on the same baseplate.