Omega Speedmaster Caliber 321 Ed White Review

Omega Speedmaster Calibre 321 Ed White Steel MoonWatch 311.

Among watch movements, few are more revered than Omega’s Caliber 321. Every true blue watch lover knows that the 321 movement was the one that powered the Omega Speedmaster Professional watches used on the moon. The classic lateral clutch chronograph will forever be in the annals of watch history, not just for its role in the lunar missions, but also for being a prime example of modern chronograph design.

In 2019, Omega resumed production of the Caliber 321, much to the delight of fans. There were a few caveats, though. The modern 321 movement was released as a platinum watch and in a limited edition. Fans had high hopes of a release in steel that wasn’t limited to only a few watches. In 2020, they got their wish. Omega has done just that with the new Omega Speedmaster Caliber 321 Ed White reference 311. They even unveiled this new reference with a bang on the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing, acknowledging the history of the watch.

Omega Speedmaster Calibre 321 Ed White Steel MoonWatch 311.
The new Omega Speedmaster Caliber 321 Ed White Steel Watch (photo: Omega)

The Omega Speedmaster Caliber 321 Ed White ref 311.

The Omega Speedmaster 321 “Ed White” is a watch with a lot of history behind it. Not only did astronaut Edward White wear the original one on his space flight in 1962, but it was also the first watch ever to be worn by someone in space.

The modern Omega Speedmaster 321 “Ed White” reference is a steel-on-steel watch with sturdy, crystal clear sapphire front and back. The design fully embraces the original watch, ref. 105.003, worn by Ed White among other famous entities. The 321 Caliber was first used in a Speedy in 1957 and flew to the moon regularly until the final mission in 1972. The new iteration replicates not only the Caliber 321’s performance, but the intricate design that caught the eye of so many collectors 50 years ago.

Let’s check out the finer details of the Omega Speedmaster Caliber 321 ‘Ed White’ In Stainless Steel:

Omega Speedmaster Caliber 321 and Omega Speedmaster Professional
Omega Speedmaster Caliber 321 beside the Omega Speedmaster Professional


The Omega Speedmaster 321 is a 39.7mm round case with a stainless-steel case, bezel, and lugs, identical to the vintage model. It has 19mm lugs and comes with a bracelet of stainless steel that looks and feels like a finely updated version of the one accompanying the original ref. 105.003.

The bracelet is probably where you’ll feel the largest update. While it looks like the original flat link bracelet, you’ll find it’s constructed better. With solid links, it still remains incredibly close to the original if not thicker and heavier. Similarly, the clasp is a more modern clasp with better security, but designed as close to the styling of the original buckle as possible.

The styling of the lugs, the dot over the 90 bezel, the step dial, and a lack of crown guards all nod back to the original Ed White reference.

Omega Speedmaster Calibre 321 Ed White Steel 311.
Omega Speedmaster Calibre 321 Ed White Steel 311.


The bezel features a similar black insert with a tachymeter scale in white numbers and markers. In feel this watch looks historically correct. The materials to create this design changed over the decades with a shiny black ceramic insert and a white enamel scale.


The matte black dial with a slight ‘grain’ effect maintains this historical feel down to the step feature, which places the minutes track lower than the rest of the watch face. You’ll get a little deviation with the placement of the compared to a vintage Speedmaster. The subdials are surrounded by an angled flange that are more pronounced than the original. The baton hands nod right back to the original ref. 105.003 with that classic white color and sword shape, but Omega also noticeably used beige lume for a vintage feel.

The differences between the two references are subtle. The minutes and hours markers are longer, and you won’t notice a ‘T’ next to the Swiss Made inscription as tritium is no longer used for luminescence.

Omega Speedmaster Calibre 321 Ed White 311.

photo: Omega

Differences from Reference 105.003

In general, this watch looks vintage while being manufactured today. The great benefit of this old school charm is it’s backed up by more modern materials potentially making it better than those that traveled to the moon. While some might frown upon the crystal backing, this is a celebration of the famous Caliber 321 movement, and it should be seen in all its glory.

It’s the materials that are different in this modern design more than anything. You’re looking at a style that mimics the original steel watch worn by astronauts like Ed White with more modern materials that are clearer and more resilient. Even with the updated, stronger stainless steel, the sapphire crystals, and the matte black subdials, this watch maintains the vintage look down to the beige-colored luminescent paint compared to the usual white on modern watches.

Omega Speedmaster Calibre 321 Ed White 311. Movement
photo: Omega


Recreating a vintage design is not unheard of in the watchmaking world, but recreating an original and historic Caliber takes vintage watchmaking to the next level. This recreation of the Caliber 321 movement is why this watch is not only important, but desirable and under considerable demand. It’s what makes the Omega Speedmaster 321 a genuine collector’s item and one they promised won’t be made in limited numbers. Still, demand may outshine the manufacturing.

Here’s the thing with this movement: it is hand-constructed piece by piece from the original movement used in the 60s. Omega is reintroducing the 2nd general 321 movement from scanned schematic with only minor updates. This 2nd generation movement would have been worn by astronaut Gene Cernan on the Apollo 17 mission.

There was considerable research done to recreate this movement, from scanning the original plans and historical research, to checking out the original timepiece worn by Eugene Cernan (which Omega has on loan from NASA). They used state-of-the-art tomography technology, a type of digital scanning, to see inside the original watch.

Omega Speedmaster Caliber 321 Movement
The new Omega Speedmaster Caliber 321 movement (photo: Omega)

Minor changes mean they only replaced the copper finish that you’ll find in the 321 movements from the 60s. This is a movement that hasn’t been constructed since 1968 and they simply replaced the copper finish with one of Sedna gold that’s more stable. Other than the change from copper to gold, you can’t tell the difference between the movement from the 60s and the modern iteration.

Obviously, the manufacturing process has changed over the last 6 decades and there are some other changes that you can’t necessarily see. The finishing process on the parts of the movement will be far more refined now than it was back then.

Omega Speedmaster Calibre 321 Ed White Steel MoonWatch 311.
Once all the parts are finished, they’re sent for assembly to their dedicated atelier in Biel where they’re assembled in a more traditional fashion than the modern work line for co-axial movements. This is part of the reason that, while it’s not being released in limited numbers, you’re not going to see the number of watches released each year that you would in other modern models. Each assembler not only assembles the intricate movement, but then the rest of the watch as well.

The Caliber 321 movement maintains its run of 18,000 vibrations per hour, but the power reserve was upgraded nicely to 55 hours. You’ll also find that the winding mechanism is smoother compared to the older model as is the function and flow of the pushers. You can see all of the movement in its historic and unprecedented glory through the sapphire crystal case back, because why wouldn’t you want to?

Omega Speedmaster Caliber 321 Ed White: Final Thoughts

The Omega Speedmaster 321 “Ed White” is the best of both worlds: a classic and historic movement in a modern watch. The design is beautiful and elegant, with some artisanal touches that make it different from other Speedmasters. If you’re looking for a MoonWatch that’s extra special, this might be it. Own a piece of history and get yours today at


Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch Steel Mens Watch 3592.50.00 Review

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