Baselworld 2018 - Omega Speedmaster CK 2998 Limited Edition

A few weeks ago, we told you about the incredibly cool OMEGA Speedmaster “Dark Side Of The Moon” Apollo 8 limited edition watch. Now, we’re turning the spotlight on another space-inspired timepiece the brand introduced this year at Baselworld: the OMEGA Speedmaster CK 2998 Limited Edition. The latest interpretation from the ‘First Omega In Space’ (FOIS) homage series, it pairs vintage-inspired stellar good looks with comfort on the wrist for a great all-round wear.

The original CK 2998 debuted in 1959, its creators oblivious to the legendary legacy it would go on to establish. Since 2012, the FOIS series has payed tribute to this historically important wristwatch, with several very attractive models released. The 2018 edition may just be the best yet – bringing together popular attributes from across the series into one desirable timepiece. It will be limited to just 2,998 pieces.

Story of the Legend

Before passing NASA’s stringent testing, before the lunar missions, before the Professional, the Speedmaster CK 2998 accidentally became the first OMEGA in space when astronaut Walter “Wally” Schirra wore his personal ‘Speedy’ during the 1962 Project Mercury ‘Sigma 7’ mission.

Schirra had purchased the wristwatch for his own use but it turned out to be the best choice he could have made - three years later, in 1965, the OMEGA Speedmaster proved itself as the only wristwatch to pass all 11 tests for space travel approval (securing OMEGA as the official watch provider for NASA astronauts).

Hallmarks of the Original

The original Speedmaster concept was a sports watch aimed primarily at automotive enthusiasts. CK 2998 was the second edition and the first evolution of the series (following the 1957 Speedmaster CK 2915 “Broad Arrow”). Pre-dating the Professional, the design of the late 1950s- early 1960s models differ to what’s become familiar as a Speedmaster in the contemporary. Official involvement in the Apollo program led OMEGA to modify the Speedmaster. The FOIS series closely captures many of the attributes that defined the 1959 model, which arguably makes for a more aesthetically pleasing dress watch.

For starters, it was smaller (although large for its day, at 40mm) yet still had great presence on the wrist thanks to the pronounced (but finer) lugs that extended straight down (as opposed to the beveled design of the Professional). The case was less bulky and free of the crown and pusher protection developed for astronaut use - meaning a symmetrical design that communicated balance. CK 2998 replaced the arrow hands of the “Broad Arrow” with ‘Alpha’ hands (while maintaining the baton-style chronograph seconds hand). It was also the first model to feature the black bezel. And Speedmasters prior to the Professional featured an applied OMEGA logo at 12 o’clock.

 

Panda and Pulsometer Dial

The 2018 CK 2998 Limited Edition deviates slightly from the Speedmaster’s all-black dial DNA but with smashing results. The colour scheme of the 2018 model gives the Speedmaster back its motorsport heritage in a ‘racy’ way. The pièce de résistance is the chronograph seconds hand varnished red (complimented by the Speedmaster label, also in red) - which pops out from the lightly sand-blasted silvery dial and pairs perfectly with the blackened ‘Alpha’ hands filled with white Super-LumiNova. The white-on-black hands and markings of the panda sub-dials and the outer minute track produce a flawless design, overseen by the applied OMEGA logo at 12 o’clock.

Beyond the glass we find another CK 2998 hallmark in the ceramic bezel insert, not a tachymeter but a pulsometer - both were options on the 1959 version, as well as decimal (for production calculations) and telemeter (for average distances). To enhance aesthetic balance, the white enamel scale for measuring heart rate has been graduated to 30 pulsations (the original only going to 15).

Everything blends well with the steel of the case, which measures 39.7mm in diameter, and the black leather driver-style strap (with contrasting stitching and a steel pin buckle) - which measures 19mm between lugs - micro-perforated with a white rubber interior. The gleaming case back is adorned with the original Seahorse medallion and each limited-edition model in the series is numbered.

The Space Movement

Powering the Speedmaster CK 2998 Limited Edition is OMEGA’s famous manual-winding calibre 1861 - the movement worn on the moon (also found in the Professional). The rhodium-plated, cam-driven calibre with outer-space accreditation provides a 2-day (48-hour) power reserve. Water resistance is 5 bar (50m/ 167ft).

A Modern Classic

While a tribute to Wally Schirra’s FOIS, the 2018 OMEGA Speedmaster CK 2998 Limited Edition is not a carbon copy of the 1959 original. Rather it captures the clarity, simplicity and character of the heritage piece in a dramatic design that is at the same time classically and contemporarily stylish. It also offers the fit of a vintage model with the finishes of a modern luxury watch.

The 2018 Speedmaster CK 2998 Limited Edition is sure to be popular with OMEGA collectors, particularly given that it is a limited-edition model. It will be available through Winsor Bishop later this year and is available for pre-order now. Allocations are extremely scarce, however, so if you want to secure yours, please contact us now.