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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 10:24 am 
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Pretty big news this if you’re a Speedmaster and/or historic movement fan. For those of you who don’t know the 321 was the original movement that was used in the actual Speedmasters used by the Apollo missions, making it the TRUE Moonwatch movement. Omega stopped making it years ago and it was never even dreamt of that it’d make a return. I just read they’ve now got a dedicated 321 workshop set up to make it.

Really incredible news if you’re a historic Speedy fan. I just shudder to think what the cost of a Speedy that runs it is going to be considering production numbers will apparently be limited. Still great news to see a historic movement like this make a come back.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 10:31 am 
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That is good news Driver although I agree; the price will most likely be hideous.

What do you think it is that’s driving this return to the past? Watch companies listening to their enthusiasts and buyers; something superior in the designs; or just another potential avenue for increased sales (not that there’s anythhbg wrong with that).

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 2:20 pm 
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Tim S wrote:
What do you think it is that’s driving this return to the past? Watch companies listening to their enthusiasts and buyers; something superior in the designs; or just another potential avenue for increased sales (not that there’s anythhbg wrong with that).

All of the above probably! :wink:

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 12:40 am 
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Meh. Omega have turned the Speedmaster into its own micro brand, with a swatch like release engine. Endless limited editions and variations on current models (there is even an Ultraman LE!!!) its just ridiculous!

Its a shame, Omega is such an excellent company, fantastic history, endless innovations, truly great movements, mostly accessible pricing, and the way they have innovated in movement finishing is unmatched, IWC tried and did not come close. But overdoing it with so many releases and constant changes is shooting themselves in the foot.

I have never owned a Speedmaster, as essential a piece of history as it is, simply because of how confusing it has become. Just take a look at that section in the Omega website. Dear Lord!

That said, I will pick up one eventually, its just all this takes away from the experience. If this move means they will calm down and reduce the production, then good for them, they should protect their legacy. The Navitimer was better handled in my opinion.

As a side note, its a shame that the most interesting LE was the one associated with Instagram! That's just as ridiculous as the Ultraman one. Grrrrrr

Thanks for bringing this up Driver. Its good to hear industry news on these forums!

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 12:44 am 
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You know, I have been thinking about this. To be fair to Omega, AP did the same with the Royal Oak design, spinning it into a micro brand as well, yet I find that acceptable. It might be just me.

I am interested in everyone's opinion, do you take this move from Omega as just another iteration of an overmilked concept for corporate reasons, or a natural addition to a legacy of great watches?

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 1:18 am 
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I never thought about the similarities of omega and AP like that but after your comment it does make sense. My guess is AP gets away with this cuz they are much more sought after?

Don’t know much about the speed master, but it seems like it does have its own cult like following. When omega does launch this piece my guess is it will be boutiques only and probably will demand a hefty price. That said because the watch does have a good following I don’t think it will be hard for them to sell


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 2:24 am 
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Altair wrote:
I am interested in everyone's opinion, do you take this move from Omega as just another iteration of an overmilked concept for corporate reasons, or a natural addition to a legacy of great watches?


Of course it's "an overmilked concept for corporate reasons", but they are a company, there to make money for shareholders, not a charity or some kind of backroom artisan shop designed to pander to the whims of a (very small in the scheme of things) collector’s market. This is their current strategy, just like Rolex and Patek have their "artificial" supply/demand strategies, and it seems to be working, at least if the demand from collectors is anything to go by (certainly not, however, if you judge by the share price). That said, I'm in! I currently have three Speedmasters, two of which are LEs, and I have previously had two other LEs, although admittedly one was a shameless flip. My first thoughts on this Cal 321 announcement was that this would be a fitting engine for a 105.003 or 105.012 1:1 re-edition for the Apollo XI 50th Anniversary, but alas that has already been ruled out. Sad, but I will still buy one of those if it is too my liking.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 3:15 am 
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arcadelt wrote:
Altair wrote:
I am interested in everyone's opinion, do you take this move from Omega as just another iteration of an overmilked concept for corporate reasons, or a natural addition to a legacy of great watches?


Of course it's "an overmilked concept for corporate reasons", but they are a company, there to make money for shareholders, not a charity or some kind of backroom artisan shop designed to pander to the whims of a (very small in the scheme of things) collector’s market. This is their current strategy, just like Rolex and Patek have their "artificial" supply/demand strategies, and it seems to be working, at least if the demand from collectors is anything to go by (certainly not, however, if you judge by the share price). That said, I'm in! I currently have three Speedmasters, two of which are LEs, and I have previously had two other LEs, although admittedly one was a shameless flip. My first thoughts on this Cal 321 announcement was that this would be a fitting engine for a 105.003 or 105.012 1:1 re-edition for the Apollo XI 50th Anniversary, but alas that has already been ruled out. Sad, but I will still buy one of those if it is too my liking.


Not sure you can say the Rolex and Patek shortages are artificial. You have any idea how much disposable cash floats around asia and the Middle East? I don’t think either of the companies can keep up with the demand. Like you eluded to these are companies for profit. And clearly there is a demand for their products. Given your logic wouldn’t they ramp production if they could?

The QA process alone would be a bottle neck for them. Did you know that each Rolex watch has its clasp tested 1000 times to be opened and closed before it leaves the factory? Now imagine all the other things they do. For a company that produces almost a million pieces a year that’s quite a lengthy process


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 3:31 am 
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boogiebot wrote:
Not sure you can say the Rolex and Patek shortages are artificial.


I take your points, but I see a lot of "used" (like, bought last week and last month" Rolexes for sale everywhere, especially stainless sports models, just not at anything resembling a previously normal "used" watch price. Anyway, we are not here to discuss what is happening in the Rolex marketplace, but I'm pretty sure they are not unhappy about it behind closed doors.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 3:42 am 
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There is no doubt that we are talking about companies where profit is the main motivation, but that does not mean that they don’t have an image to withhold. Patek is different, it is a family run business so there are emotions at play here, same with Lange, where heritage is a matter of pride, not just a potential source of additional revenue.

JLC is a more fitting example, if you see how they handled their heritage pieces in contrast to AP and Omega, you can tell the management have a passion for the brand, an eye on future value, or just understand how to maintain a legacy’s exclusivity while offering new models. The new Polaris is out of stock everywhere I asked about it. When JLC announce a new retake on an old model, it’s exciting, when AP or Omega do it, it’s annoying most of the time( I do think they hit a home run with the CK!)

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 3:44 am 
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I certainly hear you Altair, about the endless limited/special editions of the Speedy, with the Ultraman being the most ridiculous in recent years (although the White Side of the Moon(?) and the Blue Side Moonphase (??) run it a very close second, and trounce it for hideousness!), but in terms of the historic 321 movement being brought back into production, then I personally think this is great news. I'd much rather they did that, than come up with yet more Speedy LE's that amount to little more than a slightly different dial, or more colours of ceramic for it.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 4:32 am 
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boogiebot wrote:
arcadelt wrote:
Altair wrote:
I am interested in everyone's opinion, do you take this move from Omega as just another iteration of an overmilked concept for corporate reasons, or a natural addition to a legacy of great watches?


Of course it's "an overmilked concept for corporate reasons", but they are a company, there to make money for shareholders, not a charity or some kind of backroom artisan shop designed to pander to the whims of a (very small in the scheme of things) collector’s market. This is their current strategy, just like Rolex and Patek have their "artificial" supply/demand strategies, and it seems to be working, at least if the demand from collectors is anything to go by (certainly not, however, if you judge by the share price). That said, I'm in! I currently have three Speedmasters, two of which are LEs, and I have previously had two other LEs, although admittedly one was a shameless flip. My first thoughts on this Cal 321 announcement was that this would be a fitting engine for a 105.003 or 105.012 1:1 re-edition for the Apollo XI 50th Anniversary, but alas that has already been ruled out. Sad, but I will still buy one of those if it is too my liking.


Not sure you can say the Rolex and Patek shortages are artificial. You have any idea how much disposable cash floats around asia and the Middle East? I don’t think either of the companies can keep up with the demand. Like you eluded to these are companies for profit. And clearly there is a demand for their products. Given your logic wouldn’t they ramp production if they could?

The QA process alone would be a bottle neck for them. Did you know that each Rolex watch has its clasp tested 1000 times to be opened and closed before it leaves the factory? Now imagine all the other things they do. For a company that produces almost a million pieces a year that’s quite a lengthy process


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I see your point on Patek not being an artificial shortage, in fact thats what I heard from someone very close to the company and sells allot of their watches. They could increase their capability, but that would means years of training and building new workshops, by that time the market could be different. The shift could be to classical models instead of the Nautilus as an example. They have to make calculated decisions here.

With Rolex, I am not so sure. Maybe. I do know they and Richmond play the market, the same source told me that Richmond bought back a huge amount of watches last year and had them destroyed (well, movements where saved and cases where scrapped or used for parts) in order to reduce availability on the grey market. From a business standpoint, thats very smart. Not unlike farmers destroying millions of tons of produce if they exceed market requirements.


There certainly is a substantial market for Rolex models here, that's actually the main reason watch guys don't wear them here, they are everywhere! Its not an elitist thing, its that if you see something so many times it just becomes boring. A Navitimer is infinitely more enjoyable than a much more expensive Sub for instance simply due to the rarity.

Anyway, the real market is not the ME, its Asia, mainly China. I cant remember how many times I went into boutiques in Dubai and saw Chinese guys who looked like they just walked out of a factory job buy 10 examples of the same model. And its not a hobby thing for most, its security. I have the same mentality actually. In a part of the world where we have seen strong, stable countries crumble into pits of destruction and despair its nice to know I can seek asylum with the contents of my hand carry ensuring a fresh start. The way I calculated it I can secure a 2 year rent in a safe apartment in London, and have enough to start a small business to live off of. My command of four languages and my legendary BBQ skills are almost as valuable to my family's survival as my watches! :mrgreen:


I agree with you Driver that this is a more substantial move from Omega than cobranding with a silly old TV show.

Then again maybe I am taking things too seriousely, whats wrong with a little fun if the market likes it? Not every legacy has to be prestigous.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 5:40 am 
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I don't buy for one second any other reason for the apparent "shortage" of Rolex SS models other than they are artificially restricting supply (at least to some regions). Let's not forget they produce more watches per year than any other Swiss watch manufacturer - between 800k and 1m per year. Omega are second with around 600k. If you want an Omega, ANY Omega, you just walk into a shop and buy it, or you order it and it's with you in 2 weeks max. And that's despite them being generally considerably cheaper than a comparable Rolex and therefore more accessible to more people.

My local Rolex AD (who apparently gets a bigger allocation than any other AD in my area) has seen precisely ONE Rootbeer GMT since it was launched. They've seen THREE SS Pepsi GMTs since launch, and they currently receive between 3 and 4 SD43's per year. (And I live in the South of England not that far from London, so it's not like I'm out in the sticks).

In contrast, the HUGELY popular, and brand new out, 2018 Omega SMP is just sitting in at least 3 Omega AD's windows near me in multiple colour versions..... and that's despite being a (relative) bargain at circa £3.5k.

I know there are regional variations in demand, but once again, if Rolex are choosing to "flood" markets like the Far East (as they'd have to be if guys can do a "job-lot" purchase as Altair mentioned above), then by extension they are also CHOOSING to artificially restrict supply to the West. Why? Who knows! After all, it's not like they couldn't sell every single SS sports model they make 10 times over in ANY First World country on the planet. Then again, Rolex are unique in the watch world in as much as they are fully owned by the private Hans Wilsdorf Foundation which, as a registered charity doesn't pay corporate income tax, so pure profit doesn't always seem to be their prime motivation unlike other companies who have share-holders to worry about. Rolex truly are a law unto themselves.

Often people also cite the fact that Rolex also produce DJ's (and similar dressier models) in vast quantities as the reason there are less of the SS sports models produced, and that's possibly true.... but I'd argue that that was just another way of artificially restricting supply of the SS sports models that they could sell 10 times over if they produced more.

Whatever their reasons, I'm 100% convinced that the ONLY reason SS models are hard to come by in certain regions is because of artificially restricted supply.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 10:07 am 
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arcadelt wrote:
boogiebot wrote:
Not sure you can say the Rolex and Patek shortages are artificial.


I take your points, but I see a lot of "used" (like, bought last week and last month" Rolexes for sale everywhere, especially stainless sports models, just not at anything resembling a previously normal "used" watch price. Anyway, we are not here to discuss what is happening in the Rolex marketplace, but I'm pretty sure they are not unhappy about it behind closed doors.


The used market is totally insane on both Rolex and Patek that’s for sure.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 10:32 am 
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I love the idea of Omega bringing back the 321. I've read elsewhere that it won't just be a part of a limited edition, though. I'm not sure if was a reliable source... I'd like to see it used in the standard "moonwatch" but who knows. I've owned two speedies (a hesalite/sapphire sandwich and the latest moonwatch with the massive box). I ended up selling both. The speedy is a watch that I love to see pictures of on the forums and IG, but when it is on my wrist it doesn't do it for me. I don't mind Omega making an LE for every full moon--IMHO the moonwatch is still the one to have. If I'm Omega, why not capitalize on the fanatics? Someone has to pay Bond to wear a watch...

On the Rolex SS shortage, I really do think its a supply/demand issue. I think global demand has grown significantly and I don't think Rolex has responded accordingly. I think they are capable of shifting production resources from TT and PM models to SS, but they haven't. An AD told me (take this for what its worth) that Rolex likes to see smooth supply growth and so it won't respond to what they view as a sudden increase in SS demand as we, the consumers, might want them to. I don't know if I buy that explanation. But I also don't think Rolex is supplying some regions and not others. I'm no expert, but I'd think if a certain region of the world were getting supply while another had a shortage, we'd see arbitrage. Its 2019, the world is flat.

Anyway...nice to see some discussion on here from long time members. I've been a member since 2009 with about 400 posts (pathetic, I know). I never posted much, but I've always enjoyed reading along. With fewer voices these days, I've committed to offering my own more frequently.

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