There are many factors that determine the price of a watch, such as material, brand and so on. But if you want to say what the most important factor is, it must be the movement. The movement is the “heart” of the replica watch, controlling the operation of the entire watch. The price of watches varies greatly, which is often caused by the difference in movement. In 2019, Omega launched the Speedmaster 321 replica watch, which is twice as expensive as the ordinary Speedmaster. It is equipped with the 321 movement, which is currently the highest specification of Omega. So what makes this movement so special?
What is the origin of the 321 chronograph movement?
Omega 321 manual chronograph movement was launched in 1942. Some people would say, you are wrong while this is true. This movement was jointly developed by Omega and Lemania movement factories in the 1940s. Interestingly, this movement has two numbers, Lemania numbered it Lemania2310, and Omega numbered it 321. It is a column wheel, horizontal clutch, hand-wound chronograph.
Because the movement is both reliable and beautiful, in addition to the developer Omega, this movement is also provided to Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, Breguet, Roger Dubuis, Jacques Dro and others. Today, Patek Philippe is no longer in use, Vacheron Constantin and Breguet are still in use. Like Vacheron Constantin 1141/1142 manual chronograph movement and Breguet 533 manual chronograph movement, they are actually Omega 321 movements in essence.
Why didn’t it relaunch until 2019?
The Omega 321 movement was launched in 1942, and it was used on the replica watches
Omega Speedmaster in 1957, but until 1968, the 321 movement was replaced by the 861 movement. The 861 movement is the predecessor of today’s 3861 movement. Compared with the 321 movement, the 861 movement has some structural improvements. For example, its cylindrical wheel was changed to a cam, and the Y-shaped splint was changed to a whole piece. So the 861/1861/3861 family, in terms of status, is lower than the 321 movement.
From 1968 to 2018, in the middle 50 years, Omega never used the 321 movement again. One of the main reasons is the copyright issue of the movement. Because the 321 movement was jointly developed by Omega and Lemania, the Lemania replica watches factory flew solo and was merged into Breguet in 1981. Breguet went through several twists and turns and joined the Swatch Group. Although Omega and Breguet are both of the Swatch Group, the copyright of the 321 movement falls under the name of Breguet. After that, Omega finally obtained the copyright of the 321 movement again. Therefore, it was not until 2019 that the Omega Speedmaster 321 came back.
Among all Omega, there are two replica watches with the highest specifications. One is Omega’s complex watch, with a central tourbillon, and the other is Omega Speedmaster 321. Only these two replica watches are produced in a separate department of Omega, separate from other Omega watches.
The 321 manual chronograph movement used by Omega Speedmaster 321 is not assembly line assembled. Each 321 movement is assembled and debugged by a single watchmaker. What’s even more amazing is that when the Omega 321 movement is assembled, “secondary assembly” is required. That is, after the first assembly, debug. Then the movement is disassembled, cleaned again, and then assembled for the second time. “Secondary assembly” is double insurance, which can confirm that all parts of the movement are correct. Among the mainstream replica watches in the market, Lange is famous for its “secondary assembly”. Lange is at the top of the list, with an annual output of only 5,000 pieces.
The 321 movement is responsible for a single person and the secondary assembly will consume more time. It is reported that the output of Omega Speedmaster 321 is between 1000 and 2000 per year. But this news has not been officially confirmed. Some people think that the output of Speedmaster 321 should be around 1,000.
In some details, we can also see Omega’s special treatment for Speedmaster 321. For example, the crown waterproof rubber ring of the general Speedmaster is installed inside the crown. The crown waterproof rubber ring of the Speedmaster 321 is installed on the crown shaft. The difference between this kind of installation is that for ordinary Speedmasters, during maintenance, a new crown is directly replaced, and the waterproof rubber ring is replaced together. But Speedmaster 321, in order to maintain the integrity of the whole replica watch, only the waterproof rubber ring will be replaced, and the crown will not be replaced, so as to ensure that each Speedmaster 321 is the original original part from the beginning to the end.
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Omega stated that all Speedmaster 321 (including steel case and gold case) can only be repaired and maintained at the Omega factory in Biel, Switzerland.
There is a view that Speedmaster 321 must be returned to Omega Switzerland for maintenance. On the one hand, the 321 movement requires professional watchmakers to maintain it; on the other hand, Omega must ensure that the parts of the 321 movement remain in Biel, Switzerland, and do not flow out.
The chronograph clutch gear splint of the Omega 321 movement also uses German silver, which is the case with antique replica watches, and it is still the case now.
There are two main types of manual moon landing Speedmasters that Omega is selling, one is Speedmaster 3861 and the other is Speedmaster 321. As mentioned earlier, the 861/1861/3861 family has historically been the series to succeed the 321 movement, but compared with the 321 movement, their structure has been simplified.