The Caliber 321 movement from Omega is a renowned chronograph movement that has contributed significantly to the development of both the brand and the watch industry. Because of its long history and low production volume, it is a highly prized object among collectors.
The Caliber 321 was the first chronograph movement using a column wheel design to be released by Omega, and it did so in 1946. Compared to earlier movements, which were based on a more basic cam system, this made them considerably smoother and more precise. A reputation for being among the most dependable and accurate chronograph movements in the world was immediately established for the Caliber 321.
Over the years, the Caliber 321 has been found in a number of renowned timepieces, including the Omega Speedmaster, which NASA selected for use on space missions. In actuality, astronaut Ed White wore an Omega Speedmaster equipped with the Caliber 321 during the first US spacewalk in 1965.
The Caliber 321 was only manufactured for a brief time despite its notoriety and popularity. The Caliber 861 by Omega was used in its place after the movement was retired in 1969. According to certain sources, the real number of Caliber 321s produced may be closer to 18,000 rather than the projected 20,000 total.
The fact that the Caliber 321 was actually based on a movement created by a firm called Lemania is one of the Caliber 321’s most intriguing features. The Caliber 321 was simply a modified version of one of Lemania’s existing movements, which Omega acquired in 1932.
The Caliber 321 was used in a variety of watches besides the Omega Speedmaster, which is another intriguing tidbit. Moreover, it was utilized in the Seamaster and the Railmaster, two additional chronograph watches from the manufacturer.
Solid gold Omega Seamaster Chronograph
Omega Seamaster chronographs made of solid gold and powered by the caliber 321 movement are very uncommon and highly prized by collectors. Only a small number of these watches were made, and many of them were bought by prominent people like businesspeople, politicians, and celebrities. These watches are extremely sought-after and can fetch prices that are several times more than those of their stainless steel counterparts due to the combination of the precious metal case and the renowned mechanism. The auction prices for these timepieces have skyrocketed in recent years. Solid gold Omega Seamaster chronographs with the caliber 321 movement are regarded as some of the most valuable and coveted Omega watches in the world due to their rarity and historical significance.
Stainless steel Omega Seamaster “Reverse Panda” Chronograph
Another special dial variant of the 145.005-67 is the Chronograph with the “Reverse Panda” dial. Only a few of this extremely unusual variety are known to have been made. Similar to its Speedmaster predecessor, the Seamaster Reverse Panda has an orange chronograph hand that resembles Ultraman. I haven’t discovered any proof that the hands are identical, though. All we can be sure of is how many were sold over the years, which is just about six to eight different examples; the production numbers are at best estimations.
The new caliber 321 Speedmaster
Omega has responded to the increased demand for the Caliber 321 among collectors in recent years by resurrecting the movement in a few limited-edition watches. Also, the company has established a special workshop at its Swiss headquarters to restart production of the movement. The new Caliber 321 is still a very sought-after item among collectors because of its restricted manufacturing.
The Omega Caliber 321 movement is a legendary part of watchmaking history, to sum up. It has become a highly prized item among collectors due to its accurate and slick operation and the fact that it was used in some of the most significant watches in history. The Caliber 321 is a true icon in the horology world due to its limited manufacturing numbers and lengthy history.