It’s unavoidable that the past casts a long shadow over something as inherently retro as the watch industry, whose very existence today could be seen as anachronistic, and in which many of the most important historic designs have never really gone away. Patek Phillipe’s Nautilus, for example, a watch currently so hot that steel versions with a retail price of £26,870 ($36,512) are trading at $100,000 more than this, has a design virtually unchanged since 1974; the same brand’s Calatrava dress watch dates back to 1932.
however, a booming vintage market, the proliferation of scholarship and awareness among online communities, and a continuing zest for retro that’s generating new versions of everything from old-school games consoles and analog synths to typical cars recreated down to the last engine rivet, creates an ever-richer scenery for brands to plunder the archives. As the following retro models give evidence to.
Omega Speedmaster 321 Canopus Gold
Most people know the Speedmaster as the watch that went to the moon with NASA’s astronauts, but it started life as a motorsports wristwatch back in 1957. This version harks back to that original 1957 form, albeit in a superdeluxe format: The case is in Canopus gold (Omega’s particularly bright white gold alloy) instead of steel, and the dial is cut from black onyx.
But in this case, the real vintage play is the movement (the mechanical “engine” powering the watch) inside it. Three years ago, Omega put a hand-wound movement it had last made in 1969, Calibre 321, back into (extremely limited) production, reserving a special workshop in its high-tech factory for hand-assembly the old-school way.
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