Omega Speedmaster World Cup – Quarter Final 3: Ed White Vs. Apollo 11 45th Anniversary
The group stage is in the books. It’s time for the head-to-head competitions to begin. Over the next two weeks, we will be hosting two quarterfinals each weekend – one Saturday; a Sunday. Our fearless warriors survived their own bloodshed, but now they need your help to fight another day. Only one man can advance from each quarterfinal to the next stage. The choice of who will receive this honor is yours. Let the battle begin …
Now it’s serious. The men have now been separated from the boys. For this third quarter-final, the Group E champion faces the winner of Group F. But first, let’s look at the statistics. Almost 2,400 votes were cast in Group E. 45% of them went to the new 321 Ed White. This is equivalent to 1,100 votes. The four-figure support is pretty impressive, especially compared to the total votes from other groups…
Group F received around 1,800 votes. 700 of those votes were cast in favor of the 45th anniversary of Apollo XI. This equates to about 40%. In absolute scores, the Apollo XI 45th seems to be the underdog of this quarter-final. Although, in percentage terms, the suitors were much closer.
45th anniversary of Apollo XI (322.214.171.124.06.001)
In calculating the 45th Apollo XI’s odds of victory in the quarter-finals, I reflected on why 321 Ed White got more votes in the group stage. And in my opinion, the lesser number of votes for the Apollo XI 45th must have been caused by its age. The new 321 was only widely presented this year. It’s a highly anticipated model, and with good reason. It’s still very fresh on everyone’s mind. The Apollo XI 45th, on the other hand, needed their attention for six years. 2014 was the last time that even we at Fratello had an article on this fascinating model.
What is so special about the new 321 Ed White that he wins this quarterfinal game? Is rebuilding a watch already built in the 1960s such a success? Of course, I know, in fact, that it is. But does a rebuilt watch have to win out over something original? Would be a clone Muhamed Ali go down Deontay Wilder?
What is the particularity of the Apollo XI 45th?
So I thought the best way to give the Apollo XI 45th a chance was to refresh your mind with all the awesome (and rarely seen) details that this watch offers. The first thing most people notice when they first look at a watch is its face. From top to bottom, this is a special watch. The dial and the way it was crafted is no exception. In fact, this is perhaps the most remarkable element.
The logo and words are not printed on the dial as you might expect. They are also not applied. Rather, the dial is made from a single piece of metal and has been treated with PVD. It was created using a special laser technique, removing all material surrounding the logo, model name, sub-dials, numerals, minute and hour markers. The result is a gorgeous brownish-grained surface like you’ve never seen before.
A titanium case
Omega has never used titanium for the typical a-symmetrical Speedmaster Professional case. It was a first for the 45th Apollo XI Limited Edition. We haven’t seen him since. They decided to use grade 2 titanium with a brushed finish. Normally, titanium watches tend to be made of grade 5 titanium, which is much lighter in color, almost like stainless steel. Grade 2 titanium – untreated – can even get a little darker over time. The rather flashy Sedna gold bezel contrasts beautifully with the darker case and dial.
In combination with this rather dark titanium, Omega also decided to give the case an overall brushed finish. Another first for a regular shaped Speedmaster Professional. The only time we’ve seen this again was with stainless steel – Speedy Tuesday 1 Limited Edition. It fits the Speedmaster Professional perfectly. A brushed finish is a tool, but in combination with the Sedna gold of the tachymeter bezel and indexes, it gets very sexy straight away.
At the end of this Omega Speedmaster Professional Apollo XI 45th Anniversary Limited Edition showcase, we’re going to turn off the lights. The clear sapphire crystal, in a box, clearly reveals the fine lines of Super-LumiNova used in the hands and at the top of the index markers, which reflect the last rays of light. It’s beautiful to look at and a real pleasure to wear. Now leave your vote under this article and may the best watch win!
321 Ed White (3126.96.36.199.01.001)
I looked at this competition from a different perspective. Against Gérard, my surrogate father Fratello (I love you, G Pops) put a huge burden on me. Thank goodness we don’t have the Henry IV Shakespearean type of relationship (he being Henry IV and I being Prince Hal). Yet this is business and we never mix that up with family.
Now let’s look at watches, in addition to their monetary values. To me it is obvious that the new 321 Ed White is a more exciting piece. Not that I hate the Apollo XI 45e, not at all. However, let’s clarify one thing; when looking at 321 Ed White you have to consider what was rebuilt and how. You can’t just say this is a rebuilt watch from the ’60s. That’s it, but it’s so much more to boot …
See, I’m not a big boxing fan, so I can’t think about that comparison. However, I can create my own. Would you say Michael Jordan or better than Lebron James? You can’t compare then, as they played two very different eras in the NBA. But if MJ’s clone were to play Lebron, my money would be in His Airiness. In this “fight” Jordan is the Ed White 321 …
21st century vintage
Omega never used titanium for a Speedmaster Pro before the Apollo XI 45e. Which is true, of course. Omega also never used their legendary, column-wheel, resurrected chronograph movement, the caliber 321 in a steel (i.e. affordable) watch before the 321 Ed White.
Yes, it did find its way into a platinum Speedy, but let’s be honest here, there’s a good chance you won’t see much of it in your local GTGs. While I dig titanium – or platinum – watches, the only reason mentioned above would be enough for me to go for the Ed White. Then there are the looks. The 321 Ed White does not have any special alloys, cartoon dogs, or red / white checkered scales on the dial. What the watch has is a charm. A faithful reinterpretation of a legendary model. As if the vintage Omega Speedmaster Ed White (Ref. 105.003) wasn’t perfect enough. Omega took the model and remade it, only better, using 21st century technology. It is a breathtakingly beautiful watch that pays homage to a legend. And then skillfully takes the pen and begins to write his …
Ed and Gene
While most Speedmasters are imbued with space DNA thanks to the close connection between Omega and Nasa, the 321 Ed White is also raising the bar here. As the nickname suggests, the original Omega Speedmaster 105.003 was favored by an Edward Higgins White II. He was a member of Gemini IV and Apollo I, a US Air Force officer and aeronautical engineer.
White was also the first American to perform a spacewalk with the watch that would bear his name decades later. However, there is another man of importance to the rebirth of 321 Ed White, namely Gene (Eugene) Cernan the last man to walk on the moon. Cernan was an equally decorated and important member of Nasa’s elite group of astronauts.
A participant in Gemini IXA, Apollo X and XVII, Cernan has a number of his own “own” Speedmaster professionals, such as the 2012 Apollo XVII coin dial or the Apollo XVII 45e Anniversary of 2018. Yet the watch he owned and actually wore on the Moon was the one Omega used to recreate the legendary caliber 321 (here is our video review on YouTube).
Sorry for the little history lesson, I still think it’s crucial that we talk about these two excellent gentlemen when reviewing the 321 Ed White. Obviously, a very important factor that we haven’t mentioned yet; its caliber. Omega fans … damn it, vintage watch enthusiasts, in general, know how important Caliber 321 (based on the Lemania CH27 C12) is to the history of watchmaking.
While the 321 and its predecessors had a long lifespan, Omega only used them in Speedmasters for a decade and change. This means that the recreation of this iconic caliber is a remarkable, courageous and important step in the history of the brand. The new 321 Ed White comes with a display on the back so future owners have the chance to admire this watchmaking masterpiece when they feel like it – provided they’ve removed the watch first!
While I think there is no inferior or bad performance of an Omega Speedmaster Pro (although technically the 321 Ed White is not a Pro, you get what I mean), there is these so-called “first among equals” coins. This new 321 Ed White is such a piece. The looks are divine; the details are supreme: the logo applied, the straight legs, the teardrop-shaped counterweight, the flat link bracelet, etc. And let’s not forget the technology. We have a new 321 with a German silver clutch bridge, Sedna gold plated bridges and main plate. No one would be surprised to see this model scroll to the finals. So as Gerard said: Now please leave your vote below this article and, can the best watch to win!