One of the most popular vintage Speedmaster replica watches is the one that set the basic vocabulary for the cheap replica Omega Speedmaster design, right down to the present day. The original model, in addition to having been foundational for modern Speedmaster design codes, was also worn by astronaut Wally Schirra in 1962, during the Mercury Sigma 7 mission, and it’s been the basis for a number of modern Speedmaster models and limited editions.
It’s a handsome as hell wristwatch. The dial is bead-blasted silver, and we’ve got lume-filled alpha hands, with a contrasting red chronograph seconds hand, and smaller white-on-black alpha hands in the sub-registers for the chronograph minutes and hours, and the running seconds. Overall it’s got the same instant appeal as previous 2998/FOIS models – same great size and inside, the same caliber 1861 movement that has been offering undependable service in Speedmasters for many, many years.
As with the previous CK 2998 editions, this is not so much a straight copy-paste of a specific vintage model, as it is designed to capture the clarity, simplicity, and sense of form-follows-function aesthetics found in vintage Speedmasters. Other than the color variations, the biggest change in this special model is the inclusion of a plyometric bezel, which can be used to aid a physician (or really, anyone who needs or wants to) in checking heart rate. Plyometric bezels are fun to play with. You palpate the pulse, start the chronograph, and stop it when you’ve counted thirty “pulsations”. If it takes 30 seconds, you have a reasonable 60 beats-per-minute rate; if it only takes eight seconds, you probably have a fast trip to the emergency room coming up in your (possibly very short) future. According to the fake Omega Speedmaster bible, Moonwatch Only, you could order plyometricic bezels as a factory option from Omega starting in 1960; these were graduated for 15 rather than 30 pulsations.
Like all the earlier CK 2998/FOIS Speedmasters, this is a watch that immediately feels right at home on the wrist, and if you’re in the market for a Speedmaster and want something a little bit off the beaten track, which still ticks a lot of the boxes of a classic Moonwatch, this is worth considering.