Omega Speedmaster CK2998: A Collector’s Guide

by Barbara Wilson

The Omega Speedmaster CK2998 holds a special place in the hearts of watch enthusiasts and collectors around the world. With a history deeply intertwined with space exploration and a design that exudes timeless elegance, the CK2998 model has become a sought-after gem in the horological realm. In this collector’s guide, we delve into the history, design, mechanics, and variations of the Omega Speedmaster CK2998, offering insights into why it remains a prized possession among watch aficionados.


I. The History of Omega Speedmaster CK2998: From Space to the Wrist

The Omega Speedmaster CK2998 has its origins in the legendary Speedmaster line—a collection forever etched in history as the first watch worn on the moon. The CK2998, introduced in the late 1950s, predates this iconic moment but played a significant role in the Speedmaster’s journey to the lunar surface. It was worn by astronauts during training and testing, earning its place as a predecessor to the famous Speedmaster Professional “Moonwatch.”


1. Introduction of the Omega Speedmaster CK2998:

The Omega Speedmaster CK2998 was introduced in 1959 as part of the Speedmaster collection. It marked an early milestone in the evolution of the Speedmaster line, featuring a distinctive design that set the foundation for subsequent models.


2. Space Connection:

While the CK2998 itself wasn’t the model worn on the Moon, it played an essential role in the history of the Speedmaster as the second Speedmaster reference to enter space. In 1962, astronaut Walter Schirra wore his personal CK2998 during the Mercury-Atlas 8 mission, making it the first Omega worn in space.


3. Design and Aesthetics:

The CK2998 featured a striking design that included a black bezel with a tachymeter scale, a symmetrical case with straight lugs, and a simple yet balanced dial layout. Its distinctive alpha hands, subdials, and red accents contributed to its sporty and timeless appearance.

4. Limited Production and Collectibility:

The CK2998 had a relatively short production run, making it a sought-after collector’s piece. Its rarity, historical significance, and aesthetic appeal contributed to its desirability among watch enthusiasts.

5. Legacy and Influence:

The CK2998 served as a design inspiration for subsequent Speedmaster models, including the legendary Speedmaster Professional “Moonwatch.” Elements of its design can be seen in the Moonwatch’s case, hands, and dial layout.

6. Modern Interpretations:

Omega recognized the significance of the CK2998 and released several modern interpretations of the model, paying homage to its heritage. These modern versions retained the core design elements while incorporating modern watchmaking technology.

7. Auction and Vintage Market:

Original CK2998 models have become highly collectible and often fetch high prices at watch auctions and in the vintage market. Their historical connection to space exploration and their limited production contribute to their value.

8. CK2998’s Impact on the Moonwatch:

The CK2998’s influence on the Moonwatch cannot be overstated. Its design elements played a crucial role in shaping the aesthetic identity of the Moonwatch, which would go on to become one of the most iconic and recognizable watches in history.

In summary, the Omega Speedmaster CK2998 holds a special place in watch history as a precursor to the Moonwatch and an early participant in space exploration. Its design, association with astronauts, and collectibility have solidified its legacy as a significant and celebrated timepiece in the world of horology.

II. Omega Speedmaster CK2998: A Comprehensive Review

The Omega Speedmaster CK2998 is a tribute to the original model that captured the hearts of early space pioneers. The watch features a 39.7mm stainless steel case that pays homage to its historical predecessor. Its iconic “panda” dial—characterized by a white background and black sub-dials—delivers a classic yet sporty aesthetic. The use of bold red accents on the chronograph hands and “Speedmaster” logo adds a vibrant touch.

The watch is powered by the Omega Caliber 1861, a manual-winding movement known for its reliability and precision. The familiar black bezel with a tachymeter scale allows wearers to measure speeds, a feature that is quintessential to the Speedmaster lineage.

Design and Aesthetics:

The Omega Speedmaster CK2998’s design captures the essence of a vintage chronograph with a sporty and timeless look. Key design elements include:

Symmetrical Case: The CK2998 features a symmetrical case with straight lugs, creating a balanced and elegant appearance on the wrist.

Black Bezel: The black bezel with a tachymeter scale adds functionality and contributes to the watch’s sporty aesthetic.

Subdial Layout: The watch features three subdials arranged in a “panda” configuration, with the 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock, the 12-hour counter at 6 o’clock, and the continuous seconds subdial at 9 o’clock.

Alpha Hands: The alpha-style hands, along with the bold arrowhead central chronograph hand, enhance legibility and add a touch of vintage charm.

Red Accents: Red accents on the chronograph hands and the “Speedmaster” text on the dial provide subtle pops of color.

Movement and Performance:

The CK2998 is powered by the Omega Caliber 1861 manual-winding movement, known for its reliability and historical significance:

Caliber 1861: Based on the original Caliber 861 movement, the Caliber 1861 offers robust performance and has a historical connection to Omega’s space missions.

Manual-Winding: While modern watch movements are often automatic, the manual-winding movement in the CK2998 connects wearers to a more traditional horological experience.

Wrist Comfort and Wearability:

The CK2998’s 39.7mm case diameter and slim profile make it comfortable to wear on a variety of wrist sizes:

Moderate Size: The case size strikes a balance between vintage charm and modern wearability, appealing to those who prefer a classic-sized watch.

Thin Case: The watch’s relatively thin case allows it to slide comfortably under cuffs, making it suitable for both casual and formal occasions.

Collectibility and Historical Significance:

The CK2998’s historical connection to space exploration and its limited production contribute to its collectibility:

First Omega in Space: The CK2998 is the first Omega worn in space, adding a significant historical touchstone to its legacy.

Limited Production: Its limited production run and vintage status make it sought-after among collectors and enthusiasts.

Modern Interpretations:

Omega has released modern versions of the CK2998, paying homage to its heritage while incorporating modern manufacturing techniques and materials.


Manual Winding: The manual-winding movement requires regular winding, which might not suit everyone’s preferences in today’s automatic-dominated market.

Collectibility: Due to its collectible nature, vintage models might command higher prices in the market.

The Omega Speedmaster CK2998 is a classic and highly regarded timepiece that holds a special place in the history of watchmaking.

III. The Movement and Mechanics of the Omega Speedmaster CK2998

Beneath the case back of the Omega Speedmaster CK2998 lies the Caliber 1861 movement—an evolution of the original movement that accompanied the Speedmaster to space. The manual-winding movement requires the wearer to engage with the watch, fostering a connection between human touch and the passage of time. With a power reserve of approximately 48 hours, the Caliber 1861 ensures consistent timekeeping. Here’s an overview of the movement and its mechanics:

Omega Caliber 1861 Movement:

1. Manual-Winding: The Caliber 1861 movement is manually wound, which means it requires winding by turning the crown to build up power in the mainspring. This traditional approach to powering a watch connects wearers to the art of horology and involves a tactile engagement with the timepiece.

2. Chronograph Functionality: The Caliber 1861 features chronograph functionality, allowing the watch to function as a stopwatch. The chronograph complication is operated through pushers on the side of the case. The central chronograph seconds hand, along with the subdials, measures elapsed time in seconds, minutes, and hours.

3. Frequency and Jewels: The movement operates at a frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour (3 Hz), which is a standard frequency for many mechanical movements. It has a jewel count of 18, which refers to the number of synthetic rubies used as bearings in the movement to reduce friction and enhance durability.

4. Power Reserve: The Caliber 1861 has a power reserve of approximately 48 hours when fully wound. This means that if the watch is wound completely, it will continue to run for around 48 hours before it needs to be wound again.

5. Heritage and Space Connection: The Caliber 1861 is a descendant of the Caliber 321 movement that was used in the original Speedmaster watches worn by NASA astronauts during space missions, including the historic Apollo moon missions. The Caliber 321 was replaced by the Caliber 861 and eventually the Caliber 1861.

6. Manual Finish: The movement is not visible through a transparent case back in the CK2998. While modern watches often feature exhibition case backs to showcase the movement, the CK2998 maintains the aesthetics of vintage chronographs.

7. Reliability and Legacy: The Caliber 1861 movement is celebrated for its reliability and historical significance. Its use in the Speedmaster CK2998 further solidifies the watch’s connection to space exploration.

IV. The Design and Aesthetics of the Omega Speedmaster CK2998

The design of the Omega Speedmaster CK2998 pays tribute to its heritage while offering a contemporary twist. Its vintage-inspired aesthetics evoke nostalgia, capturing the essence of mid-century design. The mix of polished and brushed surfaces on the stainless steel case contributes to its allure. The use of the “alpha” hands and the original “lollipop” central chronograph hand harkens back to the early days of the Speedmaster’s legacy.

1. Symmetrical Case: The CK2998 features a symmetrical stainless steel case with straight lugs, harking back to the classic design of early Speedmaster models. The balanced proportions and clean lines contribute to the watch’s timeless appeal.

2. Black Bezel with Tachymeter Scale: The black aluminum bezel with a white tachymeter scale offers both functionality and a sporty touch. The tachymeter scale allows for quick calculations of speed based on time and distance.

3. “Panda” Subdial Layout: The dial layout is often referred to as a “panda” configuration due to the white subdials on a contrasting black dial background. This arrangement includes a 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock, a 12-hour counter at 6 o’clock, and a continuous seconds subdial at 9 o’clock. The subdials enhance the chronograph’s functionality and balance the design.

4. Alpha Hands: The alpha-style hands are elegant and vintage-inspired, contributing to the watch’s classic look. The central chronograph seconds hand features an arrowhead tip for precise timing.

5. Red Accents: The use of red accents adds a dynamic touch to the CK2998’s design. The red chronograph hands, red “Speedmaster” text, and red “TACHYMÈTRE” text on the dial provide visual interest and a pop of color.

6. Teardrop Lugs: The CK2998’s teardrop-shaped lugs add a unique and graceful touch to the case design. This feature sets it apart from other Speedmaster models and adds to its vintage charm.

7. Hesalite Crystal: The watch features a hesalite crystal, a type of acrylic, which was used in vintage Speedmaster models. This crystal material adds to the watch’s vintage aesthetics.

8. Vintage-Inspired Logo: The Omega logo on the CK2998’s dial is the vintage-style logo that hearkens back to earlier Omega watches. This detail contributes to the watch’s nostalgic appeal.

9. Iconic “Seahorse” Case Back: The case back features the iconic Omega Seahorse emblem, further emphasizing the watch’s heritage and connection to Omega’s history.

10. Limited Edition Details: Some versions of the CK2998 are released as limited editions, which might include unique case back engravings or additional design elements to commemorate the watch’s significance.

The Omega Speedmaster CK2998’s design and aesthetics encapsulate the spirit of a vintage chronograph with its symmetrical case, “panda” subdial layout, alpha hands, and red accents. These elements come together to create a timelessly stylish watch that pays homage to Omega’s horological heritage while retaining its appeal in the modern era.

V. Omega Speedmaster CK2998 Variations: Limited Editions and Vintage Models

The Omega Speedmaster CK2998 has seen various variations, including limited editions and vintage models, each with its unique characteristics and appeal. Here’s an overview of some notable CK2998 variations:

1. Original CK2998:

The original CK2998, introduced in 1959, set the foundation for the Speedmaster’s legacy. It featured the iconic “panda” dial layout, alpha hands, a black bezel with a tachymeter scale, and a symmetrical case design.

2. Limited Edition CK2998 Models:

Omega Speedmaster CK2998 Limited Edition (2016): In 2016, Omega released a limited edition CK2998 as part of the Speedmaster “First Omega in Space” collection. It paid homage to astronaut Wally Schirra’s personal CK2998 worn during the Mercury-Atlas 8 mission. This edition featured a blue nylon strap, blue subdials, and a blue seconds hand, adding a contemporary touch to the vintage design.

Omega Speedmaster CK2998 Limited Edition (2018): Another limited edition CK2998 was released in 2018 as part of the “Speedy Tuesday” collection, which was created in collaboration with the online watch community. This version featured a blue and silver color scheme, a “lollipop” central chronograph seconds hand, and a radial subdial pattern. It gained attention for its unique aesthetic and the “Speedy Tuesday” engraved case back.

3. Vintage CK2998 Models:

Vintage Originals: Collectors and enthusiasts seek out original vintage CK2998 models from the late 1950s and early 1960s. These models offer a genuine connection to the watch’s history and represent a significant piece of horological heritage.

Pre-Moon CK2998 Models: Some vintage CK2998 models are referred to as “pre-Moon” because they were produced before the Moonwatch era. These models have a special place among collectors due to their historical significance and rarity.

4. Modern Interpretations:

Modern Omega CK2998 Models: While not limited editions, Omega has released modern CK2998 models that pay homage to the original design while incorporating contemporary materials and manufacturing techniques. These modern interpretations maintain the classic design elements that define the CK2998.


Collectibility: Limited edition CK2998 models and vintage originals can be highly collectible and sought-after among watch enthusiasts.

Aesthetic Preferences: Different variations offer unique color schemes, design details, and limited edition engravings. Choose the one that resonates with your personal taste.

Historical Connection: Vintage CK2998 models hold a special place in the history of horology and space exploration, making them particularly appealing to history buffs and watch collectors.

The Omega Speedmaster CK2998 has seen various limited edition releases that pay homage to its historical significance. These limited editions often feature subtle updates while retaining the CK2998’s distinctive design elements. Vintage models of the CK2998 are highly prized by collectors, embodying a sense of nostalgia that transports enthusiasts to a bygone era of exploration.

VI. Omega Speedmaster CK2998 vs. Speedmaster Professional: What’s the Difference?

The Omega Speedmaster CK2998 and the Omega Speedmaster Professional (often referred to as the “Moonwatch”) are both iconic models within the Speedmaster collection, but they have distinct differences in terms of design, features, and historical significance. Here’s a comparison of the two:

Omega Speedmaster CK2998:

1. Historical Connection:

The CK2998 is an early iteration of the Speedmaster, introduced in 1959. It was worn by astronaut Wally Schirra during the Mercury-Atlas 8 mission, making it the first Omega worn in space.

2. Design and Aesthetics:

Vintage Appeal: The CK2998 boasts a vintage-inspired design with a “panda” dial layout, alpha hands, and a symmetrical case design.

Distinctive Elements: It features a black bezel with a tachymeter scale, red accents on the chronograph hands, and a classic stainless steel case.

3. Movement:

Manual-Winding Movement: The CK2998 typically features the Omega Caliber 1861 manual-winding movement, which offers reliable timekeeping and chronograph functionality.

4. Limited Editions:

Limited Editions: There have been limited edition CK2998 models released over the years, offering unique color schemes, design elements, and case back engravings.

Omega Speedmaster Professional (Moonwatch):

1. Moonwatch Legacy:

Lunar Exploration: The Speedmaster Professional earned its nickname “Moonwatch” by being the first watch worn on the Moon during the Apollo 11 mission in 1969. It holds a legendary place in space history.

2. Design and Aesthetics:

Iconic Design: The Speedmaster Professional features the signature asymmetrical case, hesalite crystal, and “tri-compax” dial layout with the three subdials at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock.

Straight Lugs: Unlike the CK2998’s teardrop lugs, the Moonwatch has straight lugs.

3. Movement:

Manual-Winding Movement: The Moonwatch is powered by the Omega Caliber 1861 movement, known for its connection to space missions and its historical lineage from the Caliber 321.

4. Historical Significance:

Lunar Surface: The Moonwatch’s presence on the Moon’s surface during Apollo 11’s historic moon landing solidifies its place in history as a symbol of human achievement.

5. Standard Model:

While there are different variations of the Speedmaster Professional, the classic Moonwatch model has retained its iconic design and features over the years.

Key Differences:

Historical Moments: The CK2998 is associated with early space missions and being the second Omega worn in space, while the Moonwatch has the distinction of being the first watch worn on the Moon.

Design and Aesthetics: The CK2998 has a vintage-inspired design with specific details like a panda dial layout, while the Moonwatch features the iconic asymmetrical case, hesalite crystal, and tri-compax dial layout.

Historical Significance: The Moonwatch’s connection to the Apollo moon missions and its place in space history give it unparalleled historical significance.

While both the Omega Speedmaster CK2998 and the Speedmaster Professional (“Moonwatch”) share common lineage, they each have their unique characteristics. The CK2998 pays homage to the early days of space exploration and offers a vintage aesthetic, while the Speedmaster Professional remains closely tied to its moon landing heritage. The choice between the two models often comes down to personal preferences, whether one seeks a historical connection or a direct tie to the lunar mission.

VII. How to Care for and Maintain the Omega Speedmaster CK2998

Caring for the Omega Speedmaster CK2998 ensures its longevity and continued performance. Regular cleaning, proper storage, and occasional servicing by certified watchmakers are essential. Avoiding exposure to extreme temperatures and magnetic fields will preserve the watch’s accuracy and appearance. Following these care guidelines ensures that the CK2998 remains a cherished heirloom for generations to come.

Caring for and maintaining your Omega Speedmaster CK2998 is essential to ensure its longevity, performance, and aesthetics. Here are some tips to help you keep your watch in excellent condition:

1. Regular Winding:

Since the CK2998 is a manual-winding watch, make sure to wind it regularly to keep it running accurately. Wind it gently and evenly to avoid overwinding.

2. Storage:

When not wearing your watch, store it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and extreme temperature changes.

3. Cleaning:

Clean the watch with a soft, lint-free microfiber cloth to remove dirt, fingerprints, and smudges. Avoid using abrasive or harsh materials.

4. Hesalite Crystal Care:

The hesalite crystal can be prone to scratches. Be cautious around hard surfaces and sharp objects to prevent damage.

5. Water Resistance:

The CK2998 is not designed for diving, and its water resistance might be limited. Avoid exposing it to water, especially when the crown is pulled out.

6. Servicing:

Regular servicing by a certified watchmaker is crucial to maintain the watch’s accuracy and condition. Follow Omega’s recommended servicing intervals.

7. Avoid Magnetic Fields:

Keep your CK2998 away from strong magnetic fields, as they can affect the accuracy of the movement.

8. Strap and Bracelet Care:

If your CK2998 has a leather strap, avoid prolonged exposure to water and moisture. Leather can deteriorate when wet.

If your watch has a metal bracelet, clean it periodically to remove dirt and sweat.

9. Professional Maintenance:

If you notice any issues with timekeeping, accuracy, or other functions, consult a certified Omega service center or watchmaker for professional assessment and repair.

10. Authenticity and Parts:

If you need replacement parts or service, ensure that you consult authorized Omega service centers or reputable watchmakers to maintain the authenticity of your watch.

11. Historical and Vintage Pieces:

If you own a vintage CK2998, it’s especially important to handle it with care and consider its age when cleaning and servicing.

Remember that caring for a luxury watch like the Omega Speedmaster CK2998 requires attention and regular maintenance. Following these guidelines will help you preserve your watch’s value, appearance, and functionality over the years. Always refer to Omega’s official care and maintenance recommendations and consult authorized service centers for expert advice and assistance.


The Omega Speedmaster CK2998 stands as a testament to Omega’s enduring commitment to precision, innovation, and heritage. Its connection to the early days of space exploration and its vintage-inspired design make it a treasure for collectors seeking a piece of horological history. As the CK2998 graces the wrists of those who appreciate its significance, it continues to remind us of humanity’s relentless pursuit of discovery and the role that a timepiece can play in capturing the essence of time and exploration.


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