Speedmaster: Vintage 321 or Modern?
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  1. #1
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    Speedmaster: Vintage 321 or Modern?

    Hi all

    Set on picking out a Speedmaster. Tried on both the 3750.5 and FOIS, they were both outstanding; I was pretty torn.

    Even with how much I like the modern models, something keeps drawing me back to a .321 pre-pro. However this would be a daily wearer and I'd like to it restored; Really just the movement and dial are important to me, original parts or resale aren't as important to me.

    I guess I'm drawn towards the idea of having something less common and I fear if I go with one of the new (again, really great) models that I'll be left wondering what could've been...

    Thoughts?

    I realize there have been many threads on the speedmaster's so any previous links would help.

  2. #2
    Member pascs's Avatar
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    Re: Speedmaster: Vintage 321 or Modern?

    Although I like the 3750, I dont think its dial has the same character as the older dials with patina .....and so I've never bought a 3570 because of that.

    I have a '69 861 movement and a '67 321 movement - both I really like but to be honest the 321 stays in the box and the 861 gets worn more. Why? because I dont want to damage the value of the 321 by a chance knock or drop when worn on a daily basis.

    I also have a FOIS, and that is a modern Speedmaster with character and the reliability of a new movement. I could easily live with the FOIS as my daily Speedmaster and then save to buy an early 321 with straight lugs as an occasional wearer

    However my favourite one at the moment is this one .....

    A few Ω Seamaster, Speedmaster and flightmaster
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  3. #3
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    Re: Speedmaster: Vintage 321 or Modern?

    I experienced the same thought process before finally choosing a FOIS earlier this year.

    The FOIS is:

    - New, with warranty.
    - More dressy than "professional" than the ordinary 3570 (More polished(?), sapphire crystal, silver hands, no crown guard...).

    I would go as far as saying that it is probably one of the special editions that is closest to having its own identity; for better or for worse.

    The 3570 is:

    - Easier to customise to your tastes (straps, etc.).
    - More usable in a daily rotation than the 321 and probably also the FOIS.

    Easy to find, cheaper, has more history than the FOIS...

    The 321s are:

    - More expensive than the 3570 - if you want the condition to be good.
    - Less readily servicable (some parts are apparently difficult to source).
    - Not more fragile than the 3570, IMO.

    ...This is a tough one. I would have LOVED to have a 321, and spent a LONG time looking for the right one. In the end I chose a FOIS as a 3570 was "too common" (really only on WUS...) and I had great difficulties finding a 321 in a condition I could accept and with a price tag I could afford. They DO come up from time to time, though... Also, had I chosen a 321, I suspect I might have babied it.

    Naturally, after buying the FOIS, a number of very suitable 321s have come up for sale - such is life!

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  5. #4
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    Re: Speedmaster: Vintage 321 or Modern?

    If I had been on the market today, I would have had money on the way out of my bank account for this watch:

    Omega Speedmaster Vintage - 1966

    Ticks pretty much all boxes for me. Unpolished, not too banged up case, dot-over-90 bezel, pretty even patina, ORIGINAL bracelet - comes with two years warranty from a Danish shop.


    In my eyes it's a steal.

  6. #5
    Member Spacefruit's Avatar
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    Re: Speedmaster: Vintage 321 or Modern?

    The 321 is for me a far more satisfying watch to own. (And find!)

    The trouble is, it is going to be hard for someone with your level of experience to go and find one that you will still like in a year.
    Buying a good 321 takes knowledge, then some luck, and often more money than the "experts" say you should pay.
    Oh, and patience. Lots and lots of patience, and the ability to say "NO" numerous times, as well as the drive to keep looking.

    An FOIS on the other hand, just takes money.

    Anyone, anyone at all, can buy an FOIS.

    Very few people on the planet can buy a 321 Speedmaster and end up with one they like.

    (I mean no disrespect to modern watch owners)

    So decide what you want to do, and do it.

    Whatever it is, do post pictures of what you get!

  7. #6
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    Re: Speedmaster: Vintage 321 or Modern?

    Was expecting a harder push to the 3570, seems like everyone on the forum has one and loves it. Both of you FOIS owners seem to feel good about it as a daily watch which is very encouraging towards it.

    My gut is telling me to go for the 321 (the one you linked is really nice ConElPueblo, though I have been approaching my search with a pre-pro criteria in mind) and I think I will continue that search for the time being.

    Spacefruit, can you comment more on the idea of not liking the watch in a year?

    Would like to reiterate my willingness to restore parts, not sure how that will factor into responses.

    Thanks again, nice to have some help in this.

  8. #7
    Member pascs's Avatar
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    Re: Speedmaster: Vintage 321 or Modern?

    The 321 is getting old and there are many 321's out there which have been messed around with to make them look nice to the first time buyer. Many first time buyers will be happy from that point on never realising that their 321 is a mix of parts which may not be the correct part or age for the watch.
    If they then take the time to read up on all the detail of these watches they might find that there great looking watch infact contains many incorrect parts and then they could feel disappointed with it.

    The 321 takes care to restore because some parts are extremely rare to have the genuine patina and these are often the parts which get replaced and reduce the appeal of the a watch fitted with the incorrect parts. And incorrectly restored just adds another 321 to the growing list of incorrect 321's out there.

    I do agree that anyone (who has the money obviously) can buy a new watch from the dealer but this is also a trouble free way to get into Speedmaster ownership, then later once you get really hooked on the Speedmaster, you can search out that 321 to keep for your collection
    Last edited by pascs; December 16th, 2013 at 11:45.
    A few Ω Seamaster, Speedmaster and flightmaster
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  9. #8
    Member richardew's Avatar
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    Re: Speedmaster: Vintage 321 or Modern?

    There are pros and cons to owning a new vs vintage speedmaster.
    With a new speedmaster you get a watch without any scratches or nicks. The ones you pick up will be "yours". It will have lume, for what it's worth. It will have a warranty and should it ever need repairs there should be no issues with parts, etc. It will however, depreciate. It will put a smile on your face.
    With a vintage speedmaster, i.e. a c321, you will be on the slippery slope. Lately prices seem to be on the high side. You need to have some expertise in order to select the proper watch at the proper price. You can always post photos of one that you are considering on a forum and have it critiqued by the members, but if it's a great find you risk increasing the interest in the watch and hence possibly increase the price and number of bidders (if it's an ebay auction). Repair and service of a c321 watch isn't as straight forward as a c861 or c1861. The standard items replaced in routine service (crown, pushers, gaskets, crystal) seem to be readily available. It is an old movement that has been out of production for a while and some parts will be more difficult to find. The c321 shouldn't depreciate but if you get one at a good price it will appreciate.
    I have a '69 861 movement and a '67 321 movement - both I really like but to be honest the 321 stays in the box and the 861 gets worn more. Why? because I dont want to damage the value of the 321 by a chance knock or drop when worn on a daily basis.
    The 321 is getting old and there are many 321's out there which have been messed around with to make them look nice to the first time buyer. Many first time buyers will be happy from that point on never realising that their 321 is a mix of parts which may not be the correct part or age for the watch.
    If they then take the time to read up on all the detail of these watches they might find that there great looking watch infact contains many incorrect parts and then they could feel disappointed with it.
    I wear my c321s all the time. They are not fragile! They went to the moon and have been worn in space. They are as tough as they get. Once you get schooled on vintage speedmasters (there are a number of internet resources out there that will make you an expert), you will be able to identify a proper watch vs. a Frankenwatch. It is not all that hard to look at a watch and assess it. If you do get a vintage one you have to be careful who services it for you. The more original the more valuable. If you do "restore" it, keep the original parts. I wear these 4 regularly. They are all awesome watches. My solution to the dilemma you face was to buy a new one and a bunch of vintage ones. The one you posted a link for is a good looking 105.012-66. I have 2. They are some of my daily wearers.
    Name:  7.3.13_23321s take 2.jpg
Views: 733
Size:  261.0 KB

    Ebel 1911 Quartz
    Constellation Day/Date 1320
    Louis Brandt II perpetual calender
    DeVille Prestige chronograph 4840
    Speedmasters

  10. #9
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    Re: Speedmaster: Vintage 321 or Modern?

    Quote Originally Posted by richardew View Post
    Name:  7.3.13_23321s take 2.jpg
Views: 733
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    That's showing off!

  11. #10
    Member richardew's Avatar
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    Re: Speedmaster: Vintage 321 or Modern?

    That's showing off!
    Yes, they are some nice ties aren't they.
    mt1tdi likes this.

    Ebel 1911 Quartz
    Constellation Day/Date 1320
    Louis Brandt II perpetual calender
    DeVille Prestige chronograph 4840
    Speedmasters

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