In 1957 Omega decided to establish itself in the professional timepiece market by introducing a trilogy of models, now dubbed "The Holy Trinity" by collectors, destined to write one of the most important pages of modern watchmaking. All three models, the Seamaster 300, Railmaster and Speedmaster shared the same basic features that made them instantly recognizable and immediate best-sellers: all three had dials and hands with contrasting colors, were easily readable, water-resistant and anti-magnetic. They became historical and legendary material, each model in the family carving out its own place in watchmaking history, but it was the chronograph that was destined for greatness.
Initially conceived as a descendant of the Seamaster, the fledgling Speedmaster ref. 2915-originally developed for high speed-introduced a radical idea into chronograph design: any elements that lowered and impeded immediate legibility were removed from the dial and placed outside. Simply put, the tachymeter scale, usually printed on the dials of classic chronographs, was removed from the dial and placed on the outer bezel, creating a clean, modern design that was in fact a world first at the time.
Reference 2998, which we present in the photos, was launched in 1959 to replace the original reference 2915 and remained in production for only three years as production ceased in 1962, although experience reminds us that some examples were still delivered the following year.
Small changes (different hands, bezels, or dials) were made to reference 2998 throughout its production period, each change being defined by the number after the dash in the reference number engraved on the caseback. In this case: 2998-1 means that it was the first iteration of this reference.
With a movement number 17'301'462, this is one of the earliest and most impressive known and important 2998 references in Omega Speedmaster history.
Released in 1959, early examples like the present watch used the famous hand-wound Lemania caliber 321, used by Omega from 1946 to 1968 offering optimum performance and reliability and only recently put back into production.
Equipped with its original black tachymeter bezel graduated to 1000 units, the watch features an extraordinary dial with a perfectly black background. In addition, the luminous material is evenly aged and shows a consistent patina on all hour markers and hands.
Movement no: 17'301'462
Model name: Speedmaster
Material: Stainless steel
Caliber: Manual, cal. 321, 17 jewels
Buckle: Omega steel pin buckle
Dimensions: 39 mm diameter