Omega released the latest update to the Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional chronograph early this year with some much appreciated upgrades. Several changes were made to the dial and case, but most notably, the movement is now co-axial and anti-magnetic. For speedy owners, a magnetised Speedmaster happens once ever so often and can be quite a pain sometimes. Apart from its technical improvement, the new iteration also features several design updates to the dial and case.
New details and changes
1. Upgraded movement 3861 vs 1861
As mentioned, the new model uses the 3861 co-axial caliber, an upgrade over the previous 1861. The new 3861 is in essence the same lemania based chronograph movement with a cam and lever actuation. It however, comes upgraded with a Co-Axial escapement and is a certified Master Chronometer. The movement is also resistant to magnetic fields reaching 15,000 gauss unlike the 1861 that is prone to magnetism. This is largely attributed to the free-sprung balance with silicon balance spring.
The movement has a rhodium-plated finish and decorated bridges with Geneva waves.
2. Step Dial
The step dial was found on vintage Speedies dating pre 1975. Its most recent appearance was notably made in the SpeedyTuesday Ultraman edition. Bringing back vintage features shows the product team’s attention to detail and understanding of what collectors like to see in their Moonwatches.
3. DON Bezel
The DON Bezel which is short for dot over ninety is also recreated here as a standard model feature. This is once again, a vintage model detail not previously seen on the 3570 variant. The model prior to the 2021 version uses the dot next to 90 bezel.
4. Thinner case
The watch is similarly sized at 42 mm as with the previous edition, but is now thinner than before. The hesalite variant measures 13.6mm and the sapphire variant at 13.2mm. The previous generation models measured 14.3mm and 13.7mm respectively.
5. New bracelet and clasp
The most obvious change is the bracelet. The new bracelet is more similar to the ref.3590 models with a shorter end-link as opposed to the T shaped protruding end-link on the ref 311.30 or ref 3570 models. This is a much welcome change, since the new bracelet curves better around the wrist and effectively shortens the lug to lug width. The clasp is also redesigned with vintage styling.
Key differences between the hesalite and sapphire models
1. Closed vs Open Caseback
Beginning with the obvious, the hesalite model is lower-priced and comes with a closed caseback. While purists will prefer the ‘warmth’ of the hesalite, and the legitimacy of closed caseback on sports watches, Omega adds an additional feature tier for those who prefer viewing the liner clutch movement.
2. Fully brushed bracelet vs Brushed bracelet with polished mid-links
Previously, the only difference between the sapphire and hesalite models are the crystal at front and back. However, the new models also have different bracelet finishing on respective crystal models. The hesalite variant uses a fully brushed bracelet, while the sapphire crystal variant has polished center mid links. Shown below is the sapphire crystal variant with contrasting polished mid links.
3. Printed logo vs Applied polished logo
Another visual difference is the logo type. The hesalite variant uses a printed Omega logo, while the sapphire crystal model has an applied polished logo. This is also used on the First Omega in Space, and the SpeedyTuesday Ultraman, although the latter uses a vintage font Omega logo.
This is a great update. As an owner of 1861 variant Speedmasters, I have had a fair share of magnetised Speedies at some point or another. And this is from a careful/seasoned watch wearer who actively avoids magnetic ‘occurences’. The new 3861 is great news, considering it still uses a similar base movement, with the much loved horizontal clutch layout but with co-axial and anti-magnetism. For the sake of accuracy, and overall confidence in your watch, the new movement makes alot of sense.
Apart from that, the main upgrade is the bracelet; which looks many times better than the previous protruding end-link bracelet. Not only does that make the 42mm watch look like its 45mm, it is pretty bad in terms of comfort for those with more slender wrists. The new end link and more subtle design is a very nice update.
All the additional features which bring back the vintage cues are a plus, although seemingly algorithmic. One downside of course, is the upwards direction in price, and the reduction in accessories, like the nato strap and velcro strap, the loupe and strap changing tool in the previous edition. Of course, those are easily sourced OEM or otherwise, but still a sore thumb for those who remember the old large box set Moonwatches. The watch is priced at US$6300 in hesalite and US$7150 in sapphire.
I love it!!! I have had both Hesalite and currently “Sapphire” version (and a Rolex 114060 Sub) I love the coaxial movement and “I gotta get one of these”. Kind of like a beat up old Pinto and a shiny new Corvette (which I’ve had 2) both get you from poin A to point B, which one would YOU RSTHER DRIVE.
I have one simple question:
Why is a “Moon” or “Apolo” Omega watch so much appreciated over the normal Date or Day,Date Omega’s, which have more functionalities than the former ones, including automatic rewinding?
The historical connection to the moon and Apollo is super cool, isn’t it?