Last Tuesday, we saw how the latest limited edition Speedmaster – the “Speedy Tuesday” – was sold out within three and a half hours. It is quite a mean feat, considering each of the 2,012 pieces comes with a price tag of S$8,400. But it does prove that the appeal of the Speedmaster is simply phenomenal.
Why is the Omega Speedmaster such a commercial success? Well, we can attribute it to two main reasons.
The primary reason is perhaps the fact that the Speedmaster has an interesting provenance. The watch, which is affectionately known as the “Moonwatch”, is touted as the first timepiece that was worn on the moon. That alone is mind-blowing. Honestly, there are not many watches out there that can boast such incredible credentials.
The other plausible reason for the Speedmaster’s popularity can be attributed to its aesthetics. The watch (specifically, the Professional) features a timeless design, which look very beautiful and relevant even after so many years. We like the triple sub-dial layout, together with the iconic black tachymeter scale. The overall combination is rather classic, but one that is looks very relevant even till this day.
But before we continue, we highly recommend readers to check out the history of the Speedmaster as well. The article can be found in the link below.
Recommended Reading: Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch. These are the Voyages…
Besides the “Moonwatch”, Omega had produced many different variants of the Speedmaster as well. For this week’s article, we will be looking at some of our favourite Speedmasters from our archives. What have we selected? Well, let’s find out!
Omega Speedmaster Professional
We start off with the most quintessential piece from the Speedmaster collection – the Professional, or otherwise known as the “Moonwatch“.
The watch was launched in 1957, as a manual-winding chronograph that was initially meant for either sports or racing. Its association with the outer-space was only established a few years later, when NASA selected the Speedmaster for both its Gemini and Apollo mission. Its position was further cemented in 21 July, 1969, when Buzz Aldrin wore his Speedmaster when he exited the spacecraft and took his first step on the moon.
Over the years, the “Moonwatch” had undergone several changes, most notably in terms of its movement and bracelet design. However, the main essence of the timepiece remains. In terms of its aesthetics, it still looks similar to its predecessors, sans some subtle cosmetic changes. The latest reiteration, with the Calibre 1861 movement, retails at S$6,850. The watch is very well-priced in our opinion, and we think that this is one of the “must-have” watches in any watch collection.
Omega Speedmaster CK2998 Limited Edition
The long history of the Speedmaster means that there are certain pieces from its archives that are generally more popular. One of the them is the CK2998, which is the second reference in the fabled collection.
The CK2998 Limited Edition, launched last year, pays tribute to one of the most popular vintage Speedmasters in the collection. It is not entirely an exact copy of the original, which is a good thing. The main difference between this and its original variant lies in the colour scheme – the new CK2998 LE features both blue and white extensively. This gives the watch a rather nice contrast. There are also several interesting touches with this piece, in particular the use of “alpha” hands for the minute and hour hands, and the lollipop seconds’ hand. Other distinctive features also include the blue highlighted minute track, and the lack of crown guards at the side of the case.
Limited to 2,998 pieces, the manual-winding CK2998 Limited Edition is said to have been sold out long ago. However, a few of them do pop up once in a while in the resale market, but do be prepared to pay a slight premium above its retail price of S$8,400.
Omega Speedmaster Apollo 13 Silver Snoopy Award
The association between Snoopy and Omega is an interesting one. The watch manufacturer was awarded the “Snoopy Award” in 1970, in recognition for contributing to the safe landing of Apollo 13. It is said that the spacecraft had been crippled by a damaged service module oxygen tank, and that the Speedmaster was used to accurately time the critical 14 seconds Mid Course Correction manoeuvre.
Omega had initially produced a limited edition Speedmaster Professional “Snoopy Award” in 2003, to commemorate this. It was very well-received, and it is one of the most sought-after timepieces in the Speedmaster collection till this day. In Baselworld 2015, to the delight of Omega collectors, they had produced yet another “Snoopy” Speedmaster. This one is a tad different from its predecessor, with a stunning white dial and some interesting use of the lume. The latter is especially pronounced in the picture above, which depicts a glowing tachymeter scale and hour markers that are surrounded by luminescence.
Overall, the Apollo 13 Silver Snoopy Award is a breath of fresh air from the usual Speedmasters. But it is still nonetheless a highly desirable and stunning timepiece. The production is limited to 1970 pieces, with a retail price of S$9,500. Similarly, one or two pieces have popped up in the secondary market occasionally, with a slight premium over its original retail price. However, for fans who have owned the first “Snoopy” Speedmaster, then perhaps this is one of the timepieces that they will not want to miss!
Omega Speedmaster Professional Apollo 11 45th Anniversary Limited Edition
When we first saw the Apollo 11 45th Anniversary L.E. in Baselworld 2014, we were pleasantly surprised. It is so similar, and yet so different from the “Moonwatch”.
How so, you might ask. The watch, at the first glance, features almost all the DNA of a “Moonwatch”. Its base design, the case shape, as well as the overall feel simply reminds us of the iconic chronograph. But conversely, it is yet so different as well. Firstly, the watch is cased in both Sedna Gold and brushed titanium – in which the latter really makes a difference in the weight of the watch. The next, and perhaps the most striking aspect of this particular watch, is its exquisite brown dial. The PVD dial is produced using a special engraving method, in which the portion that surrounds the different elements (such as the subdials, indices, as well as emblems) are removed. The result is simply spectacular.
The Apollo 45th Anniversary L.E. is similarly powered by a manual-winding movement, the Calibre 1861. Notably, this version is fitted with a matching NATO-inspired fabric strap, which pays homage to the straps that the astronauts use during the space missions as well. For those who wants a Speedmaster that is slightly different from the usual, then this is perhaps a timepiece that is worth considering.
Omega Speedmaster Mark II
The Omega watches from the 70s and 80s were a tad interesting. They are typically stylish in design, with extensive use of colours and different case shapes to make itself stand out. The Speedmaster Mark II, which was originally launched in 1969, is one of our favourite Omega timepieces from that era.
In Baselworld 2014, Omega had decided to launch an updated version of the Mark II. The 2014 variant still remains true to its roots. The watch retains its distinctive case shape, together with its dial design and the bracelet of the watch. However, the new variant features several updates as well. This includes the new Co-Axial Calibre 3330 self-winding movement, which features a Si14 silicon balance spring, a column-wheel chronograph mechanism, and a date display. In addition, the tachymeter scale glows in the dark as well, which adds a nice touch to the chronograph.
The Mark II is available in three different variants at the moment, although we have a slight preference for the model with the orange accents (the one that we have pictured above). Priced at US$6,250, we reckon the new Mark II offers collectors the best of both worlds – combining the latest mechanical bits into a vintage-looking timepiece from the yesteryears.
Omega Speedmaster MK40
We end the article with a modern classic from the Speedmaster collection, with the colourful and vibrant MK40.
The MK40 is a deviation from the Speedmaster Professional, or the “Moonwatch” as most of us had known. It comes with a smaller case (39mm), as well as an automatic movement with a triple calendar complication. The watch is powered by Omega’s Calibre 1151, which is derived from the Valjoux 7751 movement. What makes this Speedmaster really interesting is its design. We like the use of different colours for the watch (especially the needles, as well as the 24 hour indicator). The hour markers, which have a dark cream colour, add a rather nice touch as well.
The price proposition of the watch is pretty excellent too. The discontinued watch, with a long list of functions (which includes both the chronograph and the triple calendar complication), can be found on the secondary market for slightly over S$2,000. It is definitely a relatively value-for-money timepiece, and it is something that is slightly different from the usual Speedmaster watches.
Even though we have just highlighted six Omega Speedmasters from our archives, but that is merely the tip of the iceberg. Since its inception in 1957, Omega had produced countless Speedmasters, each featuring different complications, designs, and case materials. Each of them are excellent in their own ways, and there are definitely different collectors who will prefer different types of the Speedmaster.
Personally, we think that the Speedmaster Professional (or the “Moonwatch”) is the timepiece to go for, if one is looking to buy a Speedmaster. It would be even better if one is able to source for a vintage piece, fitted with either the Calibre 321 or 861 movement. But having said that, the modern Speedmaster – with the Calibre 1861/1863 – is probably one of the best chronographs at that price point. There aren’t many watches that are able to boast such provenance, with a decent movement and a timeless design that stretches back to the late 1950s. And at the current retail price of S$6,850, we think that the price tag is relatively reasonable as well.
However, if you already owned the “Moonwatch”, there are definitely many more Speedmasters out there for you to expand your collection. You’d be spoilt for choice. There are actually two paths that you can choose – either the vintage models, or the modern limited edition pieces. Both of them offer collectors something different, and they are truly watches that can add a new dimension to any watch collection.
So, do you agree with the watches that we have selected? What are some of Speedmasters that you think deserves a place in the list? Let us know in the comments section below!