The Omega Speedmaster is undoubtedly one of the most historically significant wristwatches in the world. Alone its role in the Apollo Moon missions is enough to make this series from the Swiss manufacturer a legend.
- Legendary chronograph series originally introduced in 1957
- Speedmaster Professional: NASA's Moonwatch
- Manual, automatic, and quartz calibers
- Co-Axial technology in the newest mechanical calibers
- Titanium cases for the Skywalker X-33 and Spacemaster Z-33
Chronographs Since 1957
The entire Speedmaster collection is much more diverse than the Professional "Moonwatch" version would suggest. The series meets a variety of needs, from the traditional '57 model to a modern pilot watch with a digital display. However, all of the Speedmaster models possess the high functionality and technical perfection of one of the leading Swiss watchmakers.
Louis Brandt founded the company in 1848 under his own name. A pocket watch series from 1894
was the first to carry the name Omega. The name is taken from the last letter of the Greek alphabet, which symbolizes completion. At the turn of the century, Brandt's successors decided to adopt Omega
as the company's name.
Omega introduced their first chronograph in 1942, which is considered the predecessor to the later Speedmaster. The chronograph was powered by caliber 27 CHRO C12 and could time up to 12 hours. The first Speedmaster was brought to the market in 1957. In 1963, Omega released a new version, which would become famous around the globe: the Professional.
Over the following decades, Omega continued to add to the series. Today, the Speedmaster collection also includes quartz watches with digital displays and countless additional functions. However, the models from earlier years have remained almost unchanged.
Are you looking for a watch with both impressive history and technology? The Speedmaster collection offers a large selection of chronographs. The manufacturer emphasizes the functional nature of these watches, differentiating them from those in the De Ville collection. This allows the more classic, elegant De Ville dress watches to take on another role in Omega's portfolio.
If you have concrete technical demands for your watch, you will limit the available selection. If you want a watch that deviates by only a few seconds per month or one with an alarm function, then you should consider a battery-powered Speedmaster with a quartz movement, such as the Skywalker X-33 or the Spacemaster Z-33.
If you prefer watches with mechanical movements, history, and the potential to increase in value, then you need look no further than the '57 model, the Mark II, or the Racing. The Professional series offers several interesting models and special editions, both modern and vintage.
The Speedmasters with reference number 2998 from the early 1960s are the rare precursors to the Professional. You should be prepared to spend more than 20,000 euros for one of these rare watches. A well-maintained Professional from the mid-1960s costs around 10,000 euros. These watches were produced before the Moon landing and have reference number 105.12 and caliber 321.
A Moonwatch made after 1968 can be identified by its reference number, 145.022, as well as its caliber, 861. Such a watch usually costs around 10,000 euros, though some could cost more depending on their condition and rarity.
Omega still produces the watch to this day with little to no changes from the original. New, the watch costs around 3,500 euros. It can be identified by its reference number, 318.104.22.168.01.005. This version is the authentic version, which you can confirm by examining the glass used. This watch uses Hesalite, as was standard in the 1960s. Hesalite is Omega's name for Plexiglas. It doesn't splinter and can be affordably produced and replaced. The Professional with reference number 322.214.171.124.01.006, on the other hand, uses sapphire glass. Sapphire glass is synthetically produced and is harder and more scratch-resistant than mineral glass or Plexiglas, but also more expensive. For a new version of the Speedy with sapphire glass, you can expect to pay about 300 euros more than for the Hesalite version.
- Early Professional versions have the potential to increase in value
- Reference numbers of vintage models: 2998, 105.12, 145.022
- Caliber 321: used pre-Moonwatch
- Caliber 861: used in the Professional after 1968
- Limited special editions such as the Speedmaster Professional Snoopy
The Savior of the Apollo 13 Mission
The Professional is still the most significant and renowned Speedmaster model. If any wristwatch has earned the title of "famous," then it's this one. On July 21st, 1969, the first human beings landed on the moon, equipped with the Omega Speedmaster Professional. Not only did the astronauts endure a long and arduous selection process, but the watches did as well. NASA subjected select mechanical watches to harsh conditions: extreme temperatures from -18 to 93 °C (-0 to 200 °F), vibration, and excess and vacuum pressure, among others. In March 1965, it was determined that the Speedmaster Professional performed the best and thus, it joined the crews of the Gemini and Apollo missions.
Unfortunately, an oxygen tank exploded during the Apollo 13 mission in April 1970, causing significant damage to the spacecraft. In order to return to Earth safely, the astronauts had to change course. The crew had to burn their rockets for exactly 14 seconds with a maximum deviation of 10%. A minor error would have sent them past Earth, lost in the vastness of space. The Speedmaster was used to time the maneuver and proved itself once again - the change, of course, was successful. Upon the astronauts' safe return home, NASA awarded the Speedmaster with their highest honor, the Silver Snoopy award.
In 2015, Omega celebrated the 45th anniversary of Apollo 13's safe return home with the Moonwatch Anniversary Limited Series. Peanuts character Snoopy, the namesake of NASA's award, is at the subdial at the nine o'clock position. A 925 sterling silver medallion featuring Snoopy in space is located on the reverse side under the sapphire glass case back. The watch also features a white dial, unlike the usual Speedmaster Professionals with black dials.
The Traditional Professional
The true Omega classic is the Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional 42 mm. This traditionally features a manual caliber and stainless steel case. The design of the chronograph from the Apollo missions has remained nearly unchanged for decades. The black bezel features a tachymetric scale. The 30-minute recorder subdial is located at the three o'clock position, and the 12-hour recorder subdial is at the six o'clock position. The decentralized seconds is located at the nine o'clock position. However, there are a few changes from the original model. The hands and indexes no longer use the radioactive material tritium to achieve their luminous effect. Instead, they use SuperLuminova. Additionally, Omega now uses scratch-proof sapphire crystal glass instead of Plexiglas. These are modifications that the majority of die-hard Speedmaster fans can live with. Omega stays true to tradition with the watch's movement, however. The manual-winding caliber 861 is the same one that was worn on the Moon and has a 48-hour power reserve.
Back to its Roots: the Speedmaster '57
Omega returns to its roots with the Speedmaster '57, first introduced in 2015. The Speedmaster derives its name from its original purpose as a watch for timing car races and other sporting events. Omega produced the first Speedmasters in 1957. They had bezels featuring tachymetric scales, which allow for the calculation of speed based on time and distance. Omega returns to these historical models with the new '57 model, debuted in 2015. The watch has a tachymetric scale and the hour hand has a triangular tip, while the minute hand ends in an arrow point.
The Racing model
is even more geared towards racing than the Speedmaster '57. It features a stopwatch function
and a tachymetric scale
. The three chronograph hands and a line along the tachymetric scale add a luminous yellow accent
amid the otherwise gray and black design. It's rounded out by a rubber strap with "Speedmaster" written in yellow. The band's pattern resembles a tire tread or asphalt on a racetrack. The Racing is run by a mechanical movement and is a good alternative to the Rolex Daytona
The Spacemaster Z-33 and the Skywalker X-33: Digital Numbers and Titanium Cases
The Spacemaster Z-33
is a unique addition to the Speedmaster collection. Its case was inspired by the Flightmaster 1969 from Omega's Pilot's Line. The rest of it, however, is completely modern. It features a digital display together with an analog display
. Four large push-pieces jut out from the 43-mm titanium case
. The digital display on the dial can display UTC time (synonymous with GMT) and two other time zones, and the watch also features a perpetual calendar, an alarm, a stopwatch, and a countdown timer. The red LED lighting on the black background adjusts its intensity based on the brightness of its surroundings. Three large hands are located in front of the digital display and tell time in the traditional analog fashion. A quartz movement
makes the Spacemaster Z-33 and its numerous functions possible. The movement compensates for minuscule deviations in precision caused by variations in temperature, making it even more precise than regular quartz movements. A more traditional pilot watch is the Navitimer
The Skywalker X-33 is also powered by a quartz movement and features an analog/digital display. It was designed with the needs of space flight in mind, and can be considered the modern successor to the traditional Speedmaster Professional. It has a 24-hour display, alarm, stopwatch, and a bidirectional rotatable bezel, among other features. The watch's case is made of titanium and has a diameter of 45 mm.
Black and Orange Contrasting Chronographs
The Speedmaster Mark II
has been a part of the collection since 1969. It features a bezel with a tachymetric scale embedded in a stainless steel case, making it well protected against scratches. The chronograph's central second hand and the hour markers
stand out in fluorescent orange
against an otherwise black and white dial
. Omega powers the Mark II with a mechanical caliber featuring a silicon balance spring. Silicon is anti-magnetic and is increasingly being used in high-quality watches. A pioneer in the use of this material was the manufacturer Breguet
A Size for Slender Wrists
A smaller version of the Speedmaster has a 38-mm case diameter and is well-suited for both men and women. Some models have a more feminine look with diamond-set bezels. Other versions of the 38-mm Speedmaster resemble the Professional and complement a thinner wrist.
The Speedmaster HB-SIA occupies a special position within the series. Its namesake is the Solar Impulse plane, registered as HB-SIA. This solar energy project is run by Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg and funded by Omega. The Speedmaster HB-SIA models are chronographs with automatic movements. The GMT function keeps track of a second time zone with its separate hand. The case has a diameter of 44.25 mm and is made of titanium to keep it light. Omega uses a Co-Axial escapement in both the HB-SIA and other mechanical movements in the Speedmaster collection. This relatively new technology improves the caliber's stability and precision.