If you think the title is a bit cheesy, I agree with you. But if you’re reading this, it worked. The word “love” is a tad overused these days, especially when we talk about hobbies and material things. There’s a forced pathos surrounding the word that I just can’t get my head around. Still, there’s no better way to describe my emotions toward a small handful of the watches in my collection.
My 1969 Omega Speedmaster Transitional is this kind of watch. No incredible story behind it, not a family heirloom, or anything like that. Instead, I worked hard to connect to this timepiece. And while I’ve moved on as of late to other pieces in my daily rotation, the Speedmaster Transitional will never leave my collection.
A Rare Bird
Before I jump into the story, let me tell you about the watch itself. The Omega Speedmaster Transitional is a rare watch because it marks a short period when the brand moved away from its former specific design elements and caliber. Although the Transitional may look like the 321-caliber Speedies from the 60s, they in fact house the more advanced 861 movement. They also have some of the features of a 321 Speedmaster that collectors adore: the DoN (dot over 90) bezel, or the applied steel Omega logo the brand had brought back years prior to this. The untrained eye might think this model looks like the more sought-after and expensive older-generation Speedmasters, but the reality is that this is a transitional model between two eras. This may also explain why it’s hard to get your hands on a cheap one nowadays.
But that wasn’t the case when I got mine 11 years ago. In 2012, I was very involved with watches, and heavy into Omega. My humble collection included a Speedmaster from 2006, which was considered a relatively new watch. Something however kept drawing me to vintage watches, and to Speedmasters in particular. One day, I decided to sell my modern Speedy to help finance a vintage model.
Yes, back then you could do that. My modern watch was gone, the money was in my bank account, and the hunt began for a vintage Speedmaster. I could opt for a 321 or an 861 model; the price was relatively the same. The logical side of me said to get the best of both worlds: a watch that looked vintage, but that had the more advanced movement inside. (As an aside: I got this wrong years later when I purchased a 321, but that’s a story for another day.)
Remembering the Late 60s and Early 70s
I found a freshly-serviced Omega Speedmaster Transitional in the UK, made a deal with the owner, and a few days later, the watch landed on my table. I even had some money left over from the sale of my 2006 Speedy. Those were the days! The watch looked great, and the service papers and even a small bag of all the swapped-out parts were included in the package. I truly couldn’t complain. I was over the moon with the watch. It wasn’t my first Speedmaster (I’d owned two before that), but it came from the era I loved the most, the late 60s and early 70s. My Speedmaster Transitional became the cornerstone of my collection, and while I may have moved on and expanded my watch lineup, it has stayed with me all this time, and has even traveled with me around the world.
When certain vintage watches increase in value these days, you think twice before taking your expensive timepiece on the road. But I didn’t feel that way back then. Any time I visited a country I hadn’t been to before, my Speedy was on my wrist. I walked through airport security gates with it and threw it in the seat pocket on the plane without ever thinking twice about it. It was also the watch I wore for important events in my life, so thank God the Speedmaster is such a versatile timepiece. Whether it was a black-tie event or a friend’s birthday, my trusted Speedy Transitional was on my wrist. Even when I found myself wearing new and different timepieces, this watch has stayed in the box until I’ve rediscovered my love for it.
Though time has moved on…
One thing is certain about any collection: it will continually evolve with your taste. What you once found nifty might not move you the same way anymore. Other watches will take the place of the ones you love now, until you realize at some point how long it’s been since you last wore a certain timepiece. As my collection got bigger, I focused on other watches, and enjoyed wearing them more. The honeymoon phase with my Speedmaster Transitional was long. And as I reflect on the past ten years of my life, browsing through photos, I can see how much I’ve changed, as has my life. But one thing has remained: In most of these pictures, I’ve got my Speedmaster Transitional on my wrist. Here’s to another decade with my trusted Speedy.