Here is a luxury timepiece that has been reissued, resurrected, redesigned, and had its features skewed towards human accomplishments and triumphant sports personalities so many times. It has been in existence for more than 60 years and it has been a favorite investment of watch enthusiasts ever since.
It is the iconic Omega Speedmaster.
Why is the Omega speedmaster called as such?
This was because it was released in correlation to motorsports racing. That is why it’s called the Speedmaster. But read on and discover why in later years, it departed steadily from its motorsports image and became heavily involved in chronicling space exploration achievements.
The history of Omega speedmaster
Omega first released this chronograph in 1957. Since then, several variants of this Omega timepiece have been sold and marketed under the Speedmaster title.
It was part of a marketing strategy by Omega to launch 3 genres of watches that are oriented towards specific professions. They are the Diver’s Watch (Omega Seamaster 300), the Scientist or the Electro-Magnetic Field Specialist Watch (Omega Railmaster) and the Motorsports Professional (Omega Speedmaster).
The first Speedmaster model with Reference CK 2915, was also known by the name of the Broad Arrow. The Omega Speedmaster was the first chronograph with a scale engraving on its external bezel instead of its dial. It was designed by Claude Baillod, a Swiss. It featured characteristics which reflected a Speedmaster for several years until other Speedmaster variants took over: the high contrast index markers, the triple register chronograph design and the domed Plexiglass crystal.
The dial had perfect balance and proportion. It has broad arrow hands and straight lugs. The bezel was made of steel in engraved black print. The diameter size of its case was 39 mm.
What was the movement chosen for the original Speedmaster?
It was the Calibre 321 which was first known in 1942 as a joint project between Omega and Lemania, a subsidiary of Omega during this period. Lemania supplied the movement as an ebauche (Lemania Caliber 2310).
Calibre 321 is considered one of the best models of a lateral clutch and column wheel controlled chronograph. It was also used as their base movement by other brands such as Patek Philippe, Breguet and Vacheron Constantin in their chronographs
In 1946, this original Speedmaster movement was improved further to add protection to magnetic fields and shocks. When it was outfitted into the Speedmaster, this was one advanced feature which enabled it pass with flying colors the NASA accreditation to be discussed below.
The second Speedmaster edition with Reference CK 2998 was launched with its alpha hands and black aluminum bezel with enhanced readability. The case size was increased from 39 mm to 40 mm. This was also the first time that the O-Ring gasket surrounding the push buttons was used to improve the water resistance of the timepiece.
3) 1962 and 1963
Omega introduced Speedmasters in rapid succession in 1962 (Reference ST 105.002) and 1963 (Reference ST 105.003). These were the years when the typical straight baton hands of the Speedy were seen by the public.
At about this time later in 1963, another Speedmaster with Reference ST 105.012 was released. This time, the case size was increased further to 42 mm but as an asymmetrical case, which added protection to the chronograph pushers and crown of the watch.
The “Professional” wordings first appeared below the Speedmaster logo right on the dial in the summer of 1965.
Omega had decided this year to replace the calibre 321 movement with the more accurate but cheaper to produce calibre 861, which was also fabricated by Lemania.
Up to the present day, calibre 861 is still the movement in new Omega Speedmaster Professional watches being manufactured.
On July 20, 1969, the first ever crewed moon landing took place. It is one of the most dramatic scientific glories of human history with the famous crew, led by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin onboard.
In a tribute to this lunar landing heroes, Omega launched the Speedmaster BA145.022. This edition had 18k yellow gold and had a rare burgundy bezel. It had an inscription on its case back which said “To Mark Man’s conquest of space with time, through time, on time.”
It housed the calibre 861 and was the first Omega timepiece which was a commemorative numbered edition. Only 1,014 units were produced from 1969 to 1973. The first 2 units made were for US President Richard Nixon and number 2 was made for Vice President Spiro Agnew. But they were returned to Omega because of strict US government gifting ethics.
Models 3 to 28 were handed over to NASA astronauts. Watches number 29 to 32 were gifted to Swiss watch industry bigwigs and Swiss government leaders, without any engraved number on them. The public were then allowed to purchase models 33 to 1000.
Also, to commemorate the first manned lunar landing, the Speedmaster Professional’s case back was altered. The Hippocampus was replaced with engravings of “The first watch on the moon” and “Flight qualified by NASA for all manned space missions.”
But in 1971, the Hippocampus was returned to the case back together with the words above. This design on the case back is still what is in use today on Speedmaster Professional watches.
The Speedmaster was again selected by NASA as its official chronograph in 1978 for its new Space Shuttle program after, again, a series of rigorous tests. The timepiece was also tested aggressively at the Russian space station MIR between July 1993 and July 1994. It was also a success for the Speedmaster and it was again awarded a certificate by the MIR crew.
The Speedmaster has become the most tested watch in the world by then.
Because of these new certifications attesting to the quality of the Speedmaster, Omega again created a number of variants which included automatic models, reduced models, sapphire crystal versions (instead of the Plexiglass) and different case metals and dial colors.
Two Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch Apollo 11 40th Anniversary Limited Series watches were launched. One was in stainless steel and 7.969 units were made and the other edition was in platinum and 18 Ct yellow gold wherein only 69 pieces were made.
Omega released 2 Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Limited Editions.
The first edition was patterned after the design of the Speedmaster BA 145.022 and production was limited to only 1,014 pieces. It was made in 18k gold alloy and powered inside by manual wind Master Chronometer calibre 3861.
The second edition was done in stainless steel with a polished bezel made out of 18k Moonshine gold. This is an alloy which is still patent pending and has a paler tone than the usual yellow gold. It offers high resistance to fading and it has a black ceramic bezel ring with a Ceragold tachymeter scale. It has a laser engraved image on its 18k Moonshine gold plate of Buzz Aldrin going down from the Eagle to reach the moon surface.
It was also in 2019 that Omega declared that the popular calibre 321 was back into production.
This is the year when the Speedmaster Moonwatch Master Chronometer is launched. It is an update that retains the fourth generation Moonwatch style (ST 105.012) as its model.
All the classic design features are present – the classic 42 mm asymmetrical case with lugs that are twisted; the step dial; the minute and seconds hands covered by a dome which follow the bevel of the step dial, the double bevel case back ; and the popular dot over 90 (DON) and the dot diagonal to 70 on the anodised aluminum bezel ring. Water resistance is still 5 bar which is approximately 50 meters or 165 feet.
Inside is the Co-Axial Master Chronometer Calibre 3861 which qualifies the timepiece as a Master Chronometer. The minute track of its dial is split into 3 divisions, whereas there are 5 divisions on previous models.
When did the connection of the Omega Speedmaster with the space race start?
The most important milestones, however, in the history of this watch, all have something to do with space exploration. After some astronauts used their own Speedmaster watches onboard Gemini missions (early 1960s), NASA decided to officially select a watch to be worn by its crew members aboard explorations.
After a strict selection process, the Omega Speedmaster became officially the Space professional’s watch, not only the motorsports hero’s timepiece.
Actually, the Speedmaster has been worn in all the 6 moon landings, earning it the monicker of The Moonwatch.
Although the word Speedmaster is more in connection with motorsports racing which is really the original intention of the marketing of this timepiece, it is more associated with the lunar landings, but Omega has decided not to change its name. But The Moonwatch nickname still stands for it up to now.
But then, Omega didn’t stop there. It utilized the popularity of the Speedmaster name into other variants which all have personalities of their own.
Different versions of Omega Speedmaster
1) Omega Speedmaster Racing. It is obviously designed for the use of motorsports racing due to its stopwatch operation and its tachymeter bezel. But it’s not alone because Daytona and Carrera are also much linked to motorsports functions.
One variant is the Speedmaster Racing Master Chronometer Ref 329.30.44. 51.01.001. On its black dial, you will see the signature racing style minute track. It is a vintage feature first seen in a Speedmaster watch in 1968. It has a hefty 44.25 mm stainless steel case topped with a black ceramic bezel. Inside is the Omega Co-Axial Master Chronometer 9900 Automatic Movement.
Speedmaster Racing also has Michael Schumacher variants explained below.
2) Omega Speedmaster Olympic Games Since 1932, the Olympic Games has been the stronghold of Omega, being the official timekeeper of the Games since then. To honor this tradition, Omega has produced many Olympic edition watches, including several Speedmasters.
A case in point is the Beijing Olympic Games Speedmaster version Ref. 3220.127.116.11.01.001. Instead of the 2 or 3 standard registers, this Speedmaster has in their place 5 registers. They imitate the famous interlocking Olympic rings. These 5 sub-dials consists of a 12 hour recorder, a 30 minute counter, a tiny seconds dial, a day indicator, and a 7 day totalizer.
3) Vintage Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch. The mid 1960s was the time when Omega started creating Speedmasters with the word “Professional” well designated on the dial. It has a large asymmetrical case with a crown guard. It was in production from 1964 to 1968.
In 1969, Omega released a Speedmaster professional version Ref. 145.022 with a case back with the words “The First Watch On The Moon” and an engraving saying “Flight Qualified By NASA”. Omega was obviously taking advantage of the timepiece’s fortunate connection to space exploration. It was in production until 1988.
4) Modern Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch. Ref. 318.104.22.168.01.001. Whereas the Vintage Moonwatch had the word “Professional” on the dial, this time, in the Modern Moonwatch, in its place are the words “Co-Axial Chronometer”. After more than 50 years after an Omega Speedmaster landed on the moon, this timepiece is still being continued through this Modern Moonwatch edition.
Among its modern features are a solid 44 mm steel case and a black enamel dial. The threesome of sub dials, date window and center hands are energized by the Co-Axial Caliber 3313 inside the case which has 52 hours of power reserve. You can see the movement through a scratch resistant sapphire crystal at the watch’s backside.
5) Omega Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon Moonwatch. First released in 2013, it’s another take on the iconic Moonwatch which is a tribute to the 1968 lunar journey. This mission marked its 50th anniversary in 2018 and this timepiece was one of the most endearing novelties that was put up on display at the Baselworld 2018.
That mission was the second manned spaceflight engineered by the USA and was also the first to leave the sacred orbit of the earth. Then it reached the moon and made its own lunar orbit, then returned successfully back to the earth.
Omega became so enamored with space travel that it came out with several pieces connected to these missions, The Dark Side of the Moon being one of them. This 1968 mission also paved the way for the more famous Apollo 11 mission in 1969 which enabled man to to first walk on the moon and from where the Speedmaster earned its Moonwatch monicker..
The Dark Side of the Moon is the first Moonwatch to have a skeleton edition of its iconic movement, the Caliber 1861.
Another distinctive appeal of the Dark Side of the Moon is its blackness. Its 44 mm diameter, 13.8 mm thick exterior case is made wholely of jet black zirconium oxide ceramic.
6) Omega Speedmaster Reduced Ref. 3510.50. There is no more Speedmaster Reduced in production anymore, but it is an Omega timepiece that is available and in demand in the secondary market. Its 38 mm steel case makes it a smaller version of the Speedmaster.
It doesn’t have the word “Professional” but instead “Automatic” to distinguish the Caliber 3220 in its internal section. The 3, 6 and 9 o’clock counters are spread out more than the Professional Speedmaster variant and there are minute markers instead of hour markers. It is more affordable and is a favorite starter Omega chronograph watch.
7) Omega Speedmaster Apollo 13 Silver Snoopy Award Limited Edition Watch. It is a Speedmaster introduced at the Baselworld 2015 Fair. It was designed in connection to the 45th anniversary of the NASA Apollo 13 moon journey. At its counter near the 9 o’clock, there is a figure of a lazy Snoopy, the clever dog of the cartoon world who symbolizes indolence.
The 7th Human Moon Journey, through Apollo 13, was done on April 11, 1970, and was celebrated through the launch of the Speedmaster Silver Snoopy Award 45 years later, in 2015. The journey was a mixed success if analyzed through the context of space exploration because of an explosion which occurred 2 days before the launch and the crew experienced several problems during the mission. Thus, the journey earned a profile of an “Unsuccessful Success”.
Only 1970 pieces of the Speedmaster Silver Snoopy Award was ever produced.
8) Omega Speedmaster Digital Skywalker X-33. It first took flight in 1998 when it was launched at the Johnson Space Center of NASA as a certified timepiece for use in space shuttles. The launch included a live video feed from the Mir space station where first generation X-33 watches were juggled by two cosmonauts in zero gravity.
The irony is the current model is not NASA accredited but it has been in use for the European Space Agency (ESA) in their manned space flights.
In power saving mode, the hands are zeroed out (both move to 12 o’clock position) and paused from movement, but all timing functions continue in the background digitally. It also has an alarm sound that is louder than usual for a watch (about 80 decibels). This is for the purpose of overcoming noisy environments expected on a flight deck of a Space Shuttle.
It is built out of titanium and has a ceramic bezel with a chromium nitride scale. Its LCD display has an electroluminescent backlight.
9) Omega Speedmaster Alaska Project. Reference PIC 322.214.171.124.04.001. Created in 2008 as a limited edition with only 1,970 pieces made, it is based on the Alaska II project which utilized a standard Omega Speedmaster with a customized dial and with hands (baton with rocket subdials) that are in conjunction with an external anodized aluminum thermal shield. This design enabled the watch to resist temperatures in lunar or spatial environments, ranging from – 148C to +260C.
Its dial is colored white with a 42 mm steel case that has the calibre 1861 movement inside. It is domed with Hesalite glass.
What were the events that led to the adoption of the Omega Speedmaster as the official NASA watch?
During the years of the first crewed space missions, the Speedmaster was already the personal watch of choice of several astronauts. Wally Schirra, the astronaut aboard the solo flight Mercury spacecraft done in October 1962, was wearing his own Speedmaster with Reference CK 2998.
With the Mercury Space Program almost completed, NASA was already preparing for both the Gemini 2 man missions and the Apollo 3 man missions. The astronauts are expected to be doing activities outside their spacecraft. So they need wristwatches which could withstand the harsh conditions in space.
With these equipment necessities needing to be addressed, starting in 1962, NASA discreetly and without identifying itself, purchased different brands of chronographs. This is for the objective of finding the best watch in the market for the astronauts’ use in space.
By 1964, the watches that satisfied the conditions laid out by NASA, were now bought publicly by NASA and were put through a rigorous series of tests and pre-selection procedures which were called the Qualification Test Procedures.
Out of the 6 watches that made it this far, only 3 survived the rigid pre-selection part. Then the trio endured trials which only top quality timepieces can overcome. The tests were:
1) Relative humidity. The watch should stand temperatures between 68F and 160F (20C and 71C) for 240 hours at a relative humidity of 95 percent minimum.
2) High Temperature. The watch should resist a temperature of 160F (71C) for 48 hours and then a temperature of 200F (93C) for 30 minutes.
3) Low Temperature. The watch should likewise survive a temperature of – 18C for 4 hours.
4) Temperature Pressure. Heating then Cooling. 15 cycles of heat for 45 minutes at 71C, followed immediately by – 18C cooling for 45 minutes at 10-6 atm.
5) Shock. 6 different shocks of 40 G each were subjected to the watches. Each shock has 11 milliseconds duration done in 6 different directions.
6) Oxygen Atmosphere. The watch was placed in an atmosphere of 100 percent oxygen with a pressure of 0.35 atm, for 48 hours.
7) Decompression. The watch was placed in a vacuum of 10-6 atm with a temperature of 160F (71C) for 90 minutes and then also at 200F (93C) for 30 minutes.
8) Acceleration. Speed up from 1 G to 7.25 G in a span of 333 seconds, on an axis parallel to the longitudinal spacecraft axis.
9) Vibration. The watch was made to resist 3 cycles of 30 minute vibration which varied from 5 to 2000 Hz.
10) High Pressure. Survive a 1.6 atm for a minimum duration of one hour.
11) Acoustic Noise. Resist for a time period of 30 minutes a 130 db over a frequency range of 40 to 10,000 Hz.
BY March 1, 1965, the tests were completed and it is only the Omega Speedmaster that passed them all. NASA’s testers were impressed and they announced that all operational and environmental tests were subjected to the 3 finalist chronographs. Omega Speedmaster was the only one that got approved and it has been calibrated and issued to 3 astronauts of the Gemini Titan III.
James Ragan, the NASA engineer who was the overall overseer of the qualification tests, said that the Omega Speedmaster served as a reliable back up, in case the astronauts lost the function of talking to the ground or if their digital timers on the moon surface didn’t operate according to plan. If they had a problem, the Speedmaster will compensate reliably, in deep space.
Omega was never informed officially about the rigorous tests during their duration. Instead, the watch company only learned about the Speedmaster’s acceptance into the space program when Omega people saw a photograph of Ed White executing the USA’s first spacewalk during the Gemini 4 mission in June 1965. The Omega Speedmaster was seen attached to his arm through a long nylon strap strapped in with velcro.
With this surprising discovery which added even more integrity to the Omega brand, the watch company made the decision to add the word Professional to the watch, turning it officially into the name Omega Speedmaster Professional. It had a new reference number which was 145.012.
Omega even made proud advertisements announcing “Now you can own the same Omega Speedmaster all American Astronauts wear in space”, and also “The chronograph. Would NASA select second best?”
On July 20, 1969, when the first crewed moon landing was achieved with Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong and other crew onboard, Armstrong left his Speedmaster on the ship as a backup because the electronic timing system on the Lunar Module was not functioning well, and stepped on the surface of the Moon. But 19 minutes later, Aldrin joined him, wearing his Omega Speedmaster Professional. A few months after this mission, it was alleged that Aldrin’s watch was stolen and never returned.
This remarkable achievement was honored by Omega through the introduction of the Speedmaster BA145.022 which was mentioned above in the history of the Speedmaster.
But the irony in the present day is that new Omega Speedmasters are not being sanctioned by NASA anymore but are still being handed over to astronauts and cosmonauts for their use by the European Space Agency (ESA) if they have space launches by way of Russia space bases.
You would say that the Omega Speedmaster is all space exploration and there is nothing to identify it to motorsports racing except for its inherent features. That is so wrong because Michael Schumacher, the darling of F1 racing is an ambassador of Omega and there are Omega Speedmaster Schumacher editions that have been released. What are they?
First, let’s do a backgrounder about Michael Schumacher. He became the Formula One World Champion seven times. He was active in F1 from 1991 up to 2006, took a pause, then returned in 2010 up to 2012. He had a near fatal skiing accident in 2013 which made it mandatory for him to avail of continuing medical treatment up to the present day.
1) Being an advertising partner for Omega, when Michael Schumacher won his 3rd Formula One title in 2000, the Omega Speedmaster Racing timepiece was issued a Schumacher edition with the F1 champion’s signature on the case back.
2) When Michael Schumacher won the World Championship for Formula One for the sixth time in 2003, Omega wanted to celebrate his feat with the introduction of a Speedmaster broad arrow model. It was called the Omega Speedmaster Legend and its production was only limited to 6000 units. The timepiece was available in 3 color tones for its dial – red, black and white.
The most popular version of the Omega Speedmaster Legend is the one with the white dial (Reference 3559.32.00). Its dial and layout remind one of those vintage Rolex Paul Newman Daytonas. It has been discontinued and you can find one in the pre-owned field.
3) Aside from the Speedmaster Legend with Reference 3559.32, there was another Schumacher linked Omega Speedmaster that was produced also in connection with the 6th Formula One World Championship of Schumacher. This time, fabrication was only limited to 500 pieces and it was believed to be marketed for Japan where Schumacher’s 6th World F1 title was earned (at the 2003 Japan Grand Prix). It was also alleged that those 500 pieces of Omega Speedmasters (with Reference 3553.32) were made especially for the Schumacher Ferrari Team.
Have Omega Speedmasters ever been sold in auction?
Yes, vintage Speedmasters have been sold in auction. One of the most prominent sales was on May 13, 2018 at The Geneva Watch Auction: Seven. An Omega Speedmaster with Reference CK 2915-1 was sold in auction at a new world record of 408,500 Swiss Francs or over $460,000. It is a well maintained 38 mm stainless steel chronograph timepiece that was made in 1958. The original owner bought it in Costa Rica.
Are Omega Speedmasters also waitlisted?
Yes, some models are also waitlisted, especially the ones with limited production.
One such perfect example was when the Omega Speedmaster Heritage Model, also called as Speedy Tuesday, almost instantly sold out all its 2,012 pieces when an Instagram post announced its availability on a Tuesday.
The Speedy Tuesday hashtag was started by Robert-Jan Broer (owner of Fratello Watches) in 2012 through an Instagram post about this Speedmaster edition which was launched.
When it sold out, 7,500 individuals were put on the waiting list immediately, and waited patiently for the lucky first 2,012 buyers of the Heritage Speedmaster watch to put them up on sale on the secondary market. These waitlisted individuals had to swallow the pre-owned market price of double the $6,500 original retail price of the watch in order to get one.
Fratello Watches online could have made a killing in sales in the pre-owned market, thanks to the Speedy Tuesday Instagram post of its owner.
Celebrities wearing Omega Speedmaster
1) There are famous people who have been seen wearing an Omega Speedmaster. Tom Hanks and George Clooney are seen in public wearing a Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional.
Hanks, of course, wore the timepiece when he played Commander James Lovell in Apollo 13. But there was an obvious historical mistake there because in the film, Hanks wore the Speedmaster on his left wrist but Lovell, in real life, wears his Speedy on his right wrist because of his left handedness.
But Hanks kept on wearing his Speedmaster for several years after shooting the film.
2) The latest James Bond, Daniel Craig, was an enthusiastic owner of a stainless steel Omega Speedmaster before he became 007 on the big screen. He was seen around town in 2004 wearing it with pride. But in his last James Bond film, No Time To Die, which is yet to be released because of postponements due to the pandemic, he takes to wearing a customized Omega Seamaster Diver 300M.
3) The great British guitarist and singer Mark Knopfler, who was one of the founders of the Dire Straits band and who continued his success with a solo career, is obviously an Omega fanatic. He can be seen in public wearing several Speedmaster watches for decades. One favorite Speedy for the Sultan of Swing is a gold Speedmaster 57 reissue of a stainless steel vintage Speedmaster Professional.
4) Dennis Quaid is an American actor who starred in the film The Right Stuff. Here, he portrayed astronaut Gordon Cooper amid pilots from the US Marines, Air Force and Navy who were joined together for aeronautical research. Quaid, while portraying Cooper, was wearing a Speedmaster. But in real life, he could be seen wearing his own Modern Speedmaster.
5) The English actor and comedian James Corden was doing his Carpool Karaoke segment (on The Late Late Show With James Corden) with singer Michael Buble when he was spotted wearing his Classic Speedmaster.
Unforgettable Omega Speedmaster Advertisements from the Past.
Omega has always issued glamorous but effective advertisements throughout the decades. They would either speak about luxury or be connected to a human achievement.
1) We choose to go to the moon. The reason why this ad is so special because it brings together 2 icons, President John F. Kennedy and the Omega Speedmaster. Both have instrumental roles in the multiple moon landings that have been accomplished. The ad shows the president while he was doing the speech in front of 40,000 people with an Omega Speedmaster piece in front of him.
2) How can a man in a $27,000 suit settle for a $235 watch? This ad asks a powerful question which makes the reader contemplate about the big strides man had made in space together with the Omega Speedmaster. The ad also emphasizes on the fact that the Speedy was the only chronograph that was authorized by NASA to go up in space with the astronauts because it was the only watch that was able to survive all the grueling tests of NASA simulating harsh conditions in space.
But the $235 price for the Speedmaster is an incredibly low estimate by the ad maker back in 1973. If you were to estimate, adjusted for inflation, that $235 value would only translate to around $1,400 which could never buy you an Omega Speedmaster.
3) Significant Moments. Those were the words on this advertisement. Then it shows a picture of an astronaut on the moon and an Omega Speedmaster in front. Then words below signifying the Speedy’s relationship with the Olympics, the lunar landings and in important personal events of the reader of the ad.
Omega, ever since the 1930s, has been the official timekeeper of the Olympic Games. That’s why it wants to link this up with another big accomplishment of the brand – being the only watch to be authorized by NASA on the spacecrafts and on the moon. And in turn, it also relays the message that the Speedmaster could be a part of our personal lives too.
Do You Need to take off your Speedmaster when you swim?
While it’s true that there is a Seamaster logo on the Speedmaster’s case back, it’s not designed for diving and swimming just like the Seamaster timepiece. Don’t push it too far even if it has a claim of a 50 meter water resistance. Better to take it off before dipping into the water.
Getting caught in the rain or accidentally dropping liquids on the Speedmaster is a different thing, because the 50 meter water resistance will do it justice, and the sooner you take it off from your wrist after these events, the better.
And try not to operate the crown or the pushers while it’s wet. You’re asking for trouble.
If you can’t really avoid getting it wet or accidentally slipping and falling into the pool, have your Speedmaster’s gaskets checked immediately.
But for your information, there are Omega Speedmasters with a higher water resistance of 100 meters like the Speedmaster Co-Axial Master Chronometer Moonphase model.
The basic guideline is to keep your Speedmaster out of reach of water.
Is the Omega Speedmaster Still Being Issued to Astronauts?
All astronauts (both NASA and ESA) who go into space exploration by way of Russia in the present day, still receive an Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch plus the digital Omega Speedmaster Skywalker X-33. Aside from these watches, other astronauts are not inhibited at all from wearing the watch that they prefer or are associated with, as long as they function well in the space atmosphere and they don’t present any problems in connection to the space exploration.
But it should be noted that it is only the Omega Speedmaster that is the approved and authorized timepiece for manned space missions by NASA.
What are the hand wound calibers used on Omega Speedmasters and how often should you wind them?
Omega Speedmasters have several brilliant hand wound calibers used on various editions such as the 321, 861, 863, 864, 866, 1861, 1866, 3861 and the 3201 (F. Piguet base) that was inside the 2007 Speedmaster with the enamel dial in time for the 50th year anniversary of the Speedmaster. The timepieces they are on have a range of 48 to 52 hours of power reserve, depending on the Caliber being used.
The requirement for winding these watches is only the time when they are almost down to zero in power reserve. But if winding them is the first thing you do when you wake up for the day, that’s good enough. But winding them while they are on your wrist is a mortal sin because this causes tension on the winding stem.
Where can you buy an Omega Speedmaster?
Firstly, Omega has its own website and you can order directly from there. There are also several Omega boutiques worldwide plus a large retailer network where the vast range of Omega watches, not only the Speedmaster, are sold.
If you want to save money but have the itch to own a Speedmaster, buy pre owned and vintage Speedmasters from reputable dealers and also from private individuals who are willing to let go of their Speedies for a reasonable price.
Do your homework when buying either brand new or pre owned Speedmasters. There are Facebook groups or watch enthusiast platforms online which are willing and able to assist you with pertinent Speedmaster information before you finally make a purchase.
Where are the original Omega Speedmaster timepieces worn by Aldrin, Armstrong and the other crew members of the Apollo 11?
Of course, the Speedy we are most interested in is the one worn by Buzz Aldrin because he was the first man to step on the moon. His Speedmaster Professional had a Reference 105.012. Aldrin was supposed to ship his timepiece along with other mission equipment to the Smithsonian, but they apparently never reached the museum, as to what reason, we don’t know. But Armstrong’s and the other crew members’ Speedies are now US government property and are all on display at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.
Will the Omega speedmaster hold its value?
The rule of thumb for Omega Speedmasters is that they lose about 20 percent of their value in the first year. Then depending on many factors, including supply and demand, the popularity of the Speedmaster variant, the condition of the watch, and also if the Speedmaster edition had stopped production, the price will fluctuate according to its perceived value in the public’s eyes.
If you come to think of it, Omega produces millions of watches a year. So, Speedmasters are abundant unless some variants are produced in limited quantities, like the Omega Speedmaster Silver Snoopy Award which had only 1970 pieces in production. When Omega introduced the 2015 special edition of the Silver Snoopy Award, it was worth $7,350. After one year, a new and never used Silver Snoopy Award had risen in value to over $11,700. At present, you could get it at a price hovering around $23,400. Limited editions really do command a good price in the market.
If Omega wants to upscale the price value of its Speedmasters, it should limit production, just like what Rolex, Richard Mille and Audemars Piguet are doing. There is an intentional cut down on the production of expected popular models to create the atmosphere of scarcity which creates demand, and pushes up the price.
But the Omega brand attached to the Speedmaster will always ensure that its price, no matter what the variant is, will never dive so low because Omega is an old and reputable Swiss made quality brand that is very much respected by watch enthusiasts and collectors.
What is the most influential Omega Speedmaster of them all?
You could argue with this or put in your own best Speedy, but there is no doubt that the greatest Speedy is the Omega Speedmaster 105.003. It was discontinued in 1966, but it created a legacy for Omega to enable it to produce continuously Speedmaster after another Speedmaster throughout the decades. And it also created an awareness to the general public about the immensity in influence of the space exploration achievements to the advancement of mankind.
This straight lugged Speedmaster was the reference watch tested by NASA and passed all those brutal tests. It was subjected to all kinds of watch torture like pressure and temperature changes, shocks, vibrations and humidity – yet came out as the chronograph watch of choice for NASA.
In space, it was the first Omega to function in space during Ed White’s first American Extra-Vehicular activity in Space in 1965, which was one of the early years of space missions.
Also, in a milestone of sorts, it was the first Omega to leave the capsule, and also the last Speedmaster to depart from the moon during the Apollo 17 mission which was the last lunar landing journey of the Apollo program. As such, this watch witnessed the whole breadth of the program and book-ended the glorious days of space exploration.