The Swiss-made Omega Speedmaster watch replica, originally introduced in 1957, is a legendary timepiece if for no other reason than it was the first watch worn on the moon during the Apollo 11 Mission in 1969, a fact Omega hasn’t let timepiece enthusiasts ever forget.Although the subsequent 50+ years has seen the release and evolution of a number of Speedmaster variants, the Professional models have the highest appeal, and are constantly in demand by collectors. Furthermore, the Speedmaster Professional has a lasting appeal due to its straightforward design and reliable functionality as a mechanical chronograph, and is still in production today with a design which is (relatively) unchanged from the original models.
This is by no means an exhaustive look at the history of the Omega Speedmaster chronograph replica, and there are better resources to get into the nitty gritty of each of these models and all those in between than what I can present here.
While you could just walk into your local Authorized Dealer and pick up the latest version (which at the time of writing is the reference 3570.50), vintage Speedmasters are a tremendously enticing alternative, and I am constantly on the lookout for the very best examples from the last half-century. Even with their nearly identical looks, there are numerous versions and references to take into consideration should you decide to embark on the journey of obtaining a vintage Speedy, and what follows is a brief description of three of the most desirable models that I commonly recommend for my clients.
Instead, this is a quick look at three versions of the original “Moon Watch,” with pointers on why they are desirable, and what to look for in each. Regardless of which version you might choose to go with, owning an Omega Speedmaster Professional is a joy and a privilege, and puts you into a fraternity of timepiece enthusiasts that is perhaps unparalleled by any other for its breadth, scope, and nearly universal appreciation.
Many enthusiasts buy into the hype that Superluminova is better, and if you’re looking for luminescence that you might use in the field, or say, outer space, then they’d be right – Superluminova is far superior choice for the job, which is why most modern tool watches utilize it on their dials and hands. But if you’re considering a vintage wristwatch, than the aesthetics are important, and as far as I’m concerned nothing beats the warm patina of an aged tritium dial. Superluminova will likely keep its luminescent properties in perpetuity (whereas Tritium only has a half life of around 12 years) and is also highly resistant to yellowing, meaning that the lume will remain crisp and white for well beyond my years, which is a look that just doesn’t work for me aesthetically.
Instead of starting with the oldest versions and working forward, I’ll start at the most modern example and work backwards. The reference 3590.50 Speedmaster Professional is the most contemporary version of the Moon Watch that I’ll typically recommend to my clients. The reason for this is actually pretty simple: it is the last version of the timepiece to be fitted with luminescent markers made from tritium on the dial and hands. All subsequent models (up to and including the current version) get their luminescence from applied Superluminova indices.
The applied logo dials featured a raised metal Omega logo, while these later printed dials were just that – the metal element was removed. This was likely a cost-saving decision and is the easiest way to differentiate the .861 models from their predecessors visually. The mechanical changes between the Calibre .321 and .861 are better suited for a technical forum and we won’t delve into them here, but the .861 was less costly to produce and easier to maintain than its predecessor, which is a big reason for the longevity of this model. The Reference 145.022 not only utilized the all-new Calibre .861, which replaced the Calibre .321 movement used previously, but also represented the first major aesthetic changes to the Speedmaster since the original model came out eleven years prior. Most notably, mens Omega replica watch switched from an “applied logo dial” to a “printed logo dial”.