One To Watch | Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional
Taking the spotlight this month is the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional, one of the most iconic and legendary timepieces in the world.
Not that we need an excuse to talk about one of our Omega favourites, but, as we all know, the Speedmaster is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year - which you can read more about here. What better time to honour such a momentous watch?
The History Of The Speedmaster
First introduced in 1957, the Speedmaster is without a doubt now one of Omega’s most loved collections.
Did you know? Although now known for its space legacy, the Speedmaster was never actually intended for space exploration, but for sports like athletics and car racing.
Named after its tachymetric bezel and Omega’s affectionate tendency to christen watches “Master” (Seamaster, Railmaster, Globemaster), the Speedmaster paved the way for the “sports chronograph” trend with its easy to read dial and easy to use timing functions.
The first Speedmaster, today known as the “Broad Arrow” due to its distinctive hour hand, was the first watch to have the now standard chronograph layout of three counters and the timing scale on the bezel as opposed to printed on the dial. This was a feature designed for the benefit of racing car drivers.
So, how did this built-for-racing watch become known for its lunar landings?
The First Omega In Space
The second Speedmaster, differing from the first with its black aluminium bezel and “Alpha” style hour and minute hands, was astronaut Walter Schirra’s personal watch.
He wore it on his Mercury mission on the 3rd October 1962, making this the first Omega in space. From this moment, the Speedmaster’s space legacy had begun.
The First Watch On The Moon
Also in 1962, NASA began the search for a wristwatch that could be worn by Apollo astronauts. Several watches were subjected to rigorous tests such as extreme temperatures, accelerations, shocks and magnetic fields. The only watch to survive was the third generation 1963 Omega Speedmaster.
Unlike almost all other Apollo equipment, the watch was not specifically made for use by NASA or in space but was a standard model on sale to the public – showing just how impressively high Omega’s standards were...
Fast forward to the 1st March 1965, and Omega’s third generation 1963 Speedmaster chronograph was officially flight qualified by NASA for all manned space missions.
And on the 21st July 1969, the 1965 Speedmaster was the first watch to ever walk on the moon when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin set foot on the lunar surface, earning it the title of the “Moonwatch”.
Since then, it has been worn on all six lunar landings and has become adored around the world.
The Moonwatch Up Close
Not just a true representation of the brand’s adventurous and pioneering spirit, the design of this Speedmaster Professional is also a testament to Omega’s original desire for supreme legibility.
The watch was the first Speedmaster to feature an asymmetrical case to provide added protection for the crown and pushers, which is still present on the modern version. The original 1965 version was also the first time the word “Professional” was printed on the dial, again still present on today’s Speedmaster Professional.
Meticulously Considered Design
Going back to the Speedmasters’ original purpose of being a sports chronograph, it’s so clear that legibility and design of the black dial really was meticulously considered. The proportion of the three subdials is perfectly offset by the Omega wording; it could almost be a fourth subdial. The long white hour and minute hands contrast clearly with the dark dial, and the absence of a date window helps with the perfect symmetry. Everything just comes together beautifully.
This dial is protected by hesalite crystal, in keeping with the original watches worn on the moon. Hesalite crystal was requested by NASA as it doesn’t break into tiny fragments on impact, unlike sapphire crystal. Thousands of tiny pieces floating around in zero gravity doesn’t sound like a great idea to us either.
This Moonwatch Professional still boasts Omega’s mechanical calibre 1861, which is the very same legendary manual-winding movement that was worn on the moon. Apart from its high-grade rhodium plated finish, it remains entirely untouched and unchanged.
The 42mm case size means it definitely has a presence on the wrist, but it isn’t overly large. It’s the perfect balance of size and comfort, with the timeless design allowing it to look exceptional in all situations and occasions.
Okay, we realise there were a lot of references to ‘perfect’ in there, but it really is deserved. There’s good reason why this watch is so well loved by avid watch admirers, Omega fans and literally everyone in between.
It’s a watch for life, and a watch for your future generations. And when it’s put like that, the £3,520 is a very, very attractive price point. Or, if you prefer, it's yours from just £66 per month with interest free credit monthly repayments.
The watch comes in a special Moonwatch presentation box, containing a “NATO” strap, a strap for astronauts, a tool to change the bracelet and a book full of Speedmaster’s adventures.
Things We Like
✔ The amazing history which you can tell to everyone
✔ It's exceptional design and supreme legibility
✔ Details stay true to the original watch on the moon; the hesalite crystal and the manual-winding movement
✔ The special presentation box it comes in
✔ Those wanting a watch of a lifetime
✔ Passing down the generations
✔ Omega fans and space fans
✔ Owning a piece of history