Omega Speedmaster A.K.A “Moonwatch”
Omega Speedmaster A.K.A "Moonwatch"
The key to knowledge are the basics. It is for this very reason, and to avoid uncomfortable situations of feeling lost or frustrated during watchmaking conversations, that we offer you a series of “Cheat Sheets” for the great iconic watches that have marked the history of watchmaking: history, stories & distinguishing features for easy recognition.
Omega Speedmaster: A (Very) Brief History of the Moonwatch
Omega Speedmaster’s story begins in 1957, the year it was released alongside brothers Omega Railmaster and Seamaster 300. A dynamic trio of sports watches that reflected Omega’s desire to attack the world of speed at full throttle. Boasting a long and eventful history, the Speedmaster would be destined for much more beyond its immediate domain of expertise…
Shall we not forget, the first Speedmaster ref. 2915 was originally designed as a professional tool for car racing drivers, powered by a column-wheel chronograph movement, the 321 caliber developed in collaboration with Lemania in 1942.
Its highly mediated extraterrestrial career began unexpectedly when NASA declared the Speedmaster “Flight Qualified” after a series of intensive testing between 1964 and 1965.
The landing on the moon in 1969 wasn’t the watch’s first time in outer space as it had already accompanied NASA astronauts on a number of missions from 1962 before its official approval (this is known as its Pre-Moon period). But promenading on the moon was definitely the historic moment that rocket-launched the Speedmaster to stardom…literally.
“…promenading on the moon was definitely the historic moment that rocket-launched the Speedmaster to stardom…literally.”
Omega Speedmaster: Distinctive Features
The Speedmaster has evolved in multiple ways but don’t worry, we aren’t here today to list down every single little change. There are hallmarks of the model which can make identification easier. This is where we step in…
No matter the reference, objectively speaking, a Speedmaster dial will always exhibit the utmost balance in proportions and exceptional clarity. The high contrast displayed by the steel or white writing and markers set against a black dial offer excellent readability, a crucial factor for those in need of quick and precise analysis.
Engraved Tachymeter Bezel
There are 2 types of tachymeter bezels on a Speedmaster. The first models, ref. 2915, equipped with “Base 1000” bezels entirely in stainless steel are rare and very sought-after today since its production only lasted 2 years between 1957 and 1959.
At the release of the reference 2998 in 1959, a black aluminum insert would replace his silver-colored predecessor. The “Base 1000” was also replaced by a “Tachymeter 500” layout.
The first Speedmaster, reference 2915, is also known as the “Broad Arrow” because of its easily identifiable hour hand (found also on the early Seamasters and Railmasters).
2 years later at the release of the reference 2998 in 1959, the Broad Arrow was replaced by Alpha hands offering something a bit more discreet without sacrificing readability.
From 1963 with the references 105.003 and 105.012 straight white luminescent Baton hour and minute hands, and a chronograph second hand with arrow head would take the place of the Alpha hands. These models would be known as the future legendary “Moonwatches.”