The Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional Gets a Once-in-a-Half-Century Upgrade
The story of the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional is such a well-trodden path—from “one small step” to “Houston, we have a problem”—that even casual watch fans have likely heard of “Speedy Tuesday.” Certainly, the Speedmaster is in the top five on the bucket list of most watch collectors, so they should have heard of Speedy Tuesday. The name was coined one Tuesday in 2012 by Robert-Jan Broer, founder of Amsterdam-based watch fan site Fratello Watches, and it caught on like a meme. Currently there are 259,000 #speedytuesday hashtags on Instagram alone. Lord knows where else it crops up. But it seems only fitting that we should take this Speedy Tuesday as the suitable moment to unveil a major development in the long arc of the Speedy’s lifespan since 1957.
With a watch whose design DNA was effectively rendered sacred when it was adopted by NASA and worn on the first moon landing in 1969, Omega has been particularly—and sensibly—circumspect about major changes. So the majority of developments have, for the most part, been minor and performance related, while cosmetic departures from the familiar display have been reserved for hot-selling limited editions. Until now.
The new-generation Speedmaster in Sedna gold (left) and Canopus gold.
For the new generation of eight Speedmasters launched earlier this month (four on bracelets and four on straps), the biggest innovations are on the inside. For the first time, the watch gets a double upgrade in terms of certified performance. The workhorse 1861 movement, which drove the Speedmaster since around 1968, has finally been superseded by the 3861 (officially referred to as the Co-Axial Master Chronometer 3861), which was announced in 2019 but so far has been seen only in three special editions of the Speedy since the 2019 edition to mark the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. The retirement of the 1861 movement will likely see a boost in secondhand values, as often happens after sea-change developments in iconic watches. So get in now if you’re after a preowned one.
Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional Co-Axial Master Chronometer Chronograph 42 mm
Chronometers are usually certified for accuracy by an independent body (COSC) that puts the movement through a battery of tests. For the new Speedmaster however, after COSC, Omega also tapped another independent body, METAS, that goes on to rigorously test the assembled watch—not just the movement—for its resilience to magnetism, shock absorption, and water resistance over a 10-day period. The integration of this test for the standard production model is a testament to Omega’s belief in the future application of the moon watch in modern space missions (the Speedy has been on multiple trips to the stars, well beyond the original Apollo missions) and of course its resilience to everyday use at ground level.
A closer look at the step dial.
On the outside of the watch, changes are minimal, but there’s plenty for the aficionados to get their teeth in. To leave the dial unsullied, the reference to the chronometer rating is engraved on the case back. The rest of the design, meanwhile, pays homage to the fourth-generation moon watch (known to collectors as the ST 105.012) as it was in 1969, with its asymmetrical case and step dial. We could get into the minutiae of where Omega elected to place the dots on the tachymeter scale—but if you’re into that, you’re probably way ahead of us.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.com. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.