The Omega Speedmaster is a timepiece with an extraordinary history that takes us from Planet Earth to the outer reaches of space. Its association with space exploration began when it became the first wristwatch to be worn on the Moon during NASA’s Apollo 11 mission in 1969. Since then, the Speedmaster has become an iconic symbol of precision, reliability, and commitment to innovation.
The Speedmaster’s significance in NASA’s piloted space missions cannot be overstated. Its exceptional performance in extreme conditions, ranging from the intense heat of re-entry to the freezing cold of space, has earned it the admiration and trust of astronauts. Its ability to withstand rigorous testing and remain accurate in zero gravity has made it an essential tool for astronauts undertaking space missions.
The Omega Speedmaster’s reputation for reliability has been consistent since its beginning. The Speedmaster isn’t a luxury watch as much as it was the first tool watch, a watch designed for rugged environments and difficult situations. Its chronograph function and durable build have made it the watch of choice for explorers venturing beyond Earth’s atmosphere. Its distinctive black dial, stainless steel bracelet, and automatic movement embody the spirit of adventure and create a timeless look.
As we trace the legacy of the Omega Speedmaster, we honor its connection to the brave astronauts who have relied on its accuracy during some of the most significant moments in space history. From the moonwalk of Neil Armstrong to the Apollo 13 crisis, the Speedmaster has not only witnessed these iconic events but has also played a crucial role in ensuring their success. For those who seek a timepiece that is not only a companion but also a piece of history, the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch is the choice that bridges the gap between our world and the wonders of outer space.
History of Omega and the Speedmaster
The history of Omega dates to its humble beginnings in 1848 when the La Generale Watch Company was founded by Louis Brandt in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. What started as a small workshop soon became a renowned watchmaking powerhouse known for its precision and craftsmanship.
One of the significant milestones in Omega’s history came in 1879 when they formed a partnership with another esteemed watchmaker, Audemars Piguet. This collaboration allowed both companies to share resources and expertise, further cementing Omega’s reputation as a manufacturer of exceptional timepieces.
Omega’s reputation grew even stronger when they became the official timekeeper for the British Royal Flying Corps in 1917. Their precision and reliability were vital in assisting pilots with navigation and mission timings, making Omega an integral part of aviation history.
The association with precision and timing continued when Omega became the official timekeeper for the Olympic Games in 1932. Their accurate timing technology and commitment to excellence have made them an integral part of this iconic global sporting event ever since.
Omega’s timepieces have also made their mark in popular culture, particularly through their association with the famous fictional spy, James Bond. The stylish and reliable Omega watches worn by Bond further solidify the brand’s reputation as a symbol of sophistication and precision.
Through its consistent pursuit of innovation and commitment to producing exceptional timepieces, Omega has established itself as a global leader in the watchmaking industry. The history of Omega is intertwined with the Speedmaster, which has become an iconic symbol of precision, reliability, and a testament to human achievements both on and off the Earth.
The Early Years
The early development of the Omega Speedmaster marked a significant chapter in the brand’s history and its association with space exploration. In the early 1960s, NASA was seeking a durable and accurate timepiece for their astronauts to wear during space missions. Omega answered the call and submitted several watches for rigorous testing.
Among the contenders, the Omega Speedmaster emerged as the chosen watch for NASA’s astronauts. Its robust construction and precise chronograph functionality made it the ideal companion for their space ventures. In 1965, the Speedmaster made its debut in space on the wrist of astronaut Ed White during the Gemini IV mission.
However, it was during the Apollo program that the Speedmaster would etch its name in history. On July 20, 1969, astronaut Buzz Aldrin wore his Omega Speedmaster reference 105.012 as he set foot on the lunar surface, becoming the first watch to be worn on the Moon.
The Omega Speedmaster became synonymous with the Moon landings, as it was worn by astronauts on subsequent Apollo missions. Today, these “Moon watches” are highly sought-after by collectors and enthusiasts alike.
It’s worth noting that earlier Speedmaster models, such as the 105.012 and 145.012, are often referred to as “pre-Moon” Speedmasters, as they lack the inscription found on later models that commemorate their association with the Moon landings. These watches hold a special place in the hearts of collectors, representing a piece of history before the iconic lunar connection was added.
Omega Speedmaster – Newer Models
In addition to its historic significance, the Omega Speedmaster has also evolved over the years with a range of later models that cater to different tastes and preferences. One such iteration is the Omega Speedmaster Automatic, which brings a modern touch to the classic design.
Another popular variation is the Omega Speedmaster Reduced, which features a smaller case size compared to the traditional Speedmaster. Despite its reduced proportions, this model still exudes the same timeless appeal and is a great option for those with smaller wrists.
For those looking for a sportier and more vibrant aesthetic, the Omega Speedmaster Racing models are the perfect choice. These models draw inspiration from the world of motorsports and feature bold colors and striking design elements. Notably, Omega has collaborated with legendary racing driver Michael Schumacher to create special editions that bear his name.
One notable representative within the Racing line is the Omega Racing model with the 42mm Speedmaster Professional case. This watch combines the robustness and functionality of the original Moonwatch with the energetic spirit of racing. Whether you’re a fan of motorsports or simply appreciate an adventurous and stylish timepiece, the Omega Speedmaster Racing models offer a unique and dynamic take on the iconic Speedmaster design.
The Automatic and Reduced Models
The Omega Speedmaster Automatic Racing models bring a dynamic and sporty flair to the iconic Speedmaster collection. Featuring a smaller case size of 38mm, these timepieces offer a more compact and versatile option for those with a preference for a sleeker fit.
While the Professional models are renowned for their larger size, the Automatic Racing models cater to those seeking a more refined and understated aesthetic. The smaller case size ensures a comfortable wear on the wrist without compromising on style or functionality.
One notable collaboration in the Speedmaster Racing line was with legendary racing driver Michael Schumacher. Omega produced a Racing model with a 42mm case and the Omega calibre 3301 movement in 2003, paying homage to Schumacher’s illustrious career. These limited-edition timepieces feature striking design elements and incorporate Schumacher’s personal touch.
The Automatic Racing models also boast a carbon fiber dial, adding a touch of contemporary allure to the timepiece. The incorporation of carbon fiber lends these watches a sporty and dynamic vibe, reflecting their inspiration from the world of motorsports.
In summary, the Omega Speedmaster Automatic Racing models combine a smaller case size with a sporty design and vibrant aesthetic. With their unique features and inspired collaborations, these timepieces are a perfect choice for watch enthusiasts looking to make a statement on and off the track.
Notable Omega Speedmaster Fans
The Omega Speedmaster has a rich history of notable wearers, including prominent figures such as Joe Biden, Wally Schirra, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Ed White.
Joe Biden, the current President of the United States, has been seen wearing an Omega Speedmaster in various public appearances.
Wally Schirra, an astronaut in NASA’s Mercury program, wore an Omega Speedmaster during his spaceflight on the Sigma 7 spacecraft in 1962. Schirra’s choice of the Speedmaster solidified its status as the first watch worn in space.
Perhaps the most famous association with the Omega Speedmaster is its role in the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin both wore Speedmasters during their historic mission, making it the first watch on the moon. Ed White, the first American to perform a spacewalk during the Gemini 4 mission, also sported an Omega Speedmaster.
Prices at a Glance: Omega Speedmaster
The Omega Speedmaster is a collection of exquisite timepieces known for their exceptional design, accuracy, and rich history. Here is a quick overview of some of the notable models in the Omega Speedmaster range, along with their reference numbers and prices:
1. Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional (Ref. 322.214.171.124.01.005) – This iconic model, priced at $5,350, pays tribute to the original Speedmaster worn during the Apollo moon missions. It features a black dial, stainless steel case, and the reliable manual-winding movement.
2. Speedmaster Racing (Ref. 3126.96.36.199.04.001) – Combining sporty aesthetics with innovative technology, this timepiece is priced at $7,400. The Racing model features a sleek black dial, a stainless steel bracelet, and a Co-Axial chronograph movement.
3. Speedmaster Skywalker X-33 (Ref. 376.05.44.50.03.001) – Designed for adventurous souls, this model is priced at $11,400. It boasts a blue dial, stainless steel case, and a durable automatic movement. The Skywalker also includes an electronic timer feature and a GMT function.
4. Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional Co-Axial Master Chronometer Chronograph (Ref. 304.30.44.52.01.001) – This extraordinary timepiece, priced at $8,900, showcases the brand’s technological advancements. It incorporates a black dial, stainless steel bracelet, and the Co-Axial escapement, ensuring superior precision and performance.
How much is an Omega Speedmaster?
The pricing of the Omega Speedmaster collection varies depending on the specific model and its features. The range offers a wide selection of options to suit different budgets and preferences.
At the more affordable end of the spectrum is the Speedmaster Date Automatic, which is priced at around $2,600 USD. This model offers a sleek and timeless design with a date function.
Another popular choice is the Speedmaster Reduced, which costs approximately $3,700 USD. This model features a smaller case size and offers a more compact option while still maintaining the iconic Speedmaster look.
The Moonwatch models, which are highly sought after and known for their association with space missions, have a wider price range. The standard Moonwatch models range from $6,000 to $72,000 USD, depending on the specific variant and materials used.
For collectors and enthusiasts, vintage Speedmaster watches are also available. These vintage timepieces have a rich history and can range in price from $7,500 to over $80,000 USD, depending on factors such as rarity, condition, and historical significance.
Overall, the pricing of the Omega Speedmaster collection ensures that there is a model for every budget and style preference, making it accessible to a wide range of watch enthusiasts.
The Most Popular Speedmaster: The Moonwatch
The Moonwatch models are arguably the most popular and iconic members of the Speedmaster family. These watches have gained legendary status due to their association with NASA’s space missions, particularly the Apollo lunar landings. Designed to withstand the harsh conditions of space, the Moonwatch models feature a robust construction and a highly accurate chronograph function. The standard Moonwatch models come in various variants, including stainless steel, gold, and ceramic, with prices ranging from $6,000 to $72,000 USD. Each variant offers its unique appeal and aesthetic, ensuring that watch enthusiasts can find the perfect Moonwatch to suit their preferences. Whether it’s the classic stainless steel model or a limited edition commemorative piece, owning a Moonwatch allows one to own a piece of history and experience the remarkable legacy of the Speedmaster firsthand.
Reasons to Buy an Omega Speedmaster
The Omega Speedmaster is a timepiece with a legendary chronograph series that holds a cult status among watch enthusiasts. Known for being the first watch worn on the Moon (Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch), it has a rich history tied to space missions.
Aside from its iconic status, the Speedmaster also boasts the latest Co-Axial Master Chronometer movements. These movements offer exceptional magnetic resistance and precision, making it a reliable choice for any wearer.
Another compelling reason to consider the Speedmaster is the potential value appreciation of its limited editions. Omega has released coveted limited editions like the “Snoopy Award” and “Speedy Tuesday“, which have become highly sought-after by collectors.
In addition to its historical significance, the Omega Speedmaster combines functionality and style effortlessly. With its sleek design, stainless steel bracelet, and automatic movement, it is a versatile timepiece that can be worn for both formal and casual occasions.
If you’re looking for a watch that embodies a piece of history, the Omega Speedmaster is the perfect choice. Its combination of craftsmanship, reliability, and iconic status in the watch world is unparalleled. Experience the legacy of Omega and join the esteemed group of watch enthusiasts who appreciate this remarkable timepiece.
Prices for the Current Moonwatch With the Caliber 3861
The current Moonwatch with the Caliber 3861 offers a variety of designs and features to suit different preferences. In terms of price range, these models cater to a wide range of budgets, making the iconic Moonwatch accessible to more watch enthusiasts.
One notable model is the classic stainless steel Moonwatch with a black dial. This timeless design showcases the signature Moonwatch aesthetic and is priced competitively, making it a popular choice. Another option is the limited edition models, which feature unique details such as special engravings or different dial colors. These limited editions tend to have a higher price point due to their exclusivity and collectability.
The models within the current Moonwatch lineup also offer different strap options. While the standard choice is the stainless steel bracelet, some models come with leather straps for a more refined look. This allows for personalization and further adds to the versatility of the watch.
Overall, the price range for the current Moonwatch with the Caliber 3861 varies depending on the design and additional features. Whether you’re a seasoned collector or a first-time buyer, there is a Moonwatch model that fits your desired aesthetics and budget.
The “New Moon” in Rose or White Gold
Introducing the “New Moon” in Rose or White Gold models of the Omega Speedmaster. These exquisite timepieces offer a luxurious and exclusive twist to the iconic Moonwatch design.
First up is the ref. 310.60.42.50.01.001, crafted from Omega’s rose gold alloy known as Sedna gold. This stunning model features a sleek black dial that perfectly complements the warm tones of the rose gold case and bracelet. The New Moon in Rose Gold is priced at around 33,000 USD with a link bracelet, while the option with a black leather strap is available for around 22,500 USD.
For a bold and contemporary choice, the ref. 310.60.42.50.02.001 is made of Canopus gold, Omega’s white gold alloy. This striking timepiece showcases a silver dial, creating an elegant contrast with the Canopus gold case and bracelet. The New Moon in White Gold comes at a price of approximately 45,000 USD with a Canopus gold bracelet, or around 28,000 USD with a leather strap.
These “New Moon” models combine the unparalleled craftsmanship of Omega with the exquisite beauty of rose or white gold. Whether you prefer the allure of Sedna gold or the modern elegance of Canopus gold, these timepieces are truly exceptional. Elevate your wristwear collection with these luxurious and sophisticated additions.
Vintage Moonwatch Editions
Introducing the Vintage Moonwatch Editions, Omega pays homage to the iconic timepieces worn during historic space missions. These watches are known for their timeless appeal and exceptional craftsmanship.
One notable model is the ref. 105.012, which was famously worn by astronaut Buzz Aldrin during the Apollo 11 mission. With its black dial and stainless steel bracelet, this vintage Moonwatch exudes a classic charm. Priced at around 9,000 USD, it features the renowned caliber 321 movement.
Another sought-after edition is the ref. 145.012, known for its association with astronaut Gene Cernan during the Apollo 17 mission. This timepiece features a black dial and a stainless steel bracelet. With a price range of approximately 7,000 to 9,000 USD, depending on its condition, it boasts the caliber 321 movement.
For those looking for a more affordable option, Omega offers the ref. 145.022, which is equipped with the caliber 861 movement. This vintage Moonwatch edition features a stainless steel case, black dial, and stainless steel bracelet. Prices for this model range from around 4,000 to 6,000 USD based on condition and rarity.
Moreover, the budget-friendly ref. 3188.8.131.52.01.005 is a modern reissue of the vintage Moonwatch models. Priced at approximately 4,500 USD, this watch features the caliber 1861 movement and maintains the iconic black dial and stainless steel bracelet.
Omega’s Vintage Moonwatch Editions capture the essence of space exploration, allowing watch enthusiasts to own a piece of history while experiencing the excellence of Swiss watchmaking.
What makes the Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch a good watch?
The Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch is an iconic watch that holds a special place in Omega’s history. It gained worldwide recognition as the first watch worn on the Moon during the Apollo 11 mission in 1969. This historic feat solidified the Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch as a symbol of human achievement and adventure.
One of the standout features of this timepiece is its use of authentic manual calibers. These mechanical movements provide a unique connection to traditional watchmaking, showcasing Omega’s commitment to precision and craftsmanship.
The Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch is available with either a plexiglass or sapphire crystal, allowing buyers to choose the style that suits their preferences. The plexiglass option reflects the original design of the Moonwatch, while the sapphire crystal provides enhanced scratch resistance.
Over the years, Omega has made slight modifications to the Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch to improve its performance and functionality. These include updates to the movement’s materials and construction, ensuring its continued reliability and accuracy.
With its iconic status, authentic manual calibers, and options of plexiglass or sapphire crystal, the Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch remains a timeless masterpiece that captures the spirit of exploration and adventure.
About the Author / Author Expertise & Authority
John Biggs: I live in Brooklyn, NY and write about technology, security, gadgets, gear, wristwatches, and the Internet. After spending four years as an IT programmer, I switched gears and became a full-time journalist. My work has appeared in the New York Times, Laptop, PC Upgrade, Gizmodo, Men’s Health, InSync, Popular Science, and I’ve written a book called Marie Antoinette’s Watch about the most famous and mysterious watch ever made. I am the former East Coast Editor of TechCrunch.com.