The Omega Speedmaster was introduced in 1957 and has remained a mainstay in Omega’s collection ever since. The Speedmaster has grown from a small watch to an existing chain of chronograph designs that provide today’s buyers with a decent chunk of the diverse array.
Even though Omega now generates editions of the Speedmaster that are significantly different in features and design, and operated by everything from traditional hand-wind movements to fusion of analog and digital quartz movements, Omega still delivers a Speedmaster that is incredibly similar to the model that’s been made to wear on the moon. The Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch is a phenomenon among watches.
Features of the Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch
The phenomenal Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch most strongly matches the initial concept of the first watches used for lunar exploration. This watch is a vintage watch that is still manufactured today There has been an increase in the number of vintage-inspired heritage pieces in recent years – and Omega also offers a lot of Speedmaster variations that fit into that category – but the standard Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch is not influenced by a vintage model – it is that vintage model.
This watch has a small second sub-dial and a black dial with a hesalite crystal, as well as a central chronograph hand and 30-minute and 12-hour recorders. The black bezel with tachymetric scale is mounted on a 42 mm stainless steel case and comes with a contrasting wristband.
The OMEGA mechanical caliber 1861, a descendant of the legendary manual-winding movement worn on the Moon, is at the heart of this chronograph. This timepiece comes with a special Moonwatch presentation box that includes a NATO strap, an astronaut strap, a tool for changing the bracelet, and a book detailing Speedmaster’s adventures.
1. Dial and Bezel
There is nothing more responsible for the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch’s overall iconic design than in its black dial and black tachymeter bezel. The white markings offer maximum contrast against the matte black surface of the dial and are perfectly balanced and the concept of at-a-glance readability.
The Moonwatch is divided into three sections. Its use of three divisions is due to the movement’s frequency, which is 21,600 vibrations per hour. This corresponds to 3Hz, thus the three divisions. When you stop the chronograph’s second hand, it provides a clearer readout. All hands are also fully completed in white to provide maximum contrast against the dial and reduce the risk of glare when viewed in direct sunlight.
Moreover, the hour, minute, and chronograph seconds have bright glowing Super-LumiNova for maximum legibility in low-light conditions. It was the first chronograph watch to move the tachymeter scale to the outer bezel which is black with high-contrast markings.
Because the bezel of the modern Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch is anodized aluminum, the tachymeter scale appears in silver rather than flat-white, and these silver markings perfectly match the stainless steel of the case while delivering superior contrast and readability.
Coherence in design is not a bad thing, and the Speedmaster’s timeless and purpose-built aesthetic is easily the watch’s most celebrated attribute. It’s important to remember that the case’s official 42mm diameter is larger than the watch’s actual wrist size. The twisted lugs (also known as “lyre lugs”) and the asymmetric case, which includes small guards for the winding crown and chronograph pushers, are important reasons for this. The edge of the bezel on many sport and tool watches extends slightly beyond the edge of the case, giving the piece a slightly larger presence than its case diameter measurement might imply. The case of the Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch extends further than the outer edge of the bezel on both the right and left sides, with the right-hand side spreading nearly to the end of the winding crown.
The Caliber 1861 movement powers the current version of the classic Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch. The Omega Cal. 1861, based on the design of the Lemania 1873, is a cam-actuated incorporated chronograph movement and the existing evolution of its ancestor, the Caliber 861. While it does not have the Master Chronometer certification that most of the brand’s newer in-house movements now have, the Caliber 1861 is a tried and true mainstay with a long track record of high consistency and precise timekeeping.
Omega Speedmaster is a brand of chronograph wristwatches manufactured by Omega SA. Given the fact that chronographs were around since the late 1800s, the brand launched this thread of chronographs in 1957. Many different chronograph movements have been commercialized under the Speedmaster name since then.
The most well-known and longest-produced watch is the manual winding Speedmaster Professional or “Moonwatch,” which was worn during the first American spacewalk as part of NASA’s Gemini 4 mission and was the first watch worn by an astronaut set foot on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission. The Speedmaster Professional is still one of several watches approved by NASA for spaceflight and the only one approved for EVA. Other models in the Speedmaster line entail analog-digital and automatic mechanical watches.
Chronographs were originally developed for use in artillery for battle, but quickly became indispensable for use in high-performance machinery, particularly by pilots, but later also by racecar drivers. Submariners were well-known for their use of chronographs, as they relied heavily on split-second timing for what was essentially blind travel. The capacity to time and thus calibrate fuel usage, speed and direction, and other variables enabled both more efficient travel and better pilots and race car drivers. Once President Eisenhower declared that test pilots were the only permissible choice for Project Mercury, the inclusion of some sort of chronograph was virtually guaranteed.
The Omega Speedmaster Professional is a timepiece made by Omega. For its role in space exploration, Moonwatch is a horology legend. Even so, it should be noted that the Speedmaster was primarily built for the automotive racing crowd, and it only became NASA’s official watch due to how well it stood up to the various tests that it was subjected to to be certified for spaceflight. It is certainly a highly functional timepiece that is so good at its job as a wrist-mounted time-telling device that NASA decided it was capable of going to the moon.