After buying and selling over 10 watches, I have come to an agreement with myself that I will never sell my Omega Speedmaster Professional ref. 3570.50 no matter the offer. Why not?
To help you understand better, here’s a little history of myself: I am not into watches my entire life (surprise, not!) and used to find them to be pretty much a peripheral accessory due to the overabundance of mobile technology, while I also didn’t see the need to wear a nice, expensive watch as I was clearly a careless person.
It was only until late 2013 when I first encounter a ‘real’ watch, the now discontinued Omega Seamaster 300m Chronograph 41.5mm, on the wrist of an ex-colleague whom now is a good friend of mine. Words were dished out: Quality, finishing, excellence, history, and more.
I got curious and embarked on a personal vendetta to track down my first ‘dream’ watch and I found it, the Omega Speedmaster Professional ref. 3570.50. Funny that I tried scratching the itch with the Tag Heuer Calibre 5 (newbie mistake), which was sold off eventually after getting the Speedy—affectionately named by fans.
Anyone’s first impression of the Speedy will be its dial—a slightly grainy symmetrical black dial with three crater-looking sub-dials positioned at 3, 6, 9. The Speedy’s dial hasn’t changed much since the watch was first introduced to the public in 1956, targeting Italian car racers. Interestingly, the current Speedmaster Professional is actually a variant of the original Speedmaster ref. 2915-1 which features a steel bezel and broad arrow hands. One was sold at Christie’s Omega Speedmaster 50 Sale in New York last Dec for a record-breaking US$137,000.
Ok, enough of boring you with reference number and history. What I am trying to say is, the Speedmaster Pro embodies a dial design that remained evergreen since the 1950s. It tells a lot about Omega’s commitment in retaining its Speedmaster heritage for the later generations. Personally, it is the only watch I don’t get tired of looking at. I still find myself taking quick glances at the dial and then looking away without knowing the time I was looking for in the first place (admit it, I’m sure I’m not the only guilty one here).
Also known as the Moonwatch…
The Speedmaster Pro isn’t a ‘Professional’ watch throughout its entire 60 years of history, not only until after being commissioned for NASA’s piloted space missions in 1965. Cut to the chase, it was branded ‘Professional’ because of its involvement in NASA’s missions during the Space Race and it became the first watch worn on the moon (hence the moniker ‘Moonwatch’). The Speedy also played a significant role in saving the lives of astronauts, notably the Apollo 13 mission in 1970 (go google if you’re curious!)
Having such a rich heritage means that owning a Moonwatch gives me bragging rights. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about that ‘look I’m loaded,*flashes APROO*’ type of bragging. What I am actually saying is the educated, well-informed kind of bragging rights. Anyone who starts gaining interest in watches and approaches me for advice, I will naturally ready my Speedy to tell them all about it.
It is a timepiece for opening up rooms for conversation because of all these stories. To me, wearing a watch is a personal experience and you ought to be able to present your experience and the story of the watch to another person with confidence, otherwise there’s really no passion at all. We all know that one person who owns an expensive watch without knowing a single thing about it.
The Speedmaster Professional is a very very versatile watch (I really mean it). It looks great on any strap, matches dozens of outfits, and is suitable for every occasion. This means that it can be an everyday watch without trying too hard. Some may argue that a Rolex Submariner also possesses the same trait but it costs twice that of a Speedy and honestly, you see them on a lot of Tom, Dick & Harry’s wrists. A used Speedmaster Professional ref. 3570.50 can be had for less than S$4,000 while the newer ref.318.104.22.168.01.005 (wtf right?) retails for S$6,850 now.
On the bracelet, the Speedy offers a distinguished, traditional look which goes well with a suit as well as tee/jeans combo without appearing too loud or ostentatious. I love my Speedy on NATO straps and that gives me so many options to choose from, just because NATO straps are extremely affordable. Stack up as many as you want and change-up the look as and when you like! I usually buy my NATO straps from Cheapest NATO Straps. Another one of my favourite look for the Speedy will be on a leather strap.
Photogenic or… ‘Instagram-worthy’
The rapid proliferation of social media in recent years is crazy! Instagram is one of most popular social media channels for watch enthusiasts and over the years, we have churned out terms like #WatchFam, #WristPorn, #WatchOnMyWrist and more. I personally feel that the Speedy is an insanely photogenic watch, as if it was designed to be flaunted on Instagram from the beginning. Fun fact: Shots of my Speedy usually receive more ‘Likes’.
Besides feeding our ego on social media, it comes to show that the Speedmaster Pro is indeed a very popular watch and can be easily appreciated by many.
Beauty is nothing without brains—movement, I mean!
Early Speedmasters housed chronograph movements developed by Lemania, the calibre 2310, also known as the Omega calibre 321. The modern Speedmaster Pro’s movement is still based on the same movement but with several modifications over the decades—calibre 321 to calibre 861 to the current calibre 1861 (calibre 1863 for the ‘sapphire sandwich’ model).
I own the calibre 1861 Speedy and have never encounter any issues with it. Many asked if I find this manual-wind movement troublesome, and I’d say no all the time. In fact, winding the watch is oddly satisfying. Hearing the crisp clicking sound as you wind the crown is like having a conversation with the Speedy. Very much like a daily personal experience with the watch.
Ticking at 21,600 beats per hour naturally means that the movement is subjected to less wear and tear over a period of time as compared to a 28,800 beats per hour movement. My Speedy still keeps time well between -2 sec to +3 sec a day consistently and I don’t see myself having to service it any time soon. The chronograph function has never fail to operate and the hands always snap back to 12 o’clock faithfully. Even though it’s not an in-house chronograph movement, the calibre 1861 works like a dream and I will truly appreciate if Omega keeps it this way for the Moonwatch.
Landing to conclusion
The Omega Speedmaster Professional is definitely the most iconic sports watch and I have developed such a connection with mine that I can never bear to see it leave. Call it emotional attachment or whatever you want! It’s beautiful, versatile, reliable, and most of all, rich in history. This is the kind of watch you want to pass down to your future generations and that’s probably the only chance the Speedy will leave my stable.