As you’ve read in last week’s Speedy Tuesday article, this year marks the 60th anniversary of the Speedmaster. It goes without saying that we love the Speedmaster and thought it might be a nice idea to share the thoughts and favorite Speedmasters of our team for a change.
Top 3 Speedmasters
Below, you will find the six of us talking about the Speedmaster and giving you the Top 3 Speedmasters of our personal choice. This, of course, might change a bit over time, as taste and preferences change and perhaps Omega will blow us away in BaselWorld in a couple of weeks with an anniversary piece. You will be the first to know here on Fratello Watches on March 23rd, with all details and live images.
“For me, the Speedmaster is one of those watches that everyone needs in their collection. It has changed so little since the mid 1960’s and that’s a real credit to its timeless design. There are so many classic chronographs to choose from, but the combination of the Speedmaster’s unique case and an amazing history filled with accomplishments make it the “one” chronograph to own if only one can be chosen.
My top 3 Speedmasters:
– the 105.012 because it is the original “lyre” lugged case that is still with us today and it’s also the watch that made history.
– the 105.003 “Ed White”…the first watch worn during an EVA is also the last of the “old guard” straight lugged modes. I love it for its simplicity and that it played a part in the Space Race story.
– the 145.014 Speedmaster Mark II. This is a much better watch than history admits. It’s great on the wrist and the fact that Omega chose to reissue it, pays credit to the longevity of the original design. For me, though, I like the fact that this watch was, if you believe the stories, truly engineered to do space duty whereas the “Mark 1’s” kind of fell into the job. It’s a shame that the Mark II never got the chance to go into orbit.”
Teun van Heerebeek
“When I first saw the face of the Speedmaster Professional I couldn’t find enough superlatives to describe it. A perfect balance between form follows function and characteristic details. Besides the history and technical innovation, it does have a lot to offer looked from a design point of view. I dare to say: probably one of the most interesting watches to zoom in. Books like ‘Moonwatch Only‘ underline this. Almost every core visual element has evolved through time and got its own story. From typeface variations in the tail of ‘R’ in ‘Speedmaster’ until the refinement of the lug shape. What I also like is that the fact that there is still a Speedmaster for almost every wallet. Sure, the ‘oldies’ or pre-moons get more expensive, but you still can find 80’s/90’s Speedies for a reasonable price compared to other same level brands and their chronographs.
It’s really hard to choose out of the great collection of Speedies. Although, as always, I think the total population consists out of winners, averages and losers.
Here is my Speedmaster top 3:
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-Speedmaster ref. 105.003 (aka ‘Ed White’) – the one that passed the NASA tests and opened the doors for becoming the one and only Moonwatch.
-Speedmaster ‘Speedy Tuesday’ Limited edition ref. 322.214.171.124.01.001 – with united forces Omega launched a true milestone in Speedy-history. Also from a design point of view. It is really different and distinctive compared to the ancestors unlike some other limited siblings.
– Speedmaster Professional ref. 145.012 – The last “affordable” (is it still?) pre-moon with lyre lugs which I bought a while ago. With the praised 321 column wheel movement and its close relationship with the Apollo missions it is a gem in my small collection. After this model the Speedmaster was equipped with the 861 movement and production numbers increased drastically. That’s what it makes even more special to me.”
“There are only a handful of watches that have a timeless design. A watch that looked the same 30-40 years ago as it does today. If you look at the evolution of the Speedmaster you see that it is such a watch. For this and many other reasons to me the Speedmaster is the perfect timepiece; the size, the color, the chronograph feature, the aforementioned timelessness and that fact it is an Omega tick the most important boxes for me. I can’t imagine my collection without a Speedmaster. My “transitional” connects me to so many memories and adventures of my life, I simply cannot see myself without it.
My top 3 Speedmasters
-Omega Speedmaster 105.003 Ed White
The lack of “Professional” blows the watch size up visually in my opinion. The straight lugs are killers and the watch in general has tremendous wrist presence. They look fantastic as they age, a true crown jewel to any -vintage – Speedy collection.
-Omega Speedmaster Mark II 145.0014
Such an over-looked watch by many. Let that be the regular black dialed version or the funky colorful Racing the Mark II is a great alternative to a “normal” Speedy Pro. It is also versatile piece and technically bulletproof with the caliber 861 and the C-case. If only it had a hesalite crystal.
-Omega Speedmaster Speedy Tuesday limited edition
Does this even need an explanation? The single most exciting thing that happened to me since I joined Fratello Watches about 3 years ago. A watch that embodies so many things we love and work for day after day. The look is just amazing and what it represents to me is beyond words.”
“The Omega Speedmaster is the watch my watch collection seriously took off with. My first encounter was the Speedmaster from a friend, before I’d never thought about watches in that price league. Shortly here after I had the first Speedmaster Professional on my own wrist, bought second hand at 1.750 Dutch guilders. I think we’re talking 1990 or so, the equivalent of that price was around € 800,= then.
I consider the Speedmaster Professional as one of the most iconic wrist watches ever. It’s reserved style and important role in history is what attracts me most. Incredible that in 60 years the style of a watch does not have to change while still being up-to-date to todays standards.
My Top 3 Speedmasters:
As a purist the Speedmasters which I like the most are the regular most simple models with acrylic crystal and a solid steel case back. So I’d begin with the ref. 2998 with cal 321 and symmetric case, then the 105.012 with cal 321 and asymmetric case, the 145.022 with cal 861 and asymmetric case, the 3570.50.00 with cal 1861 and asymmetric case.
In 2014 the ref. of the 3570.50.00 became 3126.96.36.199.01.006; it’s the most basic and pure Speedmaster Professional in the current collection.”
“The Speedmaster Professional is the watch that started it all for me basically. I had other watches, but nothing in the same league as this legendary chronograph. I bought my first Speedmaster Pro (a 145.012) in 1999 in Gerard Nijenbrink’s watch shop in The Hague (he closed it two years ago). I didn’t know him and it was by shear coincidence that I came across this watch (and his shop) as I just passed by it one evening on my bicycle. Ever since, I have been reading, writing and discussing the Speedmaster in length. It is my first and true love, and what better way to honor that with a weekly dose of Speedy Tuesday?
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I believe that the Speedmaster is not only the most iconic chronograph ever, it is also one of the best readable ones. Also, I firmly believe that Omega stayed true to the Speedmaster in all these six decades by keeping the hand-wound version as close to the original as possible. There might be a couple of nice variations like the Dark Side of the Moon, Moonphase Master Chronometer and other automatic (reduced) versions, but the purist’ choice is the hand-wound piece.
My top 3 Speedmasters:
-Speedmaster CK2915 – I always fancied the CK2998 to be honest, until I came across a CK2915 last year that I thought was amazing. It sparked my interest for this very first reference. Price went crazy though, it is only for the fortunate ones.
-Speedmaster Professional 105.012/145.012 – This, to me, is the Moonwatch. Interesting is that you will find a lot of small differences in these references, due to aging for example. Different color hour markers, hands, dials etc. It makes it fun to ‘select’ the one you like best. It is also the last reference with caliber 321 movement. I bought mine when they were still (very) affordable. If I would have to buy a vintage Speedmaster today, I would aim for a nice 105.012/145.012 while they are still under 10.000 Euro.
-Speedmaster BA145.022 – The BA stands for yellow gold in Omega’s coding table. So this is the 1969 Speedmaster Professional Apollo XI numbered edition. I personally have the later gold model, from 1980, but the 1969 is a bit more iconic you could say. The rich and fancy dial, the closed yellow gold caseback with red filled inscription and of course the burgundy red bezel. It is an amazing piece and every time I try it on, it just gives me goose bumps.
I don’t feel comfortable to include the Speedmaster Speedy Tuesday Limited Edition in my top 3, but on the other hand.. I am very pleased with the result and ever since I received the 0/2012 piece in December, it has been very difficult to take it off.
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“When looking at the watches in my collection it pretty much comes down to iconic watches with a rich history and timeless design. Given the fact that we’ve been able to compose weekly articles on this watch says it all. Try and find any other watch model that gives you the same amount of content to write about. With the Speedmaster still being available in it’s purest shape and form, highly resembling the original model with hand wound movement and Hesalite crystal to name a few features, makes this watch just one that can’t be missed.
The cool thing is that the Speedmaster is available in so many variations. With my first one being a vintage Speedy from ’71, many others (read: limited editions) have followed. While these special models highly resemble the iconic Speedmaster, they all have unique design features that make them stand out. It’s hard to narrow it all down to a top 3. There are so many great models out there, not to mention the Speedy Tuesday limited edition. This will for sure be one of the watches that will spend most of the time on my wrist, instead of being locked up at the bank.
My top 3 Speedmasters:
– 2915-3 – The first Speedy reference in a transitional model. Love the clean look of this straight lug Speedy and the dauphine hands complete it for me. Yet I doubt there will ever be one in my collection as the prices have gone through the roof.
– The 3570.40 Speedmaster aka ‘Japanese Racing’ Speedy. Ever since I bought a Speedmaster in this configuration it has been one of my favourite models. Not many watches out there feature a grey dial with highly contrasting orange details. This makes it stand out for me and after acquiring this Speedy it has spent many weeks on my wrist. Still one of my most worn Speedmasters.
– Alaska Project – Launched in 2008, the Alaska project Speedmaster commemorates the early 70’s prototype with a white dial and highly contrasting hands. This Speedy comes in a nifty package with a red anodized outer case comparable to the one that was used for the prototype.”
Here you go and now you know our personal bond with the Speedmaster and why we love it so much. We’ve come across some critics (mainly other brands and some journalists) that blame us for being too much ‘Omega’, but these Speedmasters are the watches we spend our own hard-earned money on. It also doesn’t mean we don’t love and like other watches of course, it also doesn’t mean we love everything Omega does. Let’s have that cleared for once and for all 🙂
Happy Speedy Tuesday!
This article was contributed by one of our readers, guest contributors or has been written by a number of our Fratello Watches team members.