By Harlan Chapman-Green
The watch which has had the best history and the best treatment is the focus of our Top 5 today. No watch has had the opportunity to become an icon like the Speedmaster has, and it’s something which Omega has capitalised on time and time again. Since its introduction in the 1950s, the Speedmaster has timed events, races, been to space and even been to the moon and back. It’s also saved the lives of astronauts too, so it’s fair to say it’s a superwatch through and through, and today we’re counting down our Top 5 versions of the Omega Speedmaster.
5. Speedmaster Mark II
The Speedy Mark 2 is an odd-looking watch, however, when it was first introduced in the late 60s, 1969 to be exact, it was more in-keeping with the current trend. Omega still makes the Speedmaster Mark 2 and is thankfully doing a good job at keeping it as close to the original as possible while allowing for some discreet changes. It’s currently on sale in three different versions, the simple black and white with green lime, a grey coloured steel and 18K Sedna gold version, and the most popular version which has a grey dial and orange details such as an orange seconds hand and markers. I haven’t seen many people wearing it, but it’s most popular with vintage gurus who want a modern ‘beater’ they can wear and enjoy daily.
4. Speedmaster ‘57 Chronograph
Unveiled last year as the 60th anniversary present to itself, the ‘57 Trilogy Edition Speedmaster epitomises what Omega is one of the best big brands at doing: recreating its vintage watches. This one is much like the Speedmaster Mark 2 above, except it’s even more faithful to the original. In this case, it’s faithful to the original Speedmaster itself. Most people forget that the Speedmaster line was around long before the Moon landings occurred. Interestingly, the Speedy was the first chronograph watch to have the tachymeter on the bezel instead of the dial. With its svelte appearance, hand wound ref. 1861 movement and even the vintage Omega logo, this is one of the most interesting Speedmasters around.
3. Speedmaster Moonphase
The most complicated Speedmaster on this list features a date subdial and moonphase on top of the chronograph. Wearing one of these watches is an absolute treat, they are very comfy on the wrist and look extremely smart as well, especially with a blue dial and blue Liquidmetal bezel, although black is also available. Inside the sexy case is the equally sexy gem of a movement, the Master Co-Axial 9904 or 9905 depending on which model you choose (the 9905 has a gold bridge and gold rotor). This version is available in several colours including steel, 18K yellow gold, 18K Sedna gold, a crazy blue solid ceramic version and there is even a platinum watch available. If you look closely at the moonphase there is even a print like the ones left by Neil Armstrong on the moon.
2. Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon
This was a big hit for Omega, probably the biggest hit they’ve had in years. When it was released no one was quite sure whether they were looking at a crazy failed idea or a future revolution. Thankfully, it turned out to be the latter as people began ordering the Dark Side of the Moon all around the globe. The sleek black look and high tech ceramic case returned Omega to the spotlight that it had been slowly losing, and with it came several other versions such as the all black Dark Side of the Moon, the Grey Side of the Moon and the ever-divisive White Side of the Moon. All of these are using automatic winding movements and all of them are really really cool looking. This will go down as one of the turning points on modern-day horology, while Omega wasn’t the first to make a ceramic watch by any means, we’ve seen a huge increase in ceramic watches since the Dark Side of the Moon came out.
1. Speedmaster Moonwatch
Way before the idea of a solid ceramic chronograph watch, there was the Moonwatch. Take any guess as to why this watch is at the top of the list. You can’t make a list of iconic watches or iconic chronographs that don’t include this without being extremely specific, as in, no chronographs that have been to space or something. I think it’s a fair assumption to make that this is the most popular chronograph on the planet, sure, the Rolex Daytona gives it one hell of a run for its money, but the higher cost means we don’t see as many of them. The Moonwatch is not only iconic, but also the starting watch for most people who are just getting into the luxury watches game. It’s got a chronograph inside it to keep the wearer entertained, and, because that calibre 1861 is manually wound, it will keep their interest as they wind it up every day. It’s a very versatile sports watch which doesn’t offend when it’s worn with a suit or with swim shorts. For that reason and many others, it deserves the number one position on the list. Also it’s been to the moon and stuff, but we all knew that anyway.