Pre-BaselWorld 2017: Omega releases the Speedmaster Speedmaster Moonwatch Master Co-Axial 304.32.44.51.01.001 with vintage-inspired ‘Racing’ dial!
In an early BaselWorld 2017 release, Omega just introduced the latest version of its 44.25mm co-axial Speedmaster, featuring a stainless steel case, a ceramic bezel insert with LiquidMetal tachymeter scale, and a bold ‘Racing’ dial inspired by the 1969-1975 Speedmaster Mark II Racing. It is the first Speedmaster to be equipped with caliber 9900, the Master Chronometer-certified version of caliber 9300. Attached to it is a leather strap with orange rubber mid layer – the latter shining subtly visible through the racing-style perforations.
Compared to the earlier models like the 322.214.171.124.01.001, the profile is said to be slightly slimmer due to a redesign of the sapphire crystals. The size of the sub-dials is increased, enhancing readability – and perhaps even offering a more balanced look.
2017 marks the 60th anniversary of one of my favorite watches: the Omega Speedmaster – and its Railmaster & Seamaster siblings. After yesterday’s release of the wonderful #SpeedyTuesday limited edition, this now has me wondering what’s left in store for BaselWorld…
Today I’m updating our Speedmaster Professional database with new, hi-resolution images, the latest prices and whatever additional information I can find. To kick things off, you’ll find a few of my favorite limited editions of recent years above. What’s your favorite LE Speedmaster?
It’s been a while since my last update but we have been keeping busy – our database now includes over 11.000 watches and more than 1.200 distinct calibers. So, what’s new?
Our JLC database now features most, if not all, models from the current collection – including 100 different Reverso’s. Most are uploaded including pricing information.
I’ve also been working on updating our Bremont collection, which now holds more watches and better images. I might have to tweak our set-up a bit though, as I am not sure whether the Special & Limited section in its current form is such a great idea; after all, it holds watches from several lines.
Omega has been fine tuned here and there, with a few new (or missing) models added and pricing information updated on the most important references. I created a separate page for the Museum Collection, with 1 to 10 all listed.
There are 96 handwound Speedmasters listed on WatchBase today and we’re nowhere near finished. Still a pretty cool overview though. One of my favourites is the 3593.20.00 pictured above, created as a limited edition of 500 pieces in 1997 for the Italian market to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Speedmaster. That off-white dial is just stunning!
While BaselWorld is already a good number of months behind us, there’s still information trickling in that previously either was not available or just plain escaped my attention. While today I’d like to focus on these four new additions to our Omega Watch Database, you might notice that I’ve uploaded quite a few more..
This one I LOVE, saw, noted, but had no decent picture of: the Omega Speedmaster First Omega in Space Sedna Gold reference 3126.96.36.199.02.001. It’s so stunning! This watch uses the same case as the regular FOiS, with the signature straight lugs and lack of crownguards. It’s now done in ‘Sedna’ gold though. Just like its stainless steel brother, this one is said to be numbered though not limited.
BOOM! You’re looking at the first full overview of the 2015 ceramic Speedmaster collection – at the time of this post, it is not even available at OmegaWatches.com…
While most of them were uploaded to our Omega watch database around Basel, the two diamond versions were not as we we’re waiting on the final reference numbers and ‘soldier shots’. The first (and most surprising) one, reference 3188.8.131.52.55.001, features a white ceramic case, a mother-of-pearl dial with diamond-set markers and a diamond-set bezel and its fitted with a white alligator strap. Controversial? Sure. I’m pretty sure it would look very cool on the wrist of the right lady, while it would take quite a confident man to pull this one off…
Another one that’s new to our database is of course the reference 3184.108.40.206.51.001, a Speedmaster with a black ceramic case with diamond-set bezel and a deep black dial with diamond-set markers. It’s wrong. It’s weird. But somehow, I kinda dig it. Don’t judge!
Three Omega Speedmaster Professional models looking exceedingly alike: reference 3570, 3572 and 3573. To little surprise, one of the questions most often asked among budding Speedmaster aficionado’s ist: what exactly is the difference between these three?
The 3570.50.00 was introduced in 1996 and discontinued somewhere in the second half of 2014, when it was replaced by the 3220.127.116.11.01.005. This Speedmaster is fitted with a closed caseback and a hesalite (plexi) front. It is powered by caliber 1861.
The 3572.50.00 was introduced 1996 and discontinued somewhere around 2002. No direct replacement was offered; the 3573 more or less served as its replacement. This Speedmaster is fitted with a sapphire caseback and a hesalite (plexi) front. It is powered by caliber 1863.
The 3573.50.00, as indicated above, was introduced in 2002 as an updated replacement for the 3572. This Speedmaster is fitted with a sapphire crystal both front and back. It is powered by caliber 1863. This reference was discontinued in favor of the 318.104.22.168.01.006 in the second half of 2014.
As far as the 1861 / 1863 difference goes: the 1861 can be regarded as the standard version of this movement, while the 1863 is the ‘luxury’ model upgraded for use in models fitted with a sapphire caseback. It is therefore finished to a somewhat higher degree. The baseplate features circular graining, several bridges now sport Geneva stripes and both bridges as well as levers are now adorned with polished edges. Also, the 861 (and its successor 1861) have been using a Delrin (plastic) chronograph brake since approximately 1971, a feature introduced to reduce friction on the wheels caused by a conventional steel brake. On the 863 and 1863 this piece was changed back to metal so no plastic parts would show through the caseback.
The debate often gets heated much more quickly when it comes to the right choice of crystal for the Moonwatch. Purists prefer the plexi: this conform the original specs, plus the plexi adds a certain ‘glow’ that is unmatched by the sapphire. However, the plexi (hesalite if you prefer) is rather soft and scratches quite easily. The scratches can be buffed out easily on the other hand.
Sapphire crystal is much harder and will hardly scratch. However, the curvature of the glass is noticeably different and one could say a bit of character is lost – it is much less ‘vintage’ in appearance, although only those in the know will notice. There is less distortion. And -plus or minus, you decide- it adds a bit of heft to the Speedmaster, especially in the 3573 model which is fitted with sapphire both front and back.
In todays market, a huge number of watches is fitted with sapphire crystal backs. Not all views are equal though – many of them are really not that spectacular to look at. The 1863 however is a nice sight – it is a very traditional chronograph movement that has powered Omega’s emblematic Speedmaster for decades, so it deserves a bit of attention every now and then..
3570.50.00 – purists model
3573.50.00 – modern take on the classic
3573.50.00 – the perfect combination?
Now, which one works best for you is of course a very personal decision.. IMHO, either of these (and their current-production counterparts) is a great choice.. But so are the limited editions.. the vintage ones.. the 9300.. Browse the selection we’ve uploaded right here.
WatchBase recommends buying at an Authorized Dealer when buying new and at a trusted and recommended party when buying used.