The Story Of How I Got Into Watches Through The Omega Speedmaster
I know, I know. You were expecting RJ to bring you an article for this week’s Speedy Tuesday, but you are going to have to deal with me, the photographer. Remember me? I introduced you to my Rolex Explorer ref. 124270 in my first-ever article about my GADA watch, which you can read here if you haven’t already. But don’t worry; I will tell you the story of how I met your mothe-… Wait, no, that’s not it. I will tell you the story of how I got into watches, and it is going to be legen…wait for it…dary! Legendary!
In September 2023, I was part of the team that went to Japan for the Speedy Tuesday event that took place at the Nicolas G. Hayek Center in Ginza, Tokyo. If I could’ve told the 17-year-old me that such a thing was going to happen, I bet he wouldn’t have believed me. Because yes, the watch passion started for me when I was 17 years old in high school in Bretagne, France. And it all started with an Omega Speedmaster. True story! So take a seat, strap your Speedmasters on, and get ready for liftoff.
The Omega Speedmaster — It was love at first sight
I remember that day. It was a sunny day in early April 2008, and I was a 17-year-old student. As every student should, I was lying on the grass instead of doing my coursework when I saw my best friend coming toward me. He said nothing, but I saw a different watch strapped to his wrist. He was a stylish guy back then (and still is), and I enjoyed looking at his outfits to get some inspiration. I saw his stunning new watch and asked about it. He told me that he got it for his 18th birthday from his father. This was also the day that I learned his father was a watch collector. For his children’s 18th birthdays, he would gift them a watch of their choice from his collection. Obviously, my friend chose the Omega Speedmaster.
A couple of years later, I was introduced to his father and his collection. I remember seeing watches like a Breitling Navitimer, a Panerai Luminor, an IWC Portugieser, and a JLC Reverso. Among these incredible pieces, my friend had been attracted to the Omega Speedmaster, and I understood why! He told me the story of that watch and how it became the first watch worn on the Moon. How could any 17-year-old boy not have stars in his eyes? From that day on, I was eager to learn more about watches with the dream that I would get an Omega Speedmaster of my own one day. All of that happened before Speedy Tuesday even existed!
A dream come true
As you probably know, when you’re 17, you don’t have money. So I knew it would take me some time to realize my dream. But isn’t the journey to get the watch the most exciting part of the hobby? That’s what I think. Anyway, lots of time passed, and even if I couldn’t buy expensive watches, there was not a day when I’d leave home with a naked wrist. I was constantly looking at watches and learning more about them. In the meantime, prices were increasing every year, and I felt like I would never be able to fulfill my dream! Things changed when I joined the military and started making a bit more money. In 2017, I was finally able to buy my first proper watch. Yes, you guessed it — a Tudor Black Bay 41 Burgundy! Wait, what? Don’t worry; you know how this story goes.
After that first big purchase, you think you are done spending a ridiculous amount of money on watches. Wrong. You are already thinking about the next watch you will buy. With the Speedmaster in mind for nearly a decade by then, I knew what I wanted. In July 2019, 11 years after I saw it for the first time, my dream came true. I gifted myself an Omega Speedmaster Professional ref. 3220.127.116.11.01.005. It was moving because I finally kept the promise I made to my 17-year-old self. I bought the watch of my dreams. To be honest, the buying experience wasn’t the best. Before going to my AD, I called to make sure the watch was available, and the staff told me they would put it aside for me, which they did not. Fortunately enough, one Speedmaster was still available the day I got there.
The good and the bad
Now I have the watch of my dreams. But even if I love it to death, there are things that I don’t necessarily like about it, beginning with the bracelet. Yes, it is a tough, well-finished, and well-made bracelet, but I am not a fan of the design and the fact that it hardly tapers at all. Also, it only has two holes in the clasp to fine-tune the size, which, for me, makes it a bit too tight or too loose. There is no applied logo on the dial, and the dial itself can feel a bit flat sometimes. Also, the water resistance is not great. I know that the latest generation of the Speedmaster can solve those problems, but I am not keen on upgrading mine. I have too much of a connection with it.
On the other hand, there are many things that I love about the watch. First and foremost, it’s a strap monster. On a steel bracelet, a NATO strap, or a leather one, you can’t go wrong. It’s also an iconic watch that shows you’re a “watch person.” You probably won’t go over to talk to someone wearing a Rolex, but if it’s a Speedmaster, it’s different. I love winding the watch every morning before strapping it on my wrist. It’s a moment when I can “connect” with the watch. Finally, I am a fan of the Hesalite crystal. I love the fact that you can scratch it and polish it without a problem; it gives so much character to the watch. Well, maybe I say that because after five hours of ownership, I had badly scratched the Hesalite against a wall… It’s character, I tell you!
As I write these words, I am wearing my Omega Speedmaster, which is the watch I have the most connection and memories with. I have sold and bought a few more watches, but this one has never left the collection and will never. It embodies my passion and made me realize my dreams. I love the idea that owning a Speedmaster helped me in my journey as a photographer and becoming a world-traveling member of the Fratello team. Don’t forget, RJ is the instigator of Speedy Tuesday!
To end my story, I hope that my Omega Speedmaster will find its way to my children’s wrists if I become a father one day. This is not only about the watch but also about the story. My friend coming into school with a watch that belonged to his father and that he saw on his wrist growing up is something that still speaks to me. This is now the dream that I want to fulfill. For now, I’ll try to add the most memories to the watch that I can before giving it to my children one day.
What watch ignited this passion for you? Can you relate to my story? Let me know in the comments.