OK Fratelli, pop quiz: 39.7 or 42 millimeters — that is the question! Of course, you’ve already seen the watches in the picture above. But I think those measurements alone would already give away which watches we’re talking about. Yes, we’re discussing the Omega Speedmaster. And to be more specific, the First Omega in Space (FOiS) and its bigger brother, the Professional Moonwatch. I never thought I would be able to pull off wearing the 42mm Professional Moonwatch on my 17cm wrist. So, I decided to get the 39.7mm FOiS. But one year later, I ended up selling it and got myself the new Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch. Here’s why!

Before I really got into watches, I had a 43mm Seiko SNP005 Kinetic watch. I wore that watch for 15 years non-stop and never, ever thought about whether it was too big for me or not. But when a little over two years ago I did get into watches, it was clear to me that I shouldn’t really be buying any watches bigger than 40mm. Any larger than that, and the watches would just feel too big and clunky on my wrist. So when I got more familiar with the 42mm Speedmaster Professional, it quickly became clear that it would probably also be too big for me, especially in combination with its thickness.

The Speedmaster First Omega in Space was the one for me!

What I wasn’t really aware of at that time was that there are Speedmasters in all different styles and sizes. The Speedmaster Reduced at 38mm looked like the perfect watch for my wrist. It was just that I didn’t really like the design with the widely spaced sub-dials crowding the minute track. Also, the fact that it had an automatic movement was a big drawback to me. So, at that point, I more or less decided that the Speedmaster was just not the watch for me… Until I stumbled upon the Speedmaster First Omega in Space, that is.

It is a watch inspired by a CK2998 from 1962 and therefore has a case 39.7mm wide. That smaller size is mainly caused by the absence of the crown guards. It features straight lugs instead of the characteristic lyre lugs. Finally, the hour, minute, and seconds hands all have a steel finish and the so-called “Alpha” shape. All in all, I felt it still very much looked like the Speedmaster Professional I was initially drawn to. But to me, the First Omega in Space came across as a more dressy version of the Pro, which wasn’t a bad thing in my opinion. And it looked like Omega agreed with that view because the FOiS only came on a brown leather strap with white stitching, and there was no OEM bracelet option available. I felt that reinforced the dressy vibe of the watch.

Let’s try it out, just for the fun of it!

While scrolling through my Instagram feed on a Speedy Tuesday, I remember I was feeling really left out. I didn’t own a Speedmaster at that time, and all I saw on my feed were Speedmasters. As I was working from home, at lunchtime, I decided to go to an AD close by to go and try on some Speedies. I wasn’t going to immediately buy one that day, but I just wanted to take a Speedy wristshot and post it. And that’s exactly what I did. I went to the AD and asked if I could try both the Speedmaster Professional and the First Omega in Space. I took some pictures, thanked the AD for the help, and when I came home, I posted a shot of the First Omega in Space on my wrist. Here’s that post and its caption:

And indeed, after that, I decided to put the First Omega in Space on my watch list for the future. But that post was made in November 2020, and only a little more than a month later, Omega decided to discontinue that watch. At that time, the FOiS had already been in the collection since 2012 as a numbered (but not limited) edition. I didn’t think much of the discontinuation at the time, as it was just another item of news in the watch world. But when I went into a multibrand AD to pick up my Tudor Black Bay 36, I also mentioned that fact to the staff. They had also heard about it and told me, “If you’re still interested and you’d like to get one at a good price, you’d better be quick!” And that’s when I suddenly picked up the pace.

On the hunt for a discontinued First Omega in Space

I remembered that I had seen one being offered by a Dutch secondhand dealer on Instagram, but that was before the First Omega in Space had been discontinued. So I checked the dealer’s website, and lo and behold, the watch was still on offer at quite a bit below list. After what they’d told me at the AD and seeing the rising secondhand prices online, I figured this could probably be quite a good deal. The watch was only a month old and still fully stickered, so it was also still covered by the Omega warranty. I decided to buy it.

When it arrived, it was indeed still brand new and looked as if it had never been worn. The brown leather strap it came on was still very stiff and the case was still covered by all the right stickers. It felt great when I put it on my wrist — finally, I had a Speedmaster, and what a beauty at that! The steel alpha hands, applied logo, straight lugs, and sapphire crystal almost made it feel like a dress watch. To me, it looked like a very elegant version of the Speedmaster, especially when worn on the brown leather strap it came with.

Maybe not the Speedmaster experience I was hoping for

Of course, I followed a few other FOiS owners on Instagram, partly to get inspiration for strap options. Because of its 19mm lugs, I couldn’t use any straps from my existing collection. I wanted to choose wisely to have a few options, and of course, I also “needed” a bracelet. I decided on a green ripstop strap from Bulang & Sons and a polished/brushed Flat Link bracelet from Forstner. Most of the time, I wore it on that great-looking and jingly-jangly Flat Link, though. I must say, I really enjoyed that combo for a while, but there were also some things that bothered me. 

Even though the diameter of the FOiS is just under 40mm, it is still 14.5mm thick. It meant that on the wrist, it felt quite tall. And on that vintage-feeling Flat Link, it also moved about quite a lot. It certainly wasn’t the most comfortable watch in my collection. But what started to bother me even more than the fit was just how many Speedmaster Professionals I was seeing out there. The more dressy feel of the FOiS, which had attracted me at the start, was now really starting to irritate me.

I decided to sell the First Omega in Space

The Speedmaster Professional just feels so much more sporty. And those white hands against the matte black dial give it so much character and recognizability. Oh, and then the new Speedmaster Professional was released. On that new bracelet with a shorter lug-to-lug span, I seriously started doubting whether the FOiS was actually the right one for me. The fact that I had seen the new Speedmaster Professional a few times since I joined Fratello last month certainly added to that feeling. I just wasn’t able to enjoy the FOiS on my wrist anymore. 

That’s why I decided to sell the First Omega in Space and get myself the new Speedmaster Professional instead. Not only was I able to make a little bit of profit on the sale, but I also got a bit of a discount on the new one. So, in the end, it was not a bad deal. I decided to go for the Hesalite version on the all-brushed steel bracelet, and spoiler alert: I love it!

The new Speedmaster Professional Hesalite — the perfect Speedy for me

To be honest, even I sometimes thought to myself, “How much difference am I actually going to notice? Is this change really going to be worth it? And isn’t it going to be or feel too big for my wrist, after all?” Well, I can tell you this: it’s everything I had hoped for when I was considering the exchange. 

First of all, there’s the fit. It really feels like the new Speedmaster Professional wraps itself around your wrist. It’s one millimeter thinner than the First Omega in Space and also one millimeter shorter from lug to lug. Those measurements in combination with the 42mm diameter make it feel more like a cushion or turtle-shaped case. To top it off, the beautiful lyre lugs bend towards your wrist, and then that very articulated new bracelet takes over. It all feels so well made and refined. I’m not sure if I’ll ever put an aftermarket steel bracelet on this Speedmaster Professional. That OEM bracelet really ruins it for the rest!

That Hesalite crystal is the cherry on top!

I’m also very much enjoying those white hour, minute, and running seconds hands. They’re always there when you need them and match so well with the other white details on the dial. Even looking at the lume pip on the chronograph seconds hand makes me smile, especially when you compare it to the boring hand on the FOiS, which was just like a straight needle. And then there’s that lovely domed Hesalite crystal. 

The new Speedmaster Professional looks and feels so soft, with its rounded edges and more milky look. They really add to that cushion or turtle feel of the case, especially when you look at your wrist from the side. First, there’s the domed crystal, then there’s the wider bezel, and then an even wider case under that. And it all sits so well on my 17cm wrist. But isn’t there anything to complain about? And was the First Omega in Space really such an awful watch?

It’s just the better option

Of course, the FOiS was also a well-made and refined watch. And winding that watch was certainly a lot easier than winding the Speedy Pro with those crown guards. I also think that the new movement winds a bit “heavier,” or maybe that’s just because it’s only two weeks old, and it still might need some more winding to loosen it up. But other than that, I wouldn’t want to go back to the First Omega in Space, and I still stand behind the move I made 100 percent!

As I said, I’m now only two weeks into owning my new Speedmaster Professional. So if anything about that opinion changes, I’ll make sure to let you know. But again, for now, I’m really happy about the decision I made. 

What do you think? Did I make the right swap? Did you do the same, or maybe even the other way around? I’m curious to hear your thoughts on the story about these two Speedmasters in the comments!

Would you like to see more shots of the First Omega in Space and the new Speedmaster Professional on my wrist? Check out my Instagram @fliptheparrot. And last but certainly not least, I’d like to thank Alon Ben Joseph of Ace Jewelers for providing us with his very own Speedmaster First Omega in Space. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have been able to shoot both watches side by side. Happy Speedy Tuesday!