The Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonphase
When Omega introduced its Speedmaster Professional Moonphase in 2003, it wasn’t an entirely new model. Already back in 1985, Omega introduced the SpeedyMoon 385.0809 and two additional references. The 2003 model, reference 3876.50 for the leather strap version and 3576.50 for the one on the bracelet, is based on the 1980s SpeedyMoon.
In this article, I will have a closer look at the now discontinued Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonphase 3876.50 and try to explain why it is underrated, in my opinion. It has been discontinued since 2018, so you will have to search the pre-owned market for one or try to reach out to some authorized dealers who still might have one in stock. This Speedmaster Professional 3876.50 is nearly identical to the normal Moonwatch, but with a different movement, and dial of course. The 3876.50 has a moonphase indicator at 12 o’clock, as well as a pointer date indicator.
What is the reason behind the discontinuation of this Speedmaster Moonphase reference, and why is it considered unloved?
Speedmaster Professional Moonphase 3876.50
For a time span of approximately 15 years, Omega had a Speedmaster Professional Moonphase in its collection. During that time, Omega also added some variations to the Speedmaster Moonphase. Remember the short-lived version with an aventurine dial? Or the Speedmaster Co-Axial Moonphase? Beautiful watches, but either too large or just not considered a Speedmaster Professional “Moonwatch”.
The 2012 Speedmaster Moonphase reference 318.104.22.168.01.001 with an aventurine dial was especially very impressive. Officially, that was a “Professional” model as well, despite the 44.25mm case (instead of 42mm). It was quickly discontinued, the reason why remains unknown.
Speedmaster Moonphase Aventurine
A few years later, Omega added a few more Speedmaster watches with Moonphase complication. Also housed in the 44.25mm cases, in steel, precious metals, and in ceramics. These were all powered by self-winding in-house developed movements, and one of them featured an aventurine dial (again).
The Master Chronometer version, in the picture below, with aventurine dial, is referred to as the “Blue Side of the Moon” and has reference number 304.93.44.52.03.002. With a retail price of €13,700. It is not even the most expensive model of the collection. That would be the Speedmaster Moonphase Master Chronometer models in platinum, with a ruby set dial like the reference 304.93.44.52.99.002, with a price of €53,800. However, the stainless steel Speedmaster Moonphase Master Chronometer ref. 304.33.44.52.01.001 starts at €10,100.
For the Speedmaster die-hards though, I tend to believe that the 42mm Moonwatch-based Moonphase models, whether that’s the original SpeedyMoon 345.0809 or the 2003–2018 Speedmaster reference 3576.50 and 3876.50, are the most interesting ones to our readers and Speedmaster fans.
So back to the Speedmaster Professional Moonphase 3876.50 that we have here for you today. Fitted with the Lémania based caliber 1866 movement, it offers the same functions as the regular Moonwatch, but with an added calendar and moonphase indicator. The original Omega SpeedyMoon used the predecessor, the caliber 866. The 1866 movement uses caliber 1861 but added with a module for the additional functions.
The lunar complication for the Speedmaster 3876.50 works like most other moonphase complications we see out there. A disc with two moons printed on it is connected to the calendar mechanism. Consequently, it makes a full rotation in 59 days. A lunar month takes approximately 29.5 days (technically you need to add 44 minutes and 2.8 seconds to that), that’s where the 59 days comes from. In the case band, as can be seen in the picture below, there are two correctors. One is to advance the date, the other to correct the moonphase indicator.
First and Only Watch Worn on the Moon
What I always found interesting about the Speedmaster Moonphase 3876.50 and other versions with a sapphire case back (such as the reference 3573.50 and the brown-dialed reference 322.214.171.124.13.001) is the engraving “The First and Only Watch Worn on the Moon”. Some other Speedmaster models with a sapphire case back don’t have the “And Only”. These ones do, however. And the weirdest thing is how little sense it actually makes…
We know that other watches were used on the surface of the moon. For example, Apollo 15 astronaut Dave Scott actually wore a Bulova chronograph on his wrist while doing a moonwalk in 1971. We interviewed Apollo 15 Dave Scott in this article, a while ago.
So how come Omega still used “And Only” for so long in these case backs? One explanation might be the fact that the Speedmaster was just the one and only watch qualified by NASA to be used during EVA. Another explanation is that this was done by mistake under the lead of Jean-Claude Biver back then at Omega. He is, after all, known to be bold. Very bold. Perhaps it makes the case back more interesting with this little historical error.
Close to the original SpeedyMoon
As you can see, the Speedmaster Professional Moonphase 3876.50 is very similar to the original SpeedyMoon reference 345.0809. The moon on the disc is different, but the quickest giveaway that you’re dealing with either the new or the old version are the rims around the subdials on the modern Speedmaster 3576.50 and 3876.50 references.
Taking a closer look, you will see that the date-dial numbers between 9 and 21 are the other way up from their counterparts on the original SpeedyMoon. Interesting to know is that many redials of the SpeedyMoon do show those numbers like the modern Speedmaster Professional Moonphase: not upside down. The use of tritium on older models is of course also a clear giveaway, indicated by the “T Swiss Made T” at 6 o’clock on the dial.
Beautiful but unloved
The SpeedyMoon from the 1980s (that we covered in this article on Fratello) is a highly sought-after model, that has become an expensive Speedmaster to chase. Back in 2003, when the new Speedmaster Professional Moonphase 3876.50 was introduced, the original SpeedyMoon wasn’t as expensive as it is today of course, but certainly more valuable than the modern Speedmaster Moonphase 3876.50 at retail. Now that it has been discontinued, the prices are still sane. Very reasonable indeed, in fact. They are in the ballpark of €5,500 Euro or $6,000. For that price, you should be able to find one in pristine condition. Amazingly, it is not too far from the watch’s last retail price.
I know that not many Speedy enthusiasts and collectors are after one. Similarly, very few have it in their collection (I don’t have one in mine, for example). However, I wouldn’t mind owning one at some point. The Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonphase 3876.50 pictured in this article is in my colleague Gerard’s collection. He likes the original SpeedyMoon better but doesn’t mind owning this modern version for sure.
Although the extra subdial gives the dial an entirely different dynamic, I still feel it is a true Speedmaster Professional. Purely from a collector’s standpoint, I prefer this 3876.50 over one of the Moonphase Master Chronometer versions. The discontinued 44.25mm Speedmaster Professional Moonphase with Aventurine dial might be interesting to have because it is so rare. However, the diameter puts me off a bit, as does the caliber 1866 dial layout. The only Speedmaster moonphase that I would prefer over this modern one, is of course the original SpeedyMoon from the 1980s.