Omega Speedmaster World Cup — Group A: RJ
Welcome to the Speedmaster World Cup. In the absence of Euro 2020, we thought our beloved readers might enjoy a tournament of a different kind. We’ve assembled eight groups (A–H), each governed by a different Fratello team member. Each writer has been assigned four watches, which they will pitch to you during the group stages.
All we need you to do is vote for your favorite to move on in the competition. The next round will be the quarter-finals, which will see the eight group winners go head-to-head for your votes. The four winners progress to the semis. Following that, a third-place play-off will precede the final round, due to be held on Sunday, December 13th (get the beers in…).
The opening ceremony
It seems that I have the honor of starting our Speedmaster World Cup series with my Group A selection. It wasn’t easy, as there are so many Speedmaster editions to choose from. And perhaps, if I really need to pick just one, it would be the normal Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch.
But, we decided to put only variations of the original Speedmaster in the mix and that makes it perhaps even tougher. Only one watch from my selection will go on to the next round, and draw surely left me with some heavy hitters in one group. The gold Speedmaster Professional Apollo XI Moonshine is the watch I definitely wore the most in the past 12 months, but the new Speedmaster Calibre 321 is the one I am honeymooning with since July. Anyway, have a look at my group A selection and cast your vote at the end of the article.
I’d be lying if I said that the Speedmaster did not change my life. I bought my first Speedmaster in 1999 after I’d been lusting over one for quite some time. I was still a student and had to make some sacrifices to afford me one, but it was all worth it. When I started the Speedy Tuesday initiative in 2012, I never thought it would have the effect on my life it had, and still has. In the eight years that followed, I traveled the world to meet with other Speedmaster fans, collectors, and astronauts, to talk about Speedmasters.
I made a lot of new friends and had the opportunity with the Fratello team to sit down with Omega and come up with two special Speedmaster watches for the community. The Tribute to Alaska III (ST1) and Ultraman (ST2). Two beautiful watches that I cherish. Meanwhile, I never stopped collecting Speedmasters. I hardly follow trends, and always made sure to buy what I really like, without looking at possible price development or what’s “hot” in the community. My Speedmaster collection is a reflection of myself, each watch comes with its own important story. For each Speedy in Group A of our Speedmaster World Cup, I tried to underline its importance and what makes it so special (to me).
Speedmaster Apollo XI 50th Anniversary “Moonshine”
One of the first special Speedmasters I came across in my very early days of collecting (in 1999), was an original gold 1969 Speedmaster Professional. It made a huge impression on me, and the story that it was offered to the Apollo astronauts made it even more significant. When Omega re-introduced this gold Speedmaster to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Apollo XI, I couldn’t resist to buy one. The massive gold dial is just stunning, and like the original, has these onyx hour markers. The gold is Omega’s own Moonshine alloy, which has a lighter color.
I had the pleasure to compare the original with the new one, side-by-side (in this article) and my conclusion was: the new one is better than the original. It is true to all the details of the original but comes with an incredible new Master Chronometer caliber 3861 movement, a ceramic burgundy bezel that will not fade or damage and last not but least, it carries a piece of lunar meteorite in the case back. Omega even respected the very small 14mm clasp width on the new one, just like the orginal.
It even comes in the same crater surface box, but this time made of printed ceramic instead of glued plastic. I bought this watch to have a special piece for special days, but screw that, I wear it almost every day. It will definitely be the watch that my daughter will cherish once I am gone, as this is the one I wore most during our time together.
Speedmaster Silver Snoopy Award 2015
I remember the excitement when Omega sent the press release under embargo a few days before the official introduction in 2015. I ordered it straight away and a few months later, it was finally there. The white dial with the Snoopy cartoon and text might look silly to some, but it refers to a number of historical events that saved the life of NASA’s astronauts Haise, Swigert, and Lovell. The black and white composition of the watch perfectly matches that of the world’s most famous beagle.
The magic is on the case back, as it shows the Silver Award Snoopy lapel pin replica in sterling silver, on a bed of blue enamel, sprinkled with silver powder. All hand made. And when it gets dark, this watch becomes even more amazing due to the beautiful ‘lume show’ (not shot) it gives. It was also one of those times that Omega really put a lot of effort and attention into the packaging. A beautiful (and huge) box, with a silver Snoopy lapel pin, a newspaper on the Apollo 13 mission, and a polishing cloth. Is this the best thematic Speedmaster Omega ever made?
That’s up to you, but I think this is the Speedmaster that changed a lot of things for Omega. Suddenly it showed that there was a real collector’s demand for their special edition watches. Meanwhile, the prices of these 2015 Snoopy watches have gone wild and it became a bit pointless to go after one. The new Snoopy will bring solace, being a non-limited and all, but it seems that it only fired up the demand for the old one even more. It is hotter than a Daytona and could very well go all the way to the World Cup Final…
Speedmaster Speedy Tuesday “Ultraman”
After the successful launch of the Speedmaster Speedy Tuesday in 2017, to commemorate the 5th anniversary of the Speedy Tuesday community, we sat down with Omega once more and discussed a possible idea for a Speedmaster. With the huge interest from the community in the original 1967 Speedmaster Ultraman, the watch with the orange second hand, we decided to see if we could do something really cool with that theme and make it a second Speedy Tuesday edition.
We decided to pack this watch with hidden features. There is the Ultraman head that only appears under UV light. The small hand for the seconds is a nod to Ultraman’s Beta Capsule. And the first three minute markers on the chronograph’s minute recorder are also in orange. These three minutes refer to Ultraman as well, as he could only stay in superhero-mode for so long. Last but not least, there’s the Dot-Over-Ninety bezel with orange “Tachymètre” writing on it.
The Speedy Tuesday 2 “Ultraman” came in a beautiful box, based on the hexagonal futuristic table used by Ultraman’s Monster Attack Team. In the box, you will find the additional strap and a strap change tool that actually looks like Ultraman’s Beta Capsule. The other side of this tool is the UV lamp. Make sure to use that UV lamp to discover some surprises in the packaging. I love this watch for obvious reasons, but also because I believe it is one of the best thematic Speedmasters out there and a worthy contender for the Speedmaster World Cup.
Speedmaster Snoopy Award (2003)
Out of nowhere, Omega introduced the Speedmaster Snoopy Award in 2003. This watch did not sell very well at the start. People didn’t understand the Snoopy on the dial (and case back) and we’ve been told by dealers that the only people who bought this eventually, were women who loved Snoopy. Back in 2003, Omega didn’t communicate as well as it does today, on these special edition watches. It shows how important storytelling actually is.
However, you can say that the Snoopy Award 2003 model caught up in the meantime. I bought mine back in 2013 and had to book a trip to New York to pick it up. At the time I paid top dollars, but I really wanted to have it. At today’s market value, the price I paid is a laugh. Anyway, I love the watch because of the clean look. It’s almost identical to the standard Moonwatch, but that little Snoopy patch on the 9 o’clock sub-dial changes everything. On the case back, there’s a sapphire crystal with a larger Silver Snoopy Award patch.
Despite the relatively high production number of 5,441 pieces (referring to the 142 hours, 54 minutes, and 41 seconds that the mission lasted), this watch is highly sought after today and quite difficult to get. I picked the Speedmaster Snoopy Award 3578.51 for this selection because it marks the first celebration of that important award given to Omega by NASA. Surely that’s worthy of the Speedmaster World Cup quarter-finals, no?
Now the ball is in your court. Who is progressing to the next stage from my group? Vote below and let me know your choice in the comments section.
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