Omega Speedmaster World Cup — Thoughts From The Losers’ Enclosure
Well, what a massacre the Grand Final turned out to be! Perhaps we should have had the Ed White ranked higher when we started the competition. Somehow, despite it clearly being beloved by the Speedy community, it feels like a bit of a dark horse winner. But I’m all for dark horses — the darker the better! And this dark-dialed beauty finally put the dog to the sword, slaying the Snoopy most of us thought would win…
But what did we want to happen? Who did we want to win? As the rounds progressed, we all threw our allegiance behind different survivors. Some of us championed the Alaska over the Tintin in that memorable back-and-forth quarter-final. A plucky one or two hopped on the seriously under-populated Apollo 45th bandwagon. And I almost abandoned my own Group winner in favor of my competitor in the quarter-final to end all quarter-finals…
Let’s round-up the bruised and battered losers in reverse order to find out their thoughts, good and bad, about a hotly contested Omega Speedmaster World Cup.
8th — Gerard and the Apollo 45th
At last, the Apollo XI 45th anniversary is at the top of the list! Unfortunately, here it means that it gained the last place in the Quarter Finals. Product-wise, it’s not fair: the 45th — with its laser-cut dial, titanium case, and Sedna gold trims — is a technical marvel. But in terms of image, I get it. A look at the contenders quickly shows that the others need less explanation and are easier sells all round. That simply brings a larger audience, thus more votes. I accept my loss, with my head held high.
7th — Ben and the FOiS
Well, that was a whirlwind. When the tournament was merely a concept, I had in mind that the showdown would be between two far-out Speedmasters. My bet was riding on the Speedy Tuesday II “Ultraman” and the eventual finalist, the Silver Snoopy Award 45th Anniversary. If I were to guess the reason, it would be the extraordinarily creative and comical designs that bridge our inner child and nostalgic adult.
My hopes for this clash were quickly dashed when the team picks came. RJ bagsied both these Speedmasters for his opening group. Mr. #SpeedyTuesday himself got greedy, in my opinion, but it did force some David Vs. Goliath battles in the second-round knockout stages.
None more so than my Group-B-winning First Omega in Space going head-to-head with the silver medal-winning Silver Snoopy. Silver for the Silver — quite a fitting position, if you think about it. It is a shame we didn’t have a gold-cased Speedy getting gold, but I digress. As we know, the FOiS did not prevail, but it put up one hell of a fight. Not only did the votes come in pretty regularly in favor of it, but many commenters also expressed their support in the quarterfinals. But in the end, it was the Calibre 321 “Ed White” that took the crown — truly deserved and Balázs fought its case valiantly in each stage. Possibly we could have seen this coming, as, to my recollection, the “Ed White” has won each poll it’s participated in…
The Speedmasters in this Speedy World Cup span nearly 60 years.
In the Sunday Morning Showdown column, the Calibre 321 bested the venerable Rolex Daytona. More recently, in RJ’s summation of his 2020 watch collection, the 321 also took the people’s vote by a landslide. In some way, I think RJ had an internal conflict as the “Ed White” is possibly his most worn and most loved watch of this year. But then again, the Speedmasters in this Speedy World Cup span nearly 60 years, so it was always an open battle between seniors and juniors.
6th — Jorg and the Alaska Project 2008
After a long and hard battle, the Alaska Project 2008 had to concede to the Tintin in the end. Personally, I feel the battle deserved a different outcome but I always knew it was going to be difficult knowing how popular the Tintin is. However, for me, the Alaska Project 2008 remains one of the best conceptual limited edition Speedmasters ever released. But I also understand its critics mentioning the wearability and divisive aesthetic. It’s the one Speedmaster that is aesthetically the furthest removed from the familiar Speedmaster. And I like that about it, a lot.
Looking at the tournament overall I am happy to see the Speedmaster 321 Ed White win it. I had a chance to visit Omega in Biel and witness the magic of the new 321 movement. The Ed White is truly something special.
We definitely need more love for the gold, people!
One other thing I want to point out is the lack of love for gold Speedmasters. Robert-Jan and I both mentioned the fact that it was stunning to find out that his stunning Moonshine and my legendary Apollo XI 1969 didn’t make it past the group stages. We definitely need more love for the gold, people!
5th — Bert and the Speedy Tuesday tribute to Alaska
What can I say? The ultimate Speedy (in my book) has survived the battle to make it through because of a tie in votes. Too close to call and yet it ends up knocked out in the corner anyway. To me, this watch remains a true winner for many reasons, no matter what. Competition however is strong and the choices are tough. There simply were a lot of amazing Speedies to choose from and each watch has its own appeal. It just shows that the same watch in a different configuration can make such a huge difference. Add an amazing heritage to that and we have all picked a winner for sure.
4th — Mike and the Tintin
The Speedmaster World Cup has finally drawn to a close and I can simply say that I’m proud of the Tintin. It’s a beloved watch with a bit of a cultish following and, therefore, I am truly impressed with how well it did against some formidable foes. Just like in a real World Cup, you can always question how a watch like the Tintin would have fared had it been placed against something like a Snoopy in the first round. But this is how these things go and I think that the format allowed us to view a lot of great Speedmaster models and some in great detail as they traveled on to the next round.
It was a fun challenge every week or so to come up with a different spin on the same model and poking fun at someone like Rob always makes for good fodder. Thanks for playing along and to the Tintin? Well, to be “playing” on the last weekend isn’t such a bad thing for a watch that wasn’t so popular when it first arrived on the scene.
3rd — Rob and the Silver Snoopy 50th Anniversary
Honestly, I’m glad I didn’t win. It would have been too controversial. I’m not saying I sabotaged my own chances of taking home the cup by turning-in awfully written articles throughout the comp. That’s just a coincidence. But it was something of a relief to be so badly battered by the Ed White in our epic three-way semi. I was finally able to relax and reflect on an enjoyable romp.
Truthfully, I did not get the final I wanted. Out of the Group winners, I would like to have seen the Tintin take-on the Speedy Tuesday 1 in the showpiece event. Alas, my Snoopy III and I were partly responsible for that not coming to pass. Apologies to all like-minded Speedy fanatics.
The Soyuz, and its bonkers dial layout, qualifies for me as one of the all-time greats.
From the Group stages, I lamented the early exit of the Ultraman, the Gemini IV (blood on my hands), and the Soyuz that didn’t challenge for Bert’s lopsided group at all. I love flight logos that are so bad, they’re good. The Soyuz, and its bonkers dial layout, qualifies for me as one of the all-time greats. If I could own one of the 32 watches that assembled at the start line of this world cup, it would be that one, hands down. Bring on next year!
2nd — RJ and the Silver Snoopy 45th Anniversary
I wonder, doesn’t it hurt the most when you end up being 2nd? Even worse than ending up 3rd, 4th, 5th, etcetera? In all honesty, I would have expected the Silver Snoopy Award 50th anniversary to end up a bit higher. But I was wrong.
I didn’t expect Speedmaster Calibre 321 to win this contest. I thought it would be a dog fight, and even had some hope a Speedy Tuesday model would be in there. But in the end, I find myself wearing my Speedmaster Calibre 321 much more often than I do either of my Speedmaster Snoopy watches. It doesn’t mean I don’t like my Snoopy watches. On the contrary, but I kinda agree that those are definitely not everyday watches (to me), whereas the Speedmaster Calibre 321 is — in my opinion — the perfect everyday Speedy. The Speedmaster Calibre 321 “Ed White” definitely deserved to win, so I doff my cap to it and its champion, Balazs!