We receive quite a number of e-mails regarding the Speedmaster and some of them show great resemblance. We decided to pick an e-mail / question about Speedmasters from our mailbox once in a while and answer them on the website.
So, let’s have a look at the question from our reader here:
Which Modern Speedmaster Is Closest To The Original MoonWatch?
Thanks for the detailed information and explanation on the speedmasters.
I own a self-winding watch, a Swiss brand that I bought new from an authorized dealer. However, I am going to return it after 2 yrs of use because of its faulty power reserve. So I was looking for a Rolex Submariner, however my wife told me not to buy it because of its brand name and future gossip between relatives. So I’ve set my eyes on the Speedmaster Moonwatch.
Now everyone talks and advices to buy the reference 3570.50. No problem with that, but I just found out that this model isn’t the original version that was used for the Apollo missions.
The 145.012 is the one to get, however it’s freaking expensive. From a reputable seller, it will cost between €7000-€8000 and even up. God knows whether it was serviced correctly, if it has the real original bracelet and so on. I also wonder if it can be serviced in the future.
Cheaper and closest option is reference 145.022. However, the idea of original heritage dies when you don’t get the original one, am I right?
So if 145.012 is the real deal, why do people on the internet, tell me to get the 3570.50 reference? What is the big thing about it? Is it the newest and last manual winding version which is closest to the original one? Or is it something else?
I can get a new 3570.50 on-line with warranty for €3000 at this moment.
Looking forward to get some opinions on which one to get.
Here’s our answer (or opinion, if you wish):
The number of different Speedmaster watches in the current Omega collection can be a bit confusing for people, especially when they call certain models ‘Moonwatch’ when they are clearly not. Although Omega refers to the Dark Side of the Moon, Grey Side of the Moon, White Side of the Moon as well as the stainless steel and titanium Speedmaster Caliber 9300 versions and the First Omega in Space as ‘Moonwatch’ models, they are not. The Moonwatch is per definition a hand-wound watch and while the First Omega in Space is based on the original CK2998 reference (1957 – 1962), it is not really a direct descendant of the Moonwatch.
The two references that made it to the Moon are the Speedmaster Professional 105.012 and 145.012. These were tested and certified by NASA. Omega send them to NASA in the 1960’s and engraved them with their own serial number (SEB) like they did on every piece of equipment. So you could say that the original Moonwatch is a 105.012 or a 145.012. The reader is correct when it comes to pricing. The 105.012 and 145.012 are becoming very expensive and increased rapidly during the last year. The well of caliber 321 powered Speedmasters is drying up, and the 145.012 (which was always the least favorite caliber 321 references) reach prices that were paid for CK2998 references only 3 years ago. Let’s not start on the prices of references before the 105.012 and 145.012.
So yes, the 105.012 or 145.012 are the ones to get if the Moonwatch heritage is that important to you. However, if we take into account that the Speedmaster Professional was never taken out of production, you can easily do the math yourself on which reference today would be the descendent of the original Moonwatch. The 145.012 was followed-up by the 145.022 in 1968 and was in production till 1982. The 145.022 came with several updates / changes, hence the -68/69/71/74/76/78 indicators after 145.022(-xx). The 145.022-78 was produced until 1982 but already in 1981 a new reference was introduced: the 145.0022 (unlike some people think, this is not a service case number as it was with the 145.0012.).
The 145.0022 was replaced by the 3590.50 reference in 1988. In that year, Omega started using a new coding system for their reference numbers called PIC (Product Identity Code). The 3590.50 was replaced by the 3570.50 in 1996 and ran till 2014. In 2014, Omega introduced a new “full set” Speedmaster Professional that comes with a huge presentation box, a loupe, two extra straps and a tool to change them. This new model has reference 3220.127.116.11.01.005.
So in the end, you could say that the Speedmaster Professional 318.104.22.168.01.005 is the current ‘Moonwatch’ version. Of course, there have been some special and limited editions models based on the 145.0022/3590.50 and 3570.50 but let’s exclude them for now. Also, the Moonwatch was also available with sapphire crystal, transparent caseback etc. But the original Moonwatch should always have a Hesalite (plexi) crystal and stainless steel caseback.
The current Moonwatch (322.214.171.124.01.005) retails for €4300 Euro (including VAT). The 3570.50 is out of production since a while, but if you can get it for €3000 (new/unused) it isn’t a bad deal at all. It is up to you if you think the extra Velcro, NATO strap, loupe, tool, medallion and huge box are worth while.
In the end, the 105.012 and 145.012 were used for the Apollo missions and the 145.022 was certified in 1978 (we’ve found an actual astronaut’s watch in 2012) for the Space Shuttle mission(s). But rest assured that the current 3126.96.36.199.01.005 and previous 3570.50 are considered to be an original Moonwatch as well. In essence, nothing much has changed (except for the caliber 321 movement via the caliber 861 to the current caliber 1861 movement and some cosmetic changes). Perhaps the only advice I can give you is to start with a new(er) reference and if you happen to like it that much, start your quest for a nice vintage model and use the modern one for daily wear.