Speedy Tuesday – Speedmasters In Detail Photo Essay
It’s Speedy Tuesday! A few weeks ago, our watch photographer did a photoshoot with a number of Omega Speedmaster watches. Ranging from vintage to new and including a few (rare) limited edition Speedies as well.
Speedmaster Printing and Typography
In this photo essay we selected the coolest Omega Speedmaster pictures and present them to you. With this photo essay we try to show you the details of the Speedmaster designs and wonderful different dials and styles they had over the decades.
The Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch wording and logo is printed in white since 1968 and its typography changed a tiny bit since then. Long ‘r’, a wide ‘S’, large ‘OMEGA’ or a tad bit smaller. a connected ‘S’ or a detached ‘S’. Speedy collectors pay attention to these nitty gritty changes when they are on the look-out for a nice vintage piece.
What about the grain in the sub dials? You can easily identify the grain on the very early Speedmaster watches and it gets ‘finer’ through the years until they are hardly noticeable anymore. This is something unfortunate according to some collectors. “We want the grain back!”, I hear you.
As you probably know – even if you don’t own an Omega Speedmaster Professional – these watches probably have the most famous casebacks of all watches out there. The regular Speedmasters have the inscriptions: “Flight-Qualified By NASA For All Manned Space Missions” and “The First Watch Worn On The Moon”. Something to be proud of, actually (we did a write up on the Moon landing and the Speedmasters that were used here).
Below a photo of the caseback of the Speedmaster Professional Apollo XIII limited edition of 1995 (which we covered here) which has some additional engraving regarding the Apollo 13 mission and the number of the watch. How I got this watch is also a funny story, it includes a quick 2-day trip to New York City (click here).
Below a more detailed photo of a Speedmaster caseback from the 1970s. It clearly shows the Sea-horse emblem that belongs to the Seamaster collection. As you might know, the Speedmaster was once family of the Seamaster collection. The Sea-horse emblem that is nicely embossed in the stainless steel caseback stands for a water and dust free watch case. Quite important.
Admitted, there are a lot of limited edition Speedmaster Professional watches. They are introduced to commemorate a special occasion or event that happened during NASA missions and some of them are there for other reasons (like the Speedmaster Pro Racing, Speedmaster Tin Tin watch etc.). These limited editions have special casebacks. An inscription, like the Apollo 13 we showed you above or something more ‘special’ like the ones below.
A 2004 Speedmaster Professional ‘Snoopy Award’ caseback. A sapphire caseback with the famous Beagle that has an important meaning to those working at NASA (click here).
And what about this Speedmaster Professional Gemini IV limited edition? We covered the watch here, but thought it would be nice to do a detailed picture of its caseback as well.
I already briefly touched the subject of dials when discussing the typography and circular grains in the sub dials, but with dials I mean complete dials. As written above, there are dozens of neat Speedmasters out there. You might want to go for a standard reference 3570.50 Speedmaster Professional with a black dial and white printing, or a neat caliber 321 dial with the applied Omega logo from the 1950s or 1960s, but you can also consider to go a bit more ‘wild’ and choose a Speedmaster with a mission patch on the dial, racing pattern or… a Snoopy!
From top to bottom:
A Speedmaster Professional ‘Snoopy Award’ (2004), a Speedmaster Professional ‘Apollo XIII’ (1995), a Speedmaster Professional ‘Racing’ (2004), a Speedmaster Professional with applied Omega logo (1967) and a Speedmaster ‘125’ (1973).
The Speedmaster ‘125’ is perhaps a bit of an odd fellow here, but it surely is a Speedmaster. The first automatic chronograph chronometer timepiece ever, to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the Omega company. Only 2000 pieces made and using a much praised automatic Lemania caliber (1342). Since they are quite wearable these days, we suggest you try one before you neglect it. It is a massive watch, but amazingly comfortable for its size and weight. We did a write-up on the Speedy 125 here.
Sometimes it seems that a watch becomes more or less a fashion victim. In some cases, this can be a good thing. People like to change their outfits and need a matching watch. An easy way to match your watch to your outfit is to change the bracelet or strap. A popular strap on the Omega Speedmaster (Professional) is either the velcro or the NATO strap. The velcro comes very close to the straps that NASA astronauts used when performing EVA activities and wearing their Speedies on their space suits (click here for some info on velcro straps). The NATO straps are military straps but can be found in a lot of different colors, materials and finishes. Easy to use and comfortable straps.
Below you see the NATO straps. A 10 Euro nylon (right) and a +250Euro alligator NATO strap (left). The latter is done by ABP in Paris and you will get a 10% discount if you tell them Fratellowatches sent you.
However, you can also choose from a nice few options from the manufacturer. Below, a trio of ‘Broad Arrow’ Speedmaster watches (which refers to the shape of the hands) with a stainless steel bracelet, an OEM alligator strap and an OEM calf strap.
Domed Hesalite Crystals
If there is something we love about the Speedy, it is the Hesalite crystal. There wasn’t much of a choice in the 1950s, but the plexi Hesalite crystals had an interesting feature. They don’t turn into 1000 pieces when it cracks, it stays put. Something quite important for NASA astronauts. You don’t want to have floating splinters in your space craft.
The current ‘standard’ Speedmaster Professional still has the same crystal as they did in the 1960s (click here). Below, you see why we love them so much. They magnify the beautiful Speedmaster dials. Also, they have the tiny Omega logo etched inside in the center of the crystal.
Somewhat of a downside of these plexi crystals is the fact that they easily scratch. You can use toothpaste or things like Polywatch to buff out those little scratches. However, you can also have the crystal replaced during service or in between. They aren’t that expensive. There are also Speedmaster Professional watches with a sapphire crystal, which are being called ‘sapphire sandwich’ Speedies. I had one and I loved the weight of it, but the lack of magnifying the dial was something I really didn’t want to miss.
The Fratello Pack
It is no secret that we love Speedmasters. Heck, we are even organizing a Speedy Tuesday Event on the 29th of October to meet you Speedy fans out there and to see both the vintage and new collections of Omega. More information can be found here.
All photos have been shot of our own Speedmasters. That’s right. We practice what we preach and buy them ourselves as well. In our ever growing collection of watches, the Speedmaster line-up is growing rapidly and even this photo below is out dated already. This means the blue Omega Seamaster Professional ref. 2531.80 could make some room for another Speedmaster.
Speedy Tuesday Event
As written above, we are organizing a Speedy Tuesday Event with the support of OMEGA in Switzerland & Benelux and ESA’s Space Expo center in The Netherlands. We kindly invite you to join us on October 29th 2013 in the Space Expo. Click on the banner below for details and registration.
We hope you enjoyed the show and see you at the Speedy Tuesday Event on the 29th of October 2013. In the meanwhile, keep sending us your own Speedmaster photos, stories etc. We love them and like to publish them on Speedy Tuesday!