Speedy Tuesday – The Rare But Unloved Speedmaster Rattrapante Chronometer
Years ago, even before I started Fratello Watches, I visited this Omega dealer near the place where my parents lived. I think I might already have my first Speedmaster that I bought in October 1999, so probably around 2000/2001. The sales person showed me this – then – new Omega Speedmaster Rattrapante Chronometer reference 3540.50. At the time, a futuristic looking watch with a carbon fibre dial and 3 rectangular pushers. A pusher to start/stop the movement, one to reset the chronograph hands and one (at 10 o’clock) to operate the split-seconds.
The stainless steel case (42.25mm) showed a lot of resemblance with the – in 1998 – introduced Speedmaster Professional X-33, except that the Speedmaster Rattrapante has 3 pushers instead of 4 (X-33). Of course, the X-33’s case is made of titanium. The Speedmaster Rattrapante Chronometer was quite mind blowing at the time, at least to me it was. I loved the futuristic look & feel to it, but it was by no means a cheap watch (compared to the normal Speedmaster Professional). It was available with a leather strap and a stainless steel bracelet that is identical to the regular Moonwatch bracelet (reference 1998/998).
The movement, Omega caliber 3600, was based on the ETA/Valjoux 7750 movement and of course modified to become a split-second chronograph. That wasn’t uncommon, as IWC also used a modified ETA/Valjoux 7750 for their Double Chrono Flieger and Ingenieur models for example.
Once in a while I come across a Speedmaster Rattrapante Chronometer and I have to say that I am often tempted to buy one. It isn’t a very pretty watch, like the X-33, but it has something nice to it with the split-second complication and the bulky X-33 type case. These watches are quite rare but yet you can buy them for relatively low money, especially compared to the Moonwatch. At the time of introduction, the Omega Speedmaster Rattrapante 3540.50 had a list price of $4400 USD. Our friends at WatchFinder.co.uk have one for sale for 2250 GBP (here) with the beautiful perforated leather strap and folding clasp, SwissWatchExpo has one for sale with the original stainless steel bracelet for $2990 USD (here) and you will find a couple more here at Chrono24. It should come with the black leather box that was often used for limited and special editions. There is also a silver dial version of the Speedmaster Rattrapante (3540.30) and for the Italian market there was a blue dial as well. If I will wear it as often as I do my X-33 (I really do) it would be actually a great purchase.
Whether it will become collectible is difficult to tell. It might be the same as with the Speedmaster 125 and X-33 for example. Nice watches that are being appreciated by Speedmaster collectors, but those interested in the Moonwatch only, probably will ignore it. So even though the Speedmaster 125, X-33 (1st and 2nd Gen) and this Speedmaster Rattrapante models are rarely seen in the flesh, they can be easily sourced via eBay or Chrono24 and for very reasonable prices.