The Fourth Fratello × REM Strap For The Speedmaster: The Moon Explorer
The Moon Explorer strap is our fourth collaboration with REM. Every month in 2023, we will offer a special strap for Speedmaster enthusiasts. Last month’s Speedy Tuesday — Tribute to Alaska III strap went crazy, so we actually restocked a few more last week, and we will continue to do so in the future to ensure you can get one. This month, we present to you The Moon Explorer. This one will go well with almost any Speedmaster but especially the special red-and-white-dial one that was in production from 2013 to 2016.
It’s the Omega Speedmaster Professional watch that we introduced to you in 2013, originally marketed as a “Racing” edition. This watch debuted exactly 10 years ago on April 25th, 2013 during Baselworld. During our meeting with Omega at the time, we learned that it was initially meant to be a Speedmaster with a Tintin theme, featuring the famous rocket on the dial.
Well, long story short, that didn’t work out. Omega, however, decided to proceed with the watch anyway but as a “Racing” edition due to the red and white checkers. When we broke the story on this special Speedmaster (here), we received a letter from the lawyers protecting the Hergé heritage that we should remove the picture of the Tintin album cover and stop using the “Tintin” name.
Ten years of the Speedmaster “Tintin”
We covered this Omega Speedmaster “Tintin” several times here on Fratello (here and here, for example) and it is somewhat shocking to realize that this watch has been around for 10 years now. It wasn’t a very popular Speedmaster at first, and many of them just sat in the displays of Omega dealers. Let’s say that the Omega’s storytelling wasn’t as good as it is today.
Very much driven by the Speedmaster communities and enthusiasts, the Speedmaster “Tintin” got a firm push and the demand went up, especially after word got out that Omega had discontinued it. I have to admit that I never rushed into getting one, even when dealers offered a discount back then. As it wasn’t a limited edition but just part of the regular collection, there wasn’t a reason to rush either. But when I realized it was out of production and the prices increased accordingly, I decided not to pursue it.
However, as you can see, I own one. By coincidence, I bumped into it in 2017 at a watch dealer during one of my trips. Even better, it was for sale for less than the original retail price (approximately €3,500 before its discontinuation). I didn’t have to give it any thought at all. I regretted my decision not to buy it when it was still in production, and I had the opportunity to correct that mistake without having to bleed for it.
The Speedmaster “Tintin” has several special characteristics, such as the grainy finish of the dial, the red and white checkers, and the red text on the case back. The rest of the watch is all the same, including the instruction manual and packaging. Unlike today, there was no special booklet or anything with this specific model. The first ones came with Omega’s famous red leather box, while the later ones were delivered in the more recent wooden boxes that Omega uses.
One of the issues with the watch is that I didn’t really fancy it on the stainless steel bracelet and most straps for it were a bit too boring. I do have a red (racing) strap for this watch, but wearing a completely red strap isn’t always appropriate. We made sure that this new Fratello × REM strap still puts the focus on the amazing dial of this watch but also adds a little flair to the strap itself with the colored stitching and the laser-engraved silhouette.
A short production run
As mentioned, the Omega Speedmaster “Tintin” debuted on April 25th, 2013, and it was in production until July 2016. It resulted in a very limited production run, and fans estimate the number somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 pieces. If you want to dive deeper, there’s a 160-page thread on the OmegaForums discussing everything around this mythical Speedmaster.
Anyway, the Speedmaster Professional “Tintin” (reference 3126.96.36.199.01.004) originally came with a stainless steel bracelet. We decided to design a special strap that would suit the Speedmaster “Tintin” but also work for other Speedmaster models (the regular Moonwatch as well as the Apollo 15 from 2011 with the red, white, and blue elements). As you can see, there’s a recognizable silhouette on each of the strap parts. For the stitching, it uses both white and red to match the checkers on the dial.
The Moon Explorer strap has a bit of an “if you know, you know” design. The laser engraving of the rocket silhouette together with the red and white stitching makes it a very fitting strap for the Omega Speedmaster “Tintin.” This time, there is no text engraved on the strap, making it a bit more understated than the previous editions we had. Every strap has “Fratello × REM Straps” and “April 2023” engraved in the lining. The strap tapers from 20mm to 18mm and comes on a Fratello-signed pin buckle.
In my opinion, it’s a great companion for the Speedmaster “Tintin.” It’s a bit of a stealthy strap since we are not allowed to use any branding, wordmark, or image that is trademarked by Hergé. We wanted to have some fun with the watch without breaching any trademarks or copyrights, so with this design, I think we came up with a cool-looking strap that speaks to those who are in the know.
The Moon Explorer strap is available now
This fourth Fratello × REM Strap for the Speedmaster is now available in our shop for €107 excluding VAT. As previously mentioned, we will have a new design with new colors every month this year. Though we’ll design these with specific Speedmasters in mind, the straps might also work on other models as well. We hope you enjoy this month’s strap, and we look forward to sharing the next one with you in May!
In the meantime, make sure to check out the REM Strap website.