Two Years Later — How Good Is The Current Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch?
In early 2021, Omega introduced the current Speedmaster Professional model in stainless steel. Although I was able to resist my urge to buy one at first, I pulled the trigger in August 2021 and added a fresh, new Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch 310.30.42.50.01.001 — the standard version with a stainless steel bracelet and Hesalite (acrylic) crystal — to my collection.
How good is the Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch 310.30.42.50.01.001?
In this article, I will share my thoughts on the current Moonwatch and whether I am still as enthusiastic as I was two years ago during the introduction. You might want to read this article if you are looking for a side-by-side comparison between the previous Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch and the current one, but I will explain several of the differences here. I will also get into the price hikes since its introduction, which is a hot topic sometimes. I’ve also encountered a few flaws, which I will address as well.
Slightly different dials
I purchased my Speedmaster Pro 310.30.42.50.01.001 in August 2021 after briefly debating whether I’d prefer the sapphire or the Hesalite version. The sapphire model has a slightly different bracelet, with the small links surrounding the center link having a polished finish. It also features a sapphire case back and an applied Omega logo instead of a printed on one the dial. In addition, the sapphire version’s dial is a little bit darker and has clearer snailed finishing on the sub-dials. However, please note that this is not always the case! Omega had several different suppliers at some point to keep up with the demand, and you will also find dials in the sapphire version that is closer to the finishing of the Hesalite models. Perhaps needless to say, both these watches use the same 3861 movement.
Sapphire versus Hesalite — a €1,100 difference
Anyway, I went for the Hesalite version (I explained here why I did so). It’s just personal preference, and if I hadn’t owned the yellow (Moonshine) gold Speedmaster Pro with caliber 3861 and a display back, I might have gone for the sapphire version. From what I know and have heard, this is the first Moonwatch iteration of which the sapphire version sells in higher numbers than the Hesalite model. The Moonwatch with sapphire crystal, reference 310.30.42.50.01.002, costs €1,100 more than the Hesalite version, which has a retail price of €7,500.
Scuffs and marks
I try to rotate my watches, but the Speedmaster Professional 310.30.42.50.01.001 is always around. Basically, since the moment I bought it, it has not seen a safe from the inside. It was with me during my summer holidays, I’ve worn it during golf games, and it has accompanied me while traveling. It also shows, despite being careful with my stuff. The watch has indeed received some scuffs and marks. That said, it still looks pretty good, including the Hesalite crystal.
Polywatch or replace
You can be sure that an acrylic crystal will get scratched. Especially under a loupe or macro lens, you will see scratches clearly. If this bothers you, perhaps it would be wise to go for the sapphire version. If not, rest assured you can have the Hesalite crystal polished (using Polywatch) or replaced during a service.
Design aesthetics of the 105.012
The details of the Speedmaster Professional are a step forward in comparison to the previous iteration(s). These include the step dial, the shape of the chronograph seconds hand, and the Dot Over Ninety bezel. My eyes are getting a bit weaker, so the actual enjoyment of these details exists merely through a loupe or macro lens. Omega also changed the shape of the case, reverting to the case used for the fourth-generation Speedmaster Professional from the 1960s (reference 105.012). I prefer this style case and bracelet over those of the previous model, which was also partially why I couldn’t resist the urge to add this reference 310.30.42.50.01.001 to my collection.
A new Speedmaster bracelet and a clasp upgrade
Since this model’s introduction, Omega also upgraded the bracelet’s clasp with a micro-adjustment system. I don’t have it on mine, but I will order the upgrade kit at some point (reference 117Z017553). Although I never care about extendable clasps too much, I noticed that during my last summer holiday (when it was hot in France), it would have been nice to have one. Oh well. Make sure that if you buy one today, it comes with an upgraded clasp.
You can swim with it!
What Omega has fixed with the Speedmaster Professional is its water resistance. Well, it was resistant to 50 meters before and used by NASA for EVA training — which takes place in the water — but swimming with it wasn’t a risk-free experience. Especially if you didn’t check for the gaskets every year, it became hazardous to use in water.
Certified by METAS
However, as you know, the current Speedmaster Pro Moonwatch is certified by METAS. This certification is not only for its accuracy but also proves the functionality of the power reserve and that the watch is water resistant to the specified depth. Inside the METAS lab in Omega’s HQ in Biel, Switzerland, all METAS-certified Master Chronometer watches are submerged underwater. Pressure is then gradually applied to the specified water resistance. In the case of the Speedmaster, that’s up to 50 meters (167 feet). It’s still not the 100 meters that many (potential) buyers long for, but at least Omega gives a warranty that these new Speedmaster are water resistant and suitable for swimming. Still, make sure to have it checked regularly. You want to be sure that all the gaskets are in good condition.
More accuracy with caliber 3861
The Speedmaster didn’t only change aesthetically. As I already briefly touched upon, it also uses Omega’s caliber 3861. This movement is an evolution of the Lemania-based caliber 1861 that Omega used from 1996 to 2021. However, some improvements have been made. The silicon balance spring and the use of non-magnetic parts make it resistant to magnetic fields up to 15,000 gauss. It also uses Omega’s Co-Axial escapement. The movement is certified as a chronometer by COSC before it is cased and tested again by METAS, ensuring that the accuracy is guaranteed to be between +0 and +5 seconds per day on average. Omega didn’t request a chronometer certification for the previous caliber 1861 and only “advised” on its official website that it should run between -1 and +10 seconds per day on average.
Omega’s caliber 3861 was introduced in 2019 and used in that year’s Apollo 11 50th Anniversary limited editions and the 2020 Speedmaster Silver Snoopy Award. I have to say that I am not too bothered by accuracy since I rotate my watches relatively often, but I haven’t noticed any weird deviations when wearing the watch. Also, when I put the Speedmaster Pro with caliber 3861 on our timing machine, it showed numbers within the Master Chronometer specification.
Not perfectly aligned
Owning the new Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch didn’t make me stop wearing the Moonshine Gold Speedmaster Professional or the Speedmaster Calibre 321. Still, I did notice that I prefer wearing it over the previous modern iterations (my last one being the reference 3570.50 from 2013) of the standard Speedmaster. It’s just a very good watch from a design and technical standpoint. The only thing I miss from the previous generation is the logo and text printed in a pyramid shape on the dial, but everything else about the dial makes up for it.
However, I did notice that the chronograph seconds hand does not perfectly align. It’s not visible to the naked eye, and even in the photos that Morgan Saignes took in our office, it is not very convincing. It’s pointing slightly to the left of the 60-second marker but still inside the 12-hour marker. It doesn’t annoy me since it is only visible with a loupe, but I can imagine those with OCD (and better eyes than me) have an issue with it.
The price of the current Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch
Last but not least, Omega has gradually increased the price for this exact reference from €6,100 at the introduction to €7,500 today (and €8,600 for the sapphire reference 310.30.42.50.01.002). The price increases are now also becoming applicable in the USA and Canada, from what I’ve read, and are now similar to the prices in euros (including VAT).
Comparing the retail price of the current Speedmaster Professional to one of the previous iterations shows quite a difference (as Gerard did in his article here). Still, the watch has also become quite different and has seen an improvement in quality. What I like to do — except for complaining that everything has become so damn expensive these days, not only watches — is see what else you can buy for this amount in the market.
Other iconic chronographs
I remember that one of my friends was once in the market for an Omega Speedmaster Professional, and he told me that he also contemplated getting an IWC Pilot’s Chronograph not only for its looks but also for the steel IWC bracelet (at the time) that looked so good. The modern 41mm Pilot’s Chronograph version of that watch (IWC IW388113) now retails for €9,300.
Another chronograph that is considered iconic is the Breitling Navitimer. Available in many variations, the current 43mm model with B01 chronograph movement and stainless steel bracelet (reference AB0138211B1A1) retails for €9,150.
The TAG Heuer Monaco also comes to mind if you’re into iconic chronographs. The version with the crown on the left and pushers on the right, available on a leather strap, comes in at €7,900 (reference CAW211P.FC6356). It’s a bit difficult to sort out which Carrera model comes closest to the original, but the Glassbox models that debuted this year are available for under €6,500 on a leather strap.
The elephant in the room might be the steel Rolex Cosmograph Daytona, which was always more expensive than the Speedmaster Professional. Still, the Daytona needs to be mentioned regarding “iconic-ness” and storytelling. The steel Daytona ref. 126500LN retails for €15,100. But as you know, the wait for one will be long.
Some afterthoughts on the current Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch
To conclude, the Speedmaster Professional has become a more expensive watch, but it also offers better specifications than previous models and underwent a design upgrade. If you don’t care about these things, searching for a pre-owned model of one of the previous references will make sense. Compared to the competition of iconic chronographs, there’s a lot to choose from, and it also shows that the price for the Speedmaster Professional isn’t entirely out of whack. Today’s retail price wouldn’t stop me from buying one if I had not already, especially given the joy I experience from wearing this watch.