Is it the steel bezel, or is it the Broad Arrow handset? It’s both, actually, and then some. It’s a combination of factors that include the aforementioned bezel and hands plus a very dark gray dial, applied logo, and Hesalite crystal. This Speedy Tuesday, I will tell you why I bought a neo-vintage Omega Speedmaster Replica 3594.50 instead of the current Speedmaster Moonwatch Master Chronometer.

When the latest evolution model of the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch debuted, I felt very certain that I was going to buy one. But that initial feeling never materialized. It’s not that I don’t like the current Speedy — absolutely not. The most basic version with the Hesalite crystal and without the applied logo on the dial is a fantastic watch. The build quality is fabulous, the new Omega caliber 3861 is METAS magnificent, the new bracelet is impressive in every way, and the slightly changed/improved looks are familiar, exciting, and sophisticated. But all this appreciation is very rational. To “click” with a watch, I need to feel something. So although the latest Speedy is superior in terms of specs, it never made its way to my heart. It took a Replica to do so.

Speedy Tuesday

Why I bought my Omega Speedmaster Replica 3594.50

My first encounter with the Speedmaster Replica happened a while back when RJ brought the watch he received as a Father’s Day gift to the office. He wore it on a light blue Marine Nationale strap, and it looked killer. The dark gray dial and the fresh light blue oozed coolness. I tried it on quickly, and then RJ took it back. A while later, he wore the watch to Fratello HQ again, and I managed to take it off his wrist and keep it on mine for a week. That week proved crucial. It proved to me that the Replica is “my” Speedy. Then what?


Watch serendipity

I searched online for a good Speedmaster Replica — not easy to do in a world where “replica” means “fake” — but never found the right one at the right price. It took a fortunate stroke of serendipity. A watch collector who will remain anonymous decided to sell a number of his Speedmasters. RJ told me that one of the watches he was going to sell was the Speedmaster Replica 3594.50. But then he changed his mind. He wasn’t going to sell it, it seemed. I will not disclose precisely how everything turned out the way it did, but after RJ contacted the collector, he once again changed his mind and was willing to sell me the watch after all. I can tell you this, though: no collector was hurt in the buying process.

Speedy Tuesday Replica

A no-hype Speedmaster Replica

The combination of Broad Arrow hands, steel bezel, deep gray dial, applied logo, Hesalite crystal, and 42mm asymmetric case is a winning one. On the other hand, the combination of a black dial, white pencil hands, and a black bezel just doesn’t work for me. I admire the Moonwatch, but I don’t adore it when I wear it. I do, however, feel nothing but adoration for the Speedmaster Replica, a watch that was later re-named Relaunch for obvious reasons. And apart from the watch’s tangible qualities, I also like the story behind it. It’s a tribute to the original CK2915 from 1957, but it’s not a Replica, despite having been given that name. For instance, the asymmetric case is quite a bit bigger than the original 38.6mm case without crown guards. By the way, if you want to know all the ins and outs, check out RJ’s in-depth article on the Replica.

Since the Speedmaster Replica debuted in 1997/1998 and was in production until 2003, the retro hype had not yet started. That means that beige Super-LumiNova is nowhere to be seen. There’s also no tritium since Omega stopped using that radioactive material in 1997. Is that a shame? Well, no. This is a neo-vintage watch, not a vintage watch. The crisp and clear Super-LumiNova on the hands and indexes give the watch a fresh and timeless look. Mine is from 2001, was hardly worn, and looks like it’s in NOS condition. This is one timeless watch. The fact that it is no longer in production is also attractive. It’s a bit like digging up a treasure. And in this case, since it’s a neo-vintage watch, the treasure is still in very good condition. Another bonus is the build quality. It’s way better than “real” vintage and very much on par with modern-day build quality.


Speedy strap monster

One thing doesn’t work for me regarding the Replica — a bracelet. The steel bezel combined with a bracelet gives the watch a cold feel and not enough contrast. The steel bezel and the polished, reflective Broad Arrow handset lend themselves perfectly to a wide range of straps, though. I tried the watch on a gray suede strap from the Fratello Shop, and that worked wonderfully. I also had it on a pre-aged dark brown strap to accentuate the tool-watch qualities of the Speedy. Currently, I’m wearing it on a grained calfskin leather Joseph Bonnie Star 69 strap in the color Vintage Gold. The Safari Grey option would work quite well too.

Speedy Tuesday

Military green is also a color that matches the vibe of this Speedy. Why? I think the secret is the watch’s very dark gray dial. That gray shade is less harsh than plain black and also creates subtle contrasts with all kinds of straps. I foresee a lot of happy strap changes for a very long time to come.

Speedy Tuesday

To METAS or not to METAS — that’s not the question in my case

Kudos to Omega for creating a collection of Master Chronometers, but my Speedmaster Replica 3594.50 not being a METAS-certified chronometer was never a concern. Yes, the trusty hand-wound caliber 1861 inside the Replica — I don’t think I will ever call it the Relaunch — is no match for the ultra-precise caliber 3861. Omega’s specs for the 1861 is an average daily rate between -1 and +11 seconds per day with the chronograph switched off. In a world where time is everywhere and satellite-powered, I can very easily live with those numbers. Speaking of numbers, the movement has been in production for about 26 years. If you make something for such a long period, you will make it flawlessly for many, many years. Since my watch is from 2001, the 3Hz movement with 18 jewels is indeed trusty.


Personal connection

The fact that the caliber 1861 is a hand-wound movement also means that you interact with the watch a lot. Furthermore, the absence of a date function makes it a wind-and-go affair. And the everyday winding process also causes you faithfully interact and bond with the watch. Because of that, I think — no, I know — I prefer hand-wound watches over their automatic counterparts.

Since I started winding my Speedy Replica, I started liking it more and more. This liking is on the verge of love, but before that happens, a little more time should pass. Still, this dark gray-dialed, neo-vintage Speedy and its steel bezel, sharp Broad Arrow hands, and Hesalite crystal with its slightly magnifying effect have stolen my heart. Love is definitely in the air.