Back in December 2016, RJ showed me a prototype of the Omega Speedmaster “Speedy Tuesday” Limited Edition. I congratulated him on a fantastic achievement and watch and then forgot to do one important thing — immediately start composing a financial plan so I could buy once it went live online. That proved catastrophic. The absence of a plan made me hesitate when the watch launched at noon on January 9th, 2017. And because my doubt lasted longer than the four hours it took to sell the 2,012 pieces, I missed out. When you snooze, you lose, I know. When I occasionally see the “Speedy Tuesday” LE here at Fratello HQ, I can still feel the regret that I didn’t act more cleverly and decisively. One way to end my lament is to go on a Rolex-supported expedition with Steve Boyes, traversing thousands of kilometers of uncharted African rivers.

There are two things I can’t get over. The first is what I mentioned in the intro. I should have had the presence of mind to just hit the “add to basket” button as soon as the Omega Speedmaster “Speedy Tuesday” Limited Edition 311. became available online. Even with the absence of a solidly constructed financial plan, I should have just clicked and figured it out later. From a financial standpoint, it would have been a great investment, and from an aesthetic standpoint, it wouldn’t have been bad either. And that’s a euphemism because the “Speedy Tuesday” LE is, in my humble opinion, one of the best Speedmasters ever made. I even think that the folks at Omega felt a bit of regret when RJ presented them with his vision of the watch that celebrated the fifth anniversary of #SpeedyTuesday.

Omega Speedmaster "Speedy Tuesday" Limited Edition

Regrets regarding the Omega Speedmaster “Speedy Tuesday” Limited Edition

The ingredients for the Omega Speedmaster “Speedy Tuesday” Limited Edition were found in the brand’s heritage and RJ’s brain. The watch was inspired by the design of the Speedmaster Alaska Project III, which was made for NASA and the Space Shuttle project in 1978. That watch has clearer sub-dials than previous Speedmaster chronographs — at the request of chosen NASA engineer James H. Ragan — and a brushed case that reflected less light. It was the late Dutch astronaut Wubbo Ockels’s Speedmaster Project Alaska III, which RJ bought from the Ockels’ son, that became the tangible starting point of the first Speedy Tuesday LE. RJ suggested a matte-finished case and large, radial numerals on the silver (not black as in the Alaska Project III) sub-dials filled with luminous material. And that’s what the good people at Omega produced, but perhaps with a bit of regret for not having thought of it themselves.

Omega Speedmaster "Speedy Tuesday" Limited Edition

It’s the mix of a brushed case, radial sub-dials, and the luminous material in the center of them that make for one brilliant watch. The Speedmaster 3594.50 Replica is my favorite Speedy, but maybe that’s also out of self-preservation. The Broad Arrow Replica can still be had for a reasonable amount of money. The first “Speedy Tuesday,” on the other hand, cannot — just have a look here. A most regrettable affair. In one of the pictures that Nacho took of me wearing the watch while reading about it in the Moonwatch Only book, you can clearly see what regret looks like. My facial expression leaves nothing to the imagination.

Omega Speedmaster "Speedy Tuesday" Limited Edition

Passion makes perfect

The makeover of the 1978 Speedmaster Alaska Project III makes one thing perfectly clear: passion makes perfect. I mentioned the different details on this “reverse panda” Speedmaster, but RJ’s passion also shines through in some less visible elements. The use of a domed Hesalite crystal, for instance, is a sign of historical awareness and involvement. Unconditional love and heaps of accumulated knowledge make the “Speedy Tuesday” Limited Edition one of the best Speedmasters ever. The element of fandom is the missing part and the explanation for why Omega didn’t come up with a watch like the first “Speedy Tuesday” Speedmaster.

The thought and passion behind its creation materialized in a stunning watch that I, unfortunately and most probably, will never own. The Speedmaster “Speedy Tuesday” has taught me one valuable life lesson, though. And that is that watch regret doesn’t just fade away, it lingers on.

Steve Boyes is leading the Great Spine of Africa project — Image ©National Geographic Jen Guyton

Rolex Perpetual Planet Initiative partner Steve Boyes explores uncharted rivers in Africa

One way of getting rid of regret and clearing the mind of watch worries would be going on a long and hard expedition. I’m not talking about Watches and Wonders 2023 at the end of the month in Geneva. No, I’m referring to something way more adventurous. Unfortunately, I don’t have time for that — I’m not sharing my plethora of lame excuses for not living the life of an explorer. Instead, I look at the stunning pictures of the successful first Great Spine of Africa expedition. The pictures show the expedition, led by Rolex Perpetual Planet Initiative partner explorer Steve Boyes, that set out to document and protect the uncharted river that feeds the Zambezi.

Aerial view of the Sun setting over the thin and winding upper reaches of Lungwevungu River, Angola — Image ©National Geographic Jen Guyton

Through its Perpetual Planet Initiative, Rolex supports Steve Boyes’s Great Spine of Africa series of expeditions. Over several years, Boyes — a South African conservationist, National Geographic Fellow, TED Senior Fellow, and Explorer II 226570 wearer — and his team plan to travel more than 40,000 kilometers, equivalent to a journey around the planet. They have already and will continue to traverse thousands of kilometers of rivers that were never scientifically documented. And what they discover will provide crucial information to protect the people and wildlife dependent on Africa’s great rivers. This is great work that also produces great stories and pictures for desk adventurers like me.

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