Tag Archives: speedmaster

Watch Trends: Is 38mm The New 42mm, Just Asking?

There are more 38mm watches breaking cover right now than we can keep up with, so let’s have a look at some we missed over 2021. By the way is 38mm your preferred case diameter, or are still on the 2020 42mm wavelength?

Maybe both? Whatever, your preference post a comment if you like. Here are three random 38mm case watches we spotted online and you know what, they have a symmetry, a balance, that every watch fan can enjoy for years.

MAEN GREENWICH 38

The Swedish brand have a handsome 38mm watch called the Greenwich, which is let’s face it, the perfect name for a wristwatch. Or a clock.

“The Greenwich is the perfect travel watch with its GMT function and comfortable rubber Tropic strap. A custom integrated rubber strap is also available,” says Maen.

This model has superluminova and an oversized crown too, which is handy on a smaller watch.

ZENITH CHRONOMASTER 38

For us, the black/white Chronomaster 38mm is the pick of the bunch, as we find the green Poker thingie too gaudy and the blue/silver variations are kinda samey. Zenith have been mining their El Primero heritage far too long in our view, but this punchy, classic monochrome contrast dial ticks the right vintage boxes.

It just looks right, bit like the original El Primero. Not too pricey at £7100 compared to other special editions at 10K or more.

OMEGA SPEEDMASTER 38 ORBIS EDITION

This is a stand-out model in the 38mm Speedmaster range we think. The beige/brown models are kinda wishy-washy for us and the green/gold editions are a sort of 1970s throwback in the same way a green dralon settee is; fun for five minutes and then you wish you hadn’t wasted your money.

But this deep, rich blue dial watch, with its date window and 6pm looking like a card sharp shuffling the deck, and that wonderful poker style second hand – yeah, the business. It’s a mere trifle at £4,360 which is way cheaper than many other Speedmaster watches in the Omega Pantheon – can we say it’s a Pantheon? Probably.

 

 

 

Omega Speedmaster Chronoscope

The Chronoscope range is something different and that news from Omega has to be good for watch fans. There are arguably too many variations on the Seamaster/Moonwatch theme on sale as it is, so yeah, let’s have some technical tour-de-force stuff. Even if it costs seven grand or 12K for the bronzey-gold cased model.

The 9908 movement inside is beautifully finished and on view, via a see-thru caseback. 60 hours of reserve is plenty, although it’s nothing remarkable these days, you can buy a 400 quid Tissot that manages 80 hours.

But look at it, I mean, it’s quality. The thing looks like the vanes inside a Pratt & Whitney jet engine. You’re not going to be disappointed.

PLOT TWIST, IT’S A TOOL WATCH

The dial is where the action is with the Chronoscope model. Imagine you want to calculate various lap times at an air race, or some such Talented Mr Ripley soiree. You have tachymeter markings like concentric tree rings on the inside of the dial, not the outside a la Breitling Navitimer. So it’s a time X distance calculator, but there’s more.

You get a Pulsometer ring, so you can measure someone’s pulse, when the effects of the midday sun, plus 6 pack of Coors Light at the Reno Air Races kicks in. Handy.

Then, you have a track that helps you measure the sound of approaching thunderstorms. Or any loud noise really; volcanic eruption, trigger-happy Aussie quarantine cops, or a backfiring custom VW Golf GTi on a Friday night Cruise.

So instead of just counting one-elephant etc. you can calculate how many seconds, or tenths of a second, pass by between banging noises.

I’m not saying any of this stuff is useful everyday, unless you’re a storm-chaser, Council noise inspector, or other specialist trade. But it looks cool. Plus, there are white, blue and even a red/white dial option in the range to choose from.

The bronze-gold range-topper has a fab brown dial by the way. That’s got a special patina finish, with gold hands and it really has that Edwardian clock appeal about it. At over 12 grand it’s always gonna be a rarity as regards collectibility in the future too.

There’s a waiting list thing going on, availability in November.

 

Omega’s 2021 Speedmaster Moonwatch Gets Cal. 3861 Movement

Here’s the word from Omega, who have upgraded their famous Speedmaster Moonwatch with a brand new movement.

We’re only in January, yet Omega is already making one of the biggest watchmaking announcements of 2021. This year, the Speedmaster Moonwatch collection will be updated with its next generation of models. For fans everywhere, it’s a chance to see the latest edition of a much-loved timepiece – including unique touches in design and a powerful Master Chronometer certified anti-magnetic movement.

Raynald Aeschlimann, President and CEO of Omega says, “When updating a sacred timepiece like the Speedmaster Moonwatch, every detail must be true to its original spirit. This chronograph is recognised the world over, so we’ve approached its design with the most sincere respect, while taking its movement to the next level.”

For the exciting launch, the Swiss watchmaker has taken inspiration from the 4th generation Moonwatch style, commonly referenced as the ST 105.012, and worn by Apollo 11 astronauts on the moon in 1969.

These space-era tributes include the classic asymmetrical case, the step dial, the double bevel caseback, and the famous dot over 90 (DON) and a dot diagonal to 70 on the anodised aluminium bezel ring. You can choose between a solid caseback with the seahorse logo, a see-thru crystal caseback. Perhaps the most significant update comes with the arrival of the Co-Axial Master Chronometer Calibre 3861. The new movement ensures that the Moonwatch will now be unaffected by even the most extreme magnetic fields reaching 15,000 gauss. In addition, it ensures that the entire watch is certified as a Master Chronometer – the highest standard of precision, performance and magnetic-resistance in the Swiss watch industry.

Verdict: The entry level hesalite crystal model, with Seahorse caseback and a nylon strap costs £5100, which is pretty expensive we think. A sapphire crystal on both sides, plus a steel bracelet costs £6120 but it’s worth paying extra because not only is the movement beautifully detailed and worth looking at, the top spec model is far more likely to hold a bigger percentage of its RRP in the long run.

Undeniably a classic design the Moonwatch is nevertheless a watch that’s stuck in that late 60s chronograph timewarp. It’s a timepiece from the era of black & white TV. In short, you can buy a 2021 model and apart from the 42mm case size, few but very keen enthusiasts would know the difference between the current model and pre-owned 1990s model for three grand or so. Special editions like the Dark Side of The Moon, with its skeleton movement and moon-rock details had a visual punch, as did the Hodinkee special with its bold primary colours on the dial.

Maybe Omega will release some Cal 3861 editions in black/silver, or a Space X Edition featuring the amazing landing ship on the caseback? There again 2021 is the 40th anniversary of the original Space Shuttle launch, so there’s an opportunity there to produce something unique, kinda retro and a celebration of NASA engineering.

 

New Watches: Omega Snoopy/Apollo 13 Speedmaster

Here is the latest from Omega, as they release their Snoopy themed Speedmaster watch. Is it OK to say that I’m more of a Top Cat kinda guy when it comes to cartoon characters?

In 1970, OMEGA received the coveted “Silver Snoopy Award” from the astronauts at NASA, recognising the brand’s unique contributions to space exploration, as well as the Speedmaster’s vital support during the rescue of Apollo 13.

Exactly 50 years later, a special timepiece has been created in the occasion’s honour. Combining animation with watchmaking art, this incredible Snoopy tribute has taken the OMEGA Speedmaster to new realms of design. Our favourite beagle plays a prominent role within the timepiece, first appearing as an embossed silver medallion on the blue subdial at 9 o’clock. Here, he is shown wearing his famous spacesuit, in the exact style of the silver pin that NASA astronauts give to award recipients.

The dial itself is also silver and laser-engraved with Ag925. It includes two more blue subdials, as well as blue PVD angle-shaped hour markers and hands. On the caseback, the fun really begins! This time, Snoopy has gone into orbit, thanks to his animated black and white Command and Service Module (CSM) on a magical hand. When the chronograph seconds hand is in use, Snoopy takes a trip around the mysterious far side of the moon – just like the Apollo 13 crew – with the lunar surface being decorated on the sapphire crystal using a unique micro-structured metallisation.

In the distance, a vision of our home is included. This Earth disc rotates once per minute, in sync with the watch’s small seconds hand, and symbolises the precise rotation of the Earth. The iconic quote, “Eyes on the Stars”, is included within the black universe. The NAIAD LOCK keeps all caseback engravings in the correct, upright position, including the date in 1970 that OMEGA received the Silver Snoopy Award, as well as a tribute to the imperilled Apollo 13 mission that same year.

Showing OMEGA’s superb attention to detail, the watch’s blue nylon fabric strap matches the other blue elements of the watch, and even features the trajectory of the Apollo 13 mission, embossed on the lining. This strap is attached to a 42 mm case in stainless steel, which is inspired by the 4th generation Speedmaster style (the first watch worn on the moon in 1969). The tachymeter scale, with the iconic “Dot over Ninety”, is shown in white enamel on a blue ceramic [ZrO2] bezel ring.

In a superb display of watchmaking skill, the Speedmaster “Silver Snoopy Award” 50th Anniversary watch is driven by the OMEGA Co-Axial Master Chronometer Calibre 3861. This ground-breaking movement has taken the legendary Moonwatch calibre to new standards of excellence, with anti-magnetic innovation, as well as Master Chronometer certification from the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology (METAS).

The timepiece comes with OMEGA’s full 5-year warranty, and will not be a limited production. Eager fans will receive the watch in its own Apollo 13 presentation box, with a microfiber cleaning cloth, a brochure, and a magnifying glass to help you get up close to the details.

Omega Look Sharp With Their Moody Black Allinghi Speedmaster

Omega make great watches, but let’s be blunt some of the styling is looking slightly dated. The blue Seamasters, the black Moonwatch that looks identical to the original from decades ago – yes, these are design classics. But you have to move on to attract a younger watch enthusiast.

So say hello to the hacked up, skeleton crew, Allinghi Speedmaster. Beautiful movement remix on this one, with cut-out sections so you can see the gears etc from the dial side, not just the caseback. There’s a carbon fibre pattern, familiar to 90s sportbike fans and boaters alike, that’s applied using some deep tech magic. Here’s word from Omega;

Using laser ablation, the mainplate and barrel bridge have been given a honeycomb effect, similar to the interior of the ALINGHI TF35 catamaran hull. Laser ablation also decorates all other bridges with a black carbon pattern, inspired by the material used for the boat’s hull.

speedmaster allinghi skeleton watch

The Allinghi pattern on the start/stop pusher is a sharp detail as well – they have thought this one through, it really looks fresh, different – dare we say it, not an old bloke’s Omega.

Black leather strap, red stitching gives it a motorsport look, and matches the flashes of red on the dial too. It all looks the business, except…they made the case from ceramic. Yep, pottery.

Just a personal thing I guess, but I loathe ceramic watches due to their fragility. They aren’t repairable in most cases either, so the case is a write-off if it gets knocked/cracked. No polishing out some scratches five years down the line.

 

Auction News: Omega Classics Dominate Gardiner Houlgate Sale

The latest auction held by Gardiner Houlgate was definitely of interest to Omega collectors, with the majority of watches sold being from the famous Swiss brand. Omega remains a popular choice and it’s interesting to see how some models are rapidly appreciating in value, whilst more basic models like the Geneve watches from the 60s and 70s are basically treading water.

omega constellation values

Fact is, you can still pick up a nice Geneve, working order, for about £250-£300, plus buyers premium on top and those prices haven’t really changed in the last five years. A De Ville only made £160, which shows how collectors and dealers are shunning the 70s Omegas to an extent. The older Omega models with sub-second dials are also stuck in the doldrums, with the black dial models fetching a bit extra, but nothing special.

Even a price of £400 for a 1969 Constellation in working order, which looked like it had been serviced recently, is nothing to write home about, assuming you paid £200-£300 to buy it a decade ago when prices were relatively cheap. After auction costs you’re perhaps looking at a profit of £50, depending on how much the service cost of course – you might have lost £200. This all goes to show that watch collecting isn’t a guranteed investment.

omega speedmaster values

The stand out watches included a Speedmaster Ultraman which made £18,000, and another Speedmaster presented to the Shah of Iran in the early 70s, complete with moon landing paperwork, box, cert etc. Genuine piece of horological history and I bet the story of how that watch escaped the Shah’s family and found its way to an auction in the UK is a fascinating one.

An entry level Rolex Oyster, Cal 1570 with Jubilee bracelet (early 80s model?) made £2300, no box or paperwork on that one which has held the price down a bit – few dealers want to sell them on now without some extras – people expect it.

rolex batman gmt 2 values

A very handsome GMT II Batman Rolex, complete with papers and box, made dead on £9000, which is pretty close to new UK retail. Just shows how a waiting list for a current model can drive up demand for decent quality used examples, with some jewellers now asking 15K for a nice used Batman. How long will the waiting list bubble last?

Who knows? But Rolex are annoying a great many of their loyal customers with this childish game of `wait in line please, but hand over your cash now.’ It’s a bit like BMW or Audi dealerships – you get to a point where people feel like cash machines for the dealerships’ ever expanding empires and that’s when you lose some of them.