Before we begin this Omega Speedmaster Professional review, I have a confession to make: I am not the biggest fan of Omega. Well, to be accurate, I’m rather indifferent to the popular luxury watch brand.
I quite like the Omega Aqua Terra but it’s not exactly what I would consider a must-have.
However, I’d be foolish to say that Omega doesn’t have absolute masterpieces. For today, we’re going to take an in-depth look at one of the most iconic and historic watches from Omega, the Omega Speedmaster Professional Chronograph. It’s fair to say that it’s one of the most famous Chronographs of all time.
For this Omega Speedmaster Professional review, we find out if this watch is actually a practical chronograph or it’s just simply just a timepiece with lots of history.
Omega Speedmaster Professional Review: At a Glance
Buzz Aldrin wore the Omega Speedmaster when he first stepped out of the lunar module and onto the moon. In 1965, the watch was certified by NASA. This makes the Omega Speedmaster the only watch certified for manned space missions.
Before we get into the good stuff of this Omega Speedmaster Professional review, we first take a look at its key specs and features:
|Omega Speedmaster Professional Chronograph 42MM|
|Caliber: Omega 1861|
|5 bar (50 metres / 167 feet)|
Special box & accessories
Omega Speedmaster Professional Review
The Omega Speedmaster Professional Chronograph is now actually referred to as the “Moonwatch.” At this point, you probably know why this is the case. The package comes in a special Moonwatch presentation box which contains the watch along with other accessories and goodies.
If you have been following my watch reviews, you’ll know that I am a big fan of black dials. That in itself has made a positive impression on me. The design of the face is so well thought-out and classic. While examining the Speedmaster, another cool detail that stood out to me were the lugs. They seem to have different polishes from matter to mirror finish. If you hold them out, they look like they play with light rather well. Neat!
After checking out the lugs, I moved on to the Hesalite crystal. The crystal that rises proudly to protect the case provides excellent legibility. The center of the crystal looks slightly curved and provides an interesting reflection when viewing from the side. I found that in some cases, the crystal reflects too much light. Overall, the visibility provided by the crystal is excellent and I will be talking about it more in the following section.
Design and Looks
Since I figured that we common folks won’t be going to space anytime soon, the main reason one would buy the Speedmaster Moonwatch is for daily wear. With that said, many of us want an everyday-use watch that looks great.
In that regard, the Omega Speedmaster Professional Chronograph doesn’t disappoint. Regardless of your outfit, the Speedmaster will look good on you. To add to its versatility, the Speedmaster can be dressed up or down by simply switching the straps.
This is about as classic as you can get when it comes to Chronograph designs. Any watch enthusiast who’s worth their salt will have a lot to appreciate with the design. For instance, I implore you to appreciate the design and proportions that are used throughout the dial. There’s the tri-compax formation of the subdials which is expertly offset by the Omega logo. Stare at the logo long enough and it will start morphing into the fourth subdial.
The logo even demonstrates incredible harmony as each word differs in size and style, forming a pyramid. Even with the logo and subdials, at no point did the hands obscure the subdials. Although the Chronograph looks busy at first glance, legibility is top-notch.
As mentioned, the Speedmaster utilizes Hesalite crystal which seems like a bizarre decision by Omega, considering that most luxury watches use scratch-proof synthetic sapphire. In this case, the use of Hesalite seems justified since it looks better than sapphire. Plus, Hesalite is a breeze to polish in case the scratches start to bother you.
The Omega Speedmaster Professional Chronograph is a masterclass in design.
The Speedmaster features the 1861 caliber chronograph movement. At this price point, the mechanical caliber 1861 provides a good value for the money. In case you don’t know, the 1861 caliber is a manual-winding movement which makes it a lot more interesting than your usual self-winding movement.
The 1861 movement that’s used in the modern Speedmaster is rhodium-plated and also contains a plastic piece that you won’t find in the caliber 1863 – the luxury version of the 1861 movement.
While it may seem like busywork for some people, manually winding the movement has become a part of my morning ritual. In fact, the constant need to manually wind the watch adds more personality to it. It’s like you get to be a part of the watch and the watch becomes you. Plus, it only takes 10-20 turns to get it going which turned into a favorite routine of mine.
In the spirit of keeping things simple, the Speedmaster doesn’t offer the usual features like a day/moon phase, GMT hands or even a date window. Although this may seem like a negative, the lack of standard timekeeping features says more about the watch’s simple design and robustness.
The watch does come with a Tachymeter which allows you to calculate how fast you are going. It’s a nice feature to have which gives the watch more utility.
The 1861 movement has changed very little over time which is good since if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Comfort and Fit
At 42mm, I was concerned that the Speedmaster might be too big on my wrist. However, that was not the case when I tried it on. The watch demonstrates great wrist presence without being comically too big. The slim bezel gives the impression that the face is much larger than it is.
The back part of the case is surprisingly comfortable which is not my usual experience with most steel watches. The lugs are slightly curved downwards which helps in securing the watch in place.
The Speedmaster’s steel bracelet is certainly one of the best ones that Omega has put out. It offers plenty of customization options to ensure that you get the right fit. The bracelet links are secured with a pin system that’s a cinch to size. This is my first experience with the Speedmaster bracelet and I have to say that I’m a fan. The package also includes an OEM NATO strap which is easily the best NATO I’ve ever worn.
The fact that you can easily swap the bracelet/strap adds a great deal of versatility to the Speedmaster. For instance, I can use the steel bracelet for a dressier vibe while I can put on the NATO strap when doing outdoor activities.
When wearing the bracelet, the watch feels very even in terms of balance. However, with the NATO strap, you can definitely feel the weight of the watch head but it’s nothing very distracting. Overall, the Speedmaster offers a good balance of comfort, weight, and wrist presence.
The decision by Omega to use Hesalite crystal to protect the watch is a potential drawback for some people.
Unlike sapphire crystal, Hesalite is not as scratch-resistant. However, Hesalite happens to be the more durable crystal when compared to sapphire. Historically, Hesalite was used by Omega because it doesn’t break easily which is safer when you’re in space.
The Speedmaster also has a water resistance of 5 bar (50 metres / 167 feet) which is definitely lacking. If you’re a diver or swimmer and you like wearing your watch in the water, the Speedmaster is an easy pass for you. On the other hand, the 50-meter water-resistance should be able to handle a bit of moisture, rain or even the occasional shower.
The fact that you can easily swap to a different bracelet or strap adds another layer of durability and longevity to the watch.
When you are buying the Speedmaster Professional, you are also buying into its heritage. This watch is an iconic watch that oozes with classic style. However, the watch doesn’t use an in-house movement, unlike your favorite Rolex. Despite that, the 1861 is a movement that’s filled with stories to tell.
Plus, it doesn’t hurt that it keeps time well.
For the amount of watch and history that you’ll get, the price is more than justified. This is the kind of watch that you can wear every day, and probably the rest of your life. Its versatility pretty much gives you the permission to make the Speedmaster the last watch you’ll ever own.
Seriously, it even gives some of my luxury watches a run for their money, for a fraction of the price.
Should You Buy the Omega Speedmaster Professional Chronograph?
The Omega Speedmaster Pro offers plenty in terms of fun factor. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and the space history behind it is just delightful. It features a timeless design that will never ever be out of place. The versatile nature of the watch gives you a lot of wiggle room as to when and where you can wear it. In fact, I’m looking to invest in more Speedster straps to take advantage of its versatility.
It’s more than just a watch with a history. The Speedster might have just turned me into an Omega fan.
Hopefully, this Omega Speedster Professional review has helped you decide if this timepiece is right for you.