This site is aimed at people new to the world of vintage speedmasters to help you buy a watch that is honest, rewarding and good value. This page goes through some basic concepts. Skip to the assessment page here if you think you know what you are doing.
Speedmasters have a strong connection to the Space program and have a well earned reputation for ruggedness. There is much to be learned around the web on this, but outside the scope of this site.
They are not waterproof. No swimming in space.
The prices of speedmasters can range from about $1600, for a basket case, (that will probably work after a $600 service), up to over $70,000 for the rarest variant, the 2915-1. Most people end up buying a calibre 861 for $2000-3000 or an asymmetric 321 for $4000-7000.
The earlier, straight lug watches have a much wider variation in value, and it is much more important to establish originality in these references, to avoid over paying. These are rapidly becoming very hard to find anywhere, and anything less than $10,000 tends to buy you problems.
“Pre-moon” vs Moonwatch
Up to around 1970 all watches had a smooth case-back, with a light acid etched Hippocampus. Even though it was these watches, produced well before 1969 the year of the moon landing, we call all smooth backed watches “Pre-Moons”.
After the moon landing, Omega produced engraved case backs, commemorating the event. These are “Moonwatches”. The name refers to the engraving on the back, not what they did.
Some other terms bandied about:
- DO90 – dot over 90 bezel, fitted up to about 1969
- DN90 – dot next to 90 bezel, with tall Tachymetre letters.
- Dial indices – the luminous plots indicating hours on the dial.
- Franken-watch, or assembly, a watch made to imitate an original, but using parts from many different watches.
- Crown – knurled knob used to wind the movement.
- Hessalite – the propitiatory name given to the plastic crystal.
Obviously they are corporate, and a brand, but in spite of that Omega did make our watches in the first place, and even though most of the organization is now more Swatch than George Daniels, the kind and knowledgeable people in the museum itself are a pleasure to deal with. It is from the site you can order an extract of the archives to show the date your watch was made.
While I read several other fora, it has become obvious this is the most tolerant, knowledgeable collection of Omega people I have come across. Read it. Register. Contribute. Ask dumb questions (we all do), as politely as you can – be a part, not apart.
Moonwatch Only Book
When I heard that this book was coming out I rushed my site to the web before I got my copy, for fear of being accused of plagiarism. Not much chance of that as this book is quite the most well researched and informative tome on speedmasters I have read. If you want to buy any speedmaster you should buy it, and definitely if you want more than one cal 321 it will pay for itself.
Serial ranges quoted in this site are my best guesses, based on observation, and literature and other sources. The one source I have not consulted is Omega. The Moonwatch Only book quotes serial ranges and while I would bow to their superior research, it would be unfair of me to quote them throughout this site.
This site was born out of my little black book, and forced rest during a shoulder injury….
This is my own version of the MWO book!
Now onto the Assessment