Sunday, September 3, 2017
The most underrated luxury watch. The Omega Speedmaster.
When looking for a watch, I always look at their value, design, history, movement, & brand pedigree (in that particular order). One watch that I can say without a doubt is the most important watch in humankind would be the Omega Speedmaster, chosen by NASA to go on the moon. Worn by Buzz Aldrin when he walked on the moon. Utilized by Jack Swigert to time the 14 seconds boost during the Apollo 13 mission for re-entry into the earth's atmosphere. This is the most historically valuable watch.
This watch has history, and it has heaps of it. It is kind of a romantic story when you tell people about this watch. There's countless of stories to tell, from NASA's strict process to choose the watch till the impact it had on Apollo 13. Now tell me about the Daytona or the Zenith. The Daytona is a magnificent beast but it doesn't have a story that is half as interesting as the Speedmaster. The Zenith El-Primero, although technologically interesting and very important is also not as interesting as when you tell people about the moonwatch. Granted, there are the Monaco, the Submariner and also the Datejust, but seriously, how can it compare to the history of the Speedmaster.
The design of the Speedmaster has not changed much since 1957. It has been relatively similar except minor changes in size and crown guards as well as hands. The movement was upgraded once but the rest remain relatively the same. The color scheme, the dial symmetry and the functions all remain similar for 60 years. The movement which has been tried and tested especially the caliber 861/1861 is a modified or simplified version of the original cal 321. Although a lot of people prefer the beauty and complexity of the original caliber 321, you cannot deny that the new caliber 861/1861 is a much more robust and less complex caliber. Nothing else is compromised.
Omega as a brand is very well recognized. It is a very historically significant brand. Their trilogy, the Speedmaster, Seamaster and Railmaster was created as a very particular set of tools for very particular set of uses. Admittedly, it was by coincidence that the Speedmaster became the watch on the moon, but that doesn't mean the remaining Seamaster and Railmaster are the lesser watches. Their brand is very precise and well thought out. The evolution of the Constellation, Seamaster, Railmaster (back again) and even their DeVille lines are in sync with their design language. The Speedmaster is the only watch that remains largely unchanged since it was chosen as the watch to go into space. Kudos to that, I'll explain why that's important below.
You see, after 1965 with the straight hands, asymmetrical lugs and professional marking, most of it has remain unchanged. Why is that important?
Because the value of the Speedmaster due to this has become one of the most affordable luxury watch in the market. Omega could make incremental changes similar with the Rolex line and add in a ceramic bezel, have red markings, change it to a different handset or other minor cosmetic changes and increase it's price but Omega didn't. Instead, it left the changes for Special Editions. There's plenty of Special Editions in the market for the Omega Speedmaster and I'd be a fool to not say that it's kind of a norm by now. Once or twice every year is a very normal Special Edition occurrence for the Omega Speedmaster. Imagine if once every 5-10 years Omega decided to discontinue their previous edition and make minor incremental changes to their Speedmaster, that would undoubtedly increase the Speedmaster's collectability and value by spades. Just look at their CK2915/2998 or Caliber 321 versions. Their prices right now are astronomical. The reason the Omega Speedmaster remains the most important and affordable luxury watch in the market is because you can still buy the same watch they had in 1970s today. Except for the loss of tritium lume, everything else remains the same.
This is why in my opinion, the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch is the most romantic luxury watch that should be in every collector's box.
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