The famous Speedmaster is one of those very rare watches which can truly be considered an icon and which has legitimately reached such status without it being an auto-proclamation by the brand’s own marketing department. This particular status is directly linked to the incredible destiny of the model. Produced for the first time in 1957, its initial calling was the world of car racing, as the name suggests. But everything would suddenly change in 1965. After going through a series of extremely demanding tests, the Speedmaster was chosen by the NASA amongst a panel of competing watches to accompany the American astronauts on the Gemini and Apollo missions. The rest of the story is well known: in July 1969, the Speedmaster became the first watch ever to be worn on the moon, hence becoming a direct witness of one of humanity’s most meaningful steps. The “Moonwatch” nickname was fully deserved.
After nearly sixty years of good and faithful service, the Speedmaster is definitely the corner stone of the Omega catalogue, available in a large choice of sizes, styles and movement types. Difficult not to find a Speedmaster to your liking! However, during the 2016 edition of the Baselworld watch fair, Omega managed yet again to surprise us by presenting a Speedmaster Moonphase Co-Axial Master Chronometer. An important and symbolic development for the brand if seen from the perspective of its qualitative strategy.
The Speedmaster Moonphase Co-Axial Master Chronometer could at first appear as a rather imposing timepiece considering the proportions of its stainless steel case: 44.25mm diameter and 16,85mm thickness. Nonetheless, one has to admit that such a size transmits a lot of character. With its short and curved lugs, it suits perfectly any type of wrist, be it strong or not. The dominating blue colour does also contribute to slightly reduce the perceived size of the watch. An aesthetic choice perfectly in line with the latest trend in watchmaking: “blue is the new black”. Us girls, we just love it!
The beautiful sun brushed dial offers the perfect setting to fully valorise the very precise moon phase indication, an obvious nod to the history of the Speedmaster. The moon itself is a stunningly precise reproduction…and is even marked with Buzz Aldrin’s footprint. Look closely in the area of the Sea of Tranquillity and try to find it!
The new Omega movement 9904 offers an original display of the watch’s complications on two sub-dials. On the right hand side, the chronograph hours and minutes can be read on the same sub-dial; a highly practical feature in my opinion. On the left hand side, the date indication shares its space with a small seconds hand. As a result, the face of the watch is beautifully balanced and highly pleasant to observe. The ceramic bezel harmoniously echoes the dial’s blue colour whilst also displaying a tachymeter scale in Liquidmetal® (yet another Speedmaster first).
Omega’s 9904 co-axial automatic movement can be observed through a sapphire case-back. Its architecture is modern and exhibits very fine finishings. In particular, I really enjoy the rotor’s decoration that can be seen as an animated prolongation of the movement’s main bridges. With a power reserve of 60 hours, you could easily store the watch away for the weekend and put it back on the Monday morning still perfectly running. But its versatility and elegant sporty looks can be seen as important incentives to just keep it stuck on your wrist at all times. Actually, the watch was imagined and developed with such an objective in mind and the Master Chronometer certification is a reminder of Omega’s permanent qualitative stance. It not only respects all the demanding COSC criteria (Contrôle Officiel des Chronomètres Suisses), it is also designed to resist to magnetic fields of up to 15.000 gauss. Furthermore, it is water resistant up to 100 meters.
Even if slightly imposing, its beautiful dial and dazzling representation of the moon confer it an undeniable touch of refinement. The dominating blue colour is highly elegant and its excellent perceived value contributes to make it even more attractive. The fact that it houses an automatic movement makes it all the more convenient and easier to wear if compared with the manual winding version of the Moonwatch. All in all, a surprising cocktail of strength and charm…The Speedmaster Moonphase Co-Axial Master Chronometer is a real Boyfriend watch. Just as we like them!