First of all, let’s have the short answer to the important question regarding this new fake Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional: what has changed? Basically, everything. We were, of course, expecting a mechanical update, with Swiss made fake Omega replacing the venerable Calibre 1861 by the far more modern Calibre 3861. However, instead of changing just that and a couple of other minor things, the brand decided that most parts of the watch – and that includes the case, the bezel, the pushers, the crown, the dial, the hands, the caseback, the bracelet and the clasp – needed to be updated too. Are we talking about major changes? Certainly not, as Omega has worked on details only, and the new Speedmaster still looks like a Speedmaster – thankfully. See below, the pre-2021 ref. 3750.50 on the left, and the new Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional Master Chronometer on the right:
So, what Omega has done with the new 2021 Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional? Still a short answer, the brand has given its best-seller model a slight vintage touch, to make it look closer to the earliest “Professional” model, the reference ST 105.012. But to understand that, we need to go deep into the details, so fasten your seatbelts; here is the new Speedy in all its glory.
CASE, PROPORTIONS, DIMENSIONS
Let’s first start with the case. To begin with, the shape is, as you would expect, respectful of the signature design introduced by the ST 105.012, the so-called Professional case with its asymmetrical design, short twisted lugs, protective shoulders for the crown and pushers and mix of brushed surfaces – angled inside the lugs, horizontal on the casebands – and polished accents – the bevel running from a lug to another. Nothing new in that, admittedly.
In terms of proportions, the diameter of the watch is still at 42mm – identical to all models since 1964 – however, and despite the new movement that we could have expected to be thicker, the Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional Master Chronometer appears to be thinner than the past ref. 3750.50… and by quite a margin. And this is true for both the Hesalite model, which now 13.6mm vs. 14.3mm in the past, and the “sapphire sandwich” version that is even thinner, being 13.2mm now versus 13.7mm in the past. This 0.5mm to 0.7mm less in height and can’t be considered a detail. This changes quite significantly the perception of the watch on the wrist.
Are there new features to be noticed? Well, it seems that the case has been slightly “reshaped” and is the same that what’s used in the Silver Snoopy Award 50th anniversary. The main difference is a slightly thinner polished bevel with the brushed band being larger than before (on the pushers’ side) and lug tips than appears a bit more angled. Also, the pushers (a bit shorter) and crown are different on this model than they used to be in the past. The latter is wider, which should help to wind the watch. We’re still talking minimal updates, though.
Other than that, we find an impeccable execution, with clearly defined surfaces and the usual feeling of solidity. A closer inspection could even reveal an overall finishing that is even cleaner than in the past, by a small but pleasant margin. The water-resistance is still rated at 50 meters and the crown doesn’t screw down.
One of the major updates on this new Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional Master Chronometer is the bezel. First of all, while we could have expected the insert to be made of black polished ceramic with white enamel scale, Omega retains the classic black anodized aluminium insert. A good point in my opinion, as ceramic (even if virtually scratch-proof) often appears too glossy for such an instrument-like watch. Aluminium is not only great looking, but it is also respectful of the original Professional watch.
If the material doesn’t evolve, the style of the bezel’s insert itself does change, to come back to the original layout found in the 1960s. It means two things, a “dot over 90” (a.k.a DON) and a “dot diagonal to 70”. For those who aren’t familiar with such details, this refers to pre-1970 models. There have also been “dot close to 70” and “dot beneath 70” versions after that, which were combined with “dot next to 90” (as we’ve seen in the introduction). All of that has been made to bring back the flair of the vintage ST 105.012 model. Small details (insignificant for some maybe) that seasoned collectors will appreciate. One thing to be noted, the font of the tachymeter scale appears a bit crispier, sharper and thinner than in the previous reference 3750.50. Yet, it retains the accent over “tachymètre” (written in French) and the base-500 calculation.
STILL THE SAPPHIRE OR HESALITE OPTIONS
While for the moment we’ve been talking about the Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional Master Chronometer, there are actually two models to choose from. For years, Omega has offered two variants of the Moonwatch Professional in its catalogue. One equipped with period-correct synthetic Hesalite crystal and solid steel caseback. The other one with a so-called “sapphire sandwich” construction, meaning that both front and caseback were protected by a sapphire crystal. This also implied that the latter was equipped with the calibre 1863, a better-finished version of the calibre 1861 that was found inside the Hesalite model. Other than that, both watches were fully identical.
For the new generation Speedmaster Professional, Omega still offer the choice between Hesalite and sapphire sandwich models. However, there are more differences between these two models than in the past. For instance, the Hesalite version has a fully brushed bracelet and a printed Ω logo on its dial, in addition to have a solid steel caseback. The sapphire model, on the other hand, has a brushed bracelet with polished inter-links and an applied, diamond-polished Ω logo on its dial. Of course, the caseback is sapphire too, so you’ll have a view on the new co-axial movement.
One differentiation that isn’t true anymore is about movement decoration. While the Hesalite model used to be less “finished”, both versions of the Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional now have the same movement, the Calibre 3861, which is finished with Geneva stripes and bevelled edges in both cases.
Which one to choose…? I’d say that in the past the Hesalite model was a bit more attractive. But with the addition of an applied logo and knowing the actual beauty of the Calibre 3861, the sapphire sandwich model has grown on me. Now, the decision will mostly have to do with historical accuracy. I’d say that for a first Speedmaster, the Hesalite remains a serious option but the sapphire wins when it comes to daily practicality – specifically since this new model is noticeably thinner with sapphire now. The EUR 800 difference between the two versions is also to be considered.
As said, almost everything has been updated in this new Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional and that also includes the caseback. Usually with a single step, the new generation Speedmaster once again looks at the past and brings a double-step caseback that is in line with the 105.012. This is true for both the solid steel one found on the Hesalite model or the back of the sapphire version.
Looking at the back of the watch, you’ll notice multiple tweaks. The under-lug surfaces are now brushed instead of polished, the globe logo sits under the 2 o’clock lug (previously on the side of the caseback) and a stainless steel mention is visible under the 4 o’clock lug. More importantly, the engravings have changed.
The solid back of the Hesalite model retains the central embossed seahorse logo and the classic “THE FIRST WATCH WORN ON THE MOON” mention. However, the rest now reads “FLIGHT-QUALIFIED BY NASA IN 1965 FOR ALL MANNED SPACE MISSIONS” and that is new. Also, the second step of the caseback is engraved with “Co-Axial Master Chronometer” and “Professional Moonwatch”.
For the sapphire sandwich version, the mention “THE FIRST WATCH WORN ON THE MOON” is retained but not the flight qualified mention… Details for sure, but I liked this mention.
BACK TO THE STEP DIAL
One of the key features of early Speedmaster watches – from 1960 to 1974 – was the presence of a “step dial”, with the peripheral chapter ring being slightly recessed. As of 1974 and until 2020, all the dials of the Speedmaster Professional watches were so-called “flat dial” where the chapter ring was angled and not embossed with a step. Again, with the idea to bring some of the ST105.012 style, the dial of the new Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional Master Chronometer goes back to a step profile – quite an evolution after 46 years of flat dials.
Let’s start with what remains unchanged. First of all, the dial is still embossed brass and still has its matte black, slightly grained texture that provides great contrast. The sub-counters are still recessed and the central part still has a fine concentric pattern. The display remains the same, with a tri-counter layout – small seconds at 9 o’clock, 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock and 12-hour counter at 6 o’clock. Finally, the tracks of the sub-counters are identical.
The evolutions are rather important, though. In addition to the step profile, the tracks and markers have been redesigned. For instance, the chronograph track at the periphery now has 3 divisions per second, which is relevant considering the 3Hz frequency of the movement. The indexes are “walking over” the step of the dial and extend towards the raised section of the dial. However, one important difference with the 105.012 is that these hour markers are so-called “short” and don’t extend into the minuterie. – this vintage reference had “long” markers.
Also, the inscriptions and logos at 12 o’clock have been redesigned. As you can see, we still have a wide Ω logo (whether it is printed or applied) and an OMEGA with narrow E, as well as a Speedmaster mention with short and wide S, the whole block of text has been re-proportioned and move up a bit, with a larger Speedmaster mention, which now has the same width as the also redesigned Professional mention – the latter has a slightly more modern, thinner and shorter font.
As for the hands, the Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional Master Chronometer shows minor evolutions. In fact, this mostly has to do with a new central seconds hand, which once again echoes the style of the vintage ST 105.012 model. It now has a slightly larger diamond luminous tip that is positioned closer to the periphery of the dial. Also, Omega moved back to a teardrop counterweight with a thinner hand.
No evolution are to be noted on the main hour and minute hands, which are still using the classic Professional style with granular white paint. Same goes for the small hands of the sub-counters. Finally, the dial features a fair amount of Super-LumiNova, which in reality appears lighter than what we’ve seen in the official images. In fact, it is very close to the previous reference 3750.50.
NEW BRACELET AND CLASP
In addition to a fully redesigned dial, the new Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional also comes with a deeply re-shaped bracelet and clasp. As we’ve seen, the older reference has a 20mm/18mm bracelet while the new one now has a far more tapered profile, being 15mm only at the clasp. Once again, this will enhance comfort and add to the vintage style of the watch.
The links have been fully redesigned with a 5-link profile, a narrower centre link, and links that are simply shorter than before – there are more links than before on the entire length of the bracelet. The links also have now an ovoid side profile and the bracelet appears to be more flexible, thinner and lighter than before. In short, this new bracelet is a great improvement over the slightly outdated one found in the 3750.50.
But that’s not all… As we said, the watch is thinner. So is the bracelet. The best news is yet to come. Until now, the end-link had a long central part that protruded from the case and that only meant that the lug-to-lug dimension was increased. Now, not only the end-link is slightly shorter than the lugs themselves but the mid-section is even more recessed, meaning that the articulation of the bracelet has been moved far back into the case and that can only increase the comfort of the watch for smaller wrists.
Finally, the bulky folding clasp of the 3750.50 is also gone. The new Moonwatch benefits from a smaller, shorter, thinner clasp with a banded finish, a brushed surface on top, a polished old-school Omega logo and a two-position micro-adjustment – Omega could have done a slightly better job here, however. It is still secured by two lateral pushers. The length of the bracelet can be adjusted thanks to screws.
As said earlier, two versions of this bracelet are available. One is reserved for the Hesalite model, with a full brushed finish. The sapphire model has polished inter-links.
THE MAIN UPDATE: THE CALIBRE 3861
Of course, let’s move on to the real deal with this new Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional, the fact that it is now a Co-Axial Master Chronometer and is fitted with the new Calibre 3861. After over 50 years of production, it was time for Omega to update its venerable 1861 and, in order to be consistent with the rest of the collection, to have it certified by the demanding Master Chronometer standards.
Launched in the gold Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary and a couple of months later in the Steel Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary, this new calibre, dubbed 3861, includes all the modern technologies that the brand developed over the past 10 years. It has also been used in the recent Snoopy watch. However, it also remains visually close to the old movement, it is still hand-wound, it still has its cam mechanism to actuate the chronograph and the clutch is still horizontal. In short, it retains the best of the old engine and incorporates the best of Omega’s watchmaking expertise.
First of all, a sign of its evolution, the calibre 3861 counts 26 jewels, versus only 18 in the calibre 1861. The Swiss lever escapement has been replaced by a co-axial escapement and the hairspring is now made from silicon, hence the impressive magnetic resistance of the movement – the usual 15,000-gauss resistance required by METAS. The regulating organ still beats at 3Hz (or 21,600 vibrations/hour) and the power reserve is now 50 hours – a small increase over the 48 hours offered by the calibre 1861. Its precision will be within the 0/+5 seconds/day range defined by Omega. Finally, it incorporates a hacking second mechanism, something that the Speedmaster never had in the past.
Finally, the decoration has been drastically improved, especially over the calibre 1861. The calibre 1863 that was used in previous sapphire sandwich models was already nicely finished, though – but as said, this differentiation doesn’t exist anymore. The Co-Axial Calibre 3861 is mostly rhodium-plated and features Geneva stripes on the bridges, straight brushed levers, polished bevels on the most of the parts, a circular grained main plate, polished screws with bevelled slots, polished jewel and screw countersinks and gold-coloured chronograph wheels. It is, objectively, a very nice movement with a decoration that will please most watch enthusiasts.