The press embargo on the new OMEGA Speedmaster Moonwatch lifted this morning. All the usual suspects are doing deep dives into the details that separate the new variants from the old variants – of which there are 138 (or so). As far as I can tell, the big news is that it’s the first Moonwatch with George Daniels’ famous co-axial escapement, commercialized in 1990. I may be wrong because you know what? I don’t care . . .
Sure, I respect the OMEGA Speedmaster Moonwatch. By that I mean, the moonwatch. The one worn by Neil Armstrong on the moon. And I really wanted to like its ancestors. Bought one, reviewed and sold it. My main complaint: legibility. To quote myself, “the Moonwatch sometimes resembles a game of Pick Up Sticks.” Unlike the bi-compax version – heresy! – the 2021 watches continue the tradition of a legibility challenged dial.
Why do so many people buy an OMEGA Speedmaster Moonwatch? Why do so many buyers obsess over the smallest details? Hesalite (plastic) or sapphire crystal? Screw-down or sapphire caseback? It’s a grail watch! Or, to use a more appropriate term, a cult watch. Arguing against the Moonwatch with its owners is like trying to convince Scientologists that Xenu didn”t stack spaceships in volcanos.
If you’re an independent thinker, it’s time to think independently. BEFORE you join Friends of The Moonwatch, consider the alternatives, of which there are a multitude. Many of which have the same macho style as a Moonie for less money.
How about a different OMEGA, ’cause OMEGA makes awesome watches; IMHO better than Rolex, with bracelets that are every inch Rolex’s equal, and Rolex bracelets are sex on your wrist.
OMEGA Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial – $5,200 (Gray Market)
The 41mm Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial is a powered by Mr. Daniel’s vaunted co-axial escapement, obviously. Just like the new Moonwatch, it’s a Master Chronometer, accurate to 0/+5 seconds per day. Unlike the Moonwatch, the re-do of the 1957 OMEGA diver nails the vintage vibe, without evoking a government program that cost the equivalent of $600b.
OK, you can make the case that the moonshot was a good investment, and that a properly selected OMEGA Speedmaster Moonwatch – do NOT ask me which one that would be – will hold its value better than this ultra-legible self-winding mechanical marvel, water resistant to 30 ATM with a 60-hour power reserve. And you’d be right. And you’d have a Moonwatch not a horological babe, suitable for a long enough relationship that resale won’t come into it.
Breitling Superocean Heritage B20 Automatic 42 – $5,393 (plus tax)
Strangely enough, this Breitling Superocean also traces its heritage to 1957 (Elvis’ best year). The new version sees the Seamaster 300’s 60-hour power reserve and raises it ten – if that’s something you care about (and even if it’s not). More importantly, the Breitling uses the watchmaker’s most excellent Tudor-based movement to git ‘er done, chronometer-certified-wise.
As you’d expect, the Superocean dives to 200m. As you might not expect (at this price), the stainless steel case has 18k rose gold bits. Neither this watch nor the OMEGA Seamaster 300 are chronographs, but now that you have Siri/Alexa/Hey Google you can get an audio reminder when your boiled eggs are done.
People who want an OMEGA Speedmaster Moonwatch want an OMEGA Speedmaster Moonwatch. With so many fantastic timepieces available at the same price range or better, don’t be one of them. Bonus! You don’t have to compare your Moonwatch to other Moonwatches or talk about the Apollo project. Or explain why you’re a space travel fanboy, rather than a rocket scientist, astrophysicist or astronaut. Just sayin’ . . .