The Speedmaster is the watch from OMEGA. OMEGA first introduced the watch in 1957 as a sports chronograph, but by the late 60s it was known as the Moon Watch. NASA approved the Speedmaster, and only the Speedmaster, for manned space missions. Now there are countless models of the Speedmaster in production today, but we are going focus on just two. The flagship Speedmaster Professional, and it’s a little brother the Speedmaster Reduced.
The Professional – Ref. 318.104.22.168.01.005
The OMEGA Speedmaster Professional has remained largely unchanged in the past 50 years, and it is the cornerstone of the Speedmaster lineup. The current Speedmaster Professional is powered by the manual wound caliber 1861, which has a direct lineage to the famous caliber 321. It still retains its Hesalite crystal, and a quirky asymmetrical design. And it can be difficult, to the untrained eye, to tell the difference in a new Speedmaster and one that’s 20 years old. And to this day it is still NASA qualified for space.
The “Little Brother” – Ref. 3510.50.00
Then in 1988 OMEGA introduced the Speedmaster Automatic, or as it is more commonly known the Speedmaster Reduced. The Speedmaster Automatic was introduced by OMEGA as the smaller more affordable option. It’s a 39-millimeter version of the Speedmaster with an automatic movement. The movement was originally the OMEGA caliber 1140, which was a base movement with a piggyback module. This means OMEGA took a base movement, heavily modified it, and added a chronograph module directly on top of the movement. At a glance the Speedmaster Reduced looks like just a smaller Speedmaster Professional.
Both watches share the black dial with stark white indices, the black tachometer bezel, asymmetrical case design with curved lugs, and that Hesalite crystal, but side-by-side the differences become much more apparent. The two most noticeable differences are the spaced-out sub dials and the offset chronograph pushers on the Speedmaster Reduced. Both of these are the effects of the piggyback module affixed right on top of the movement.
Which to Choose?
Even though the Speedmaster Reduced was discontinued in 2010 you can still find them in the pre-owned market at a slightly lower price point than the Speedmaster Professional. And the added convenience of the automatic movement, and the smaller size make the Reduced a great option for individuals that want the Speedmaster look in a smaller design, but if you want the Moon Watch then you have to go with the Speedmaster Professional.
At the end of the day you can’t go wrong with either because you’re choosing between two watches from a premier brand like OMEGA. Let us know which of the Speedmasters you prefer, and if you think there’s another model that should be in this discussion. Thanks for watching.