When we think of the Omega Speedmaster, we tend to envision the ultimate tool watch, encased in steel and built to time things in the most demanding scenarios, be it the race track or outer space. In other words, it’s an ideal of the sports watch. For all that, having that steel swapped out for a gold alloy is actually not a new development for the lineup, with it most recently coming in the guise of the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional “Moonshine” with a charming forest green dial.
For the Speedmaster, history starts in 1957, when it was created to be the first chronograph watch, complete with the timing bezel. By the time we reach the end of the 1960s, the design had been tweaked and adjusted, arriving at a look that we’re very familiar with today. From that point forward, the watch remained basically unchanged. It was not until 2021 that the watch started to make some moves to the future. Visually it looked the same, but internally it was a whole new world. This new movement brought a co-axial escapement, resistance to magnetism, and chronometer certification. 2022 then saw that movement get wrapped in Omega’s proprietary gold alloy – Moonshine, first introduced in 2019 – to create the watch we see here today.
If one was feeling dismissive of the Omega Speedmaster Professional lineup, you could simply state “if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.” And you wouldn’t be wrong. That statement does overlook the concept that Omega got so much right from the get-go that there just was not a lot that needed to be addressed. In this version, we have the more ubiquitous steel of the case and bracelet replaced by Moonshine. This golden alloy is comprised of gold, silver, copper, and palladium, which gives it a cooler hue than the traditional 18K gold, which is 75% gold and 25% copper. Along with a unique look, this material is also meant to keep the hue and shine from fading over time. In other words, if you take care of the watch, it could look almost showroom new for a good long time.
What really gives the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional “Moonshine” an even more luxurious feel is the use of green to offset the pale yellow gold. This shows up on the classic stepped dial with a PVD coating to achieve the color, as well as on the bezel. Here, another proprietary material process appears. The bezel itself is a polished green ceramic, with the scale printed using Omega’s Ceragold process. While the overall design of the watch is that of a tool watch, this particular guise shows just how versatile the design is, making for a truly luxury watch.
When Omega introduced the 3861 movement in 2019, it replaced the 1861, which itself replaced the 861. In other words, this was a dramatic departure from the engine that had powered the Speedmaster Professional for 50 years. At it’s core, the architecture of the 3861 is derived from the two calibers that preceded it, including the cam-actuated chronograph action.
What changed, then, was Omega giving the 3861 the best technology that had been developed in the intervening half-century. For the first time, the Speedmaster could proudly wear the label “Master Chronometer rated”, as well as rely on a Co-axial escapement. When you add in the usage of silicon in the escapement, and a free-sprung balance wheel, you gain a movement that is highly resistant to the pull of magnetism, just by the nature of its design. This helps the manually-wound movement to maintain its accuracy.
A vast majority of these components are visible through the exhibition caseback. While there is fine decoration applied to the componentry, the view here is for the sheer number of components that you can see, and see in action. If you ever meet someone who does not understand what we mean about a watch being a machine in miniature, just show them this caseback, and they’ll quickly understand.
Versus The Competition
When it comes to competition for the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional “Moonshine”, the best place to start is with the Speedmaster itself. With over 5 decades of examples to choose from, there are no shortage of options. While most are in steel, there are a few golden options as well, such as the the Speedmaster Apollo XI 50th Anniversary Limited Series. You’ll notice that this one has a much yellower hue, as the gold is a more traditional 18k, though it still does contain the updated 3861 movement, so you’re getting all the mechanical benefits.
On the other hand, if you’re considering a Speedmaster, you’ve no doubt had your eye on the almost-as-storied Rolex Daytona. If you want something a bit bolder to catch the eye, you might think of something like the Rolex “Beach” Daytona. While the Speedmaster went to space, the Daytona was all about racing. It hit the track in 1963, and has been timing laps ever since. This particular example comes from the early 2000s and features a white gold case that houses the caliber 4130, which was the movement that Rolex used to break away from using modified Zenith movements to power their watches. Luxurious, bold, and a definite milestone in Rolex history.
For us, we see the owner of the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional “Moonshine” as someone who knows they’ve hit their milestones, marked their achievements, and aren’t afraid to draw attention to it, while still recognizing their roots. At their core, all watches are a tool for measuring time, and the Speedmaster was a tool designed to track literally mission-critical elements for astronauts. Sure, steel is durable, but once it’s time to put the heavy labor behind, then out comes the precious metals. Even here, however, with the Moonshine alloy, Omega ensures that the gold is willing to keep on putting in a hard day’s effort, should the call come up.
From its humble beginnings, the Omega Speedmaster has literally reached for the moon, and has been an omnipresent part of the watch world for decade after decade. It seems only fitting, then, that this version is outfitted with the latest in materials and movement engineering that Omega is able to provide. This particular version has a tastefully flashiness to it, with the combination of gold and green that softens what could have otherwise been a garish gold watch landing. In our book, this makes it a sublime example of what a precious metal Speedmaster can be.