Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch 'Speedy Tuesday'
Watch reviewed is part of a private collection
The Omega Speedmaster Professional: a watch with a rich history, plethora of stories, and its very own culture. It commands an army of followers, enthusiasts, and collectors. Entire books have been dedicated to the watch and its variants. Thousands of posts are posted on online fora and social media discussing the different dial, hands, case, and movement variations of each iteration. The Speedy, as it is better known, is always amongst the first replies that enthusiasts give when asked by friends looking to purchase a relatively affordable everyday watch.
In 2012, during the rise of Instagram’s prominence in the world of social media, Fratello watches began utilising the hashtag #speedytuesday to share their passion for the watch. It started with one post by Robert-Jan Broer on his Facebook page, which became a working title for a recurring topic on Fratello Watches. This caught on quickly and #speedytuesday has since become a staple in the weekly cycle of many watch enthusiasts’ photography.
In January 2017, to celebrate the success of the hashtag, Fratello worked with Omega and created an online-reservation only release. All 2,012 pieces were reserved in less than 5 hours. It was an unprecedented collaboration, given Fratello’s weekly Speedy Tuesday series was never sponsored or financed by Omega, and the popularity of the hashtag #speedytuesday caught on amongst enthusiasts organically. It is also the first watch released to recognise the popularity of a hashtag. The reception of this Speedy Tuesday Speedmaster confirms that the piece is a true distillation of the Speedy’s history.
So how does this all feel to an enthusiast who has not had an attachment to the Speedmaster in the past?
Not being a seasoned (or even remotely) a Speedy enthusiast, the Speedy Tuesday is a refreshing iteration of the classic Moonwatch design. The most noticeable change is the adoption of an entirely brushed case. By applying such a finish to the whole case, Omega has improved the wearability of this piece as small scuffs and scratches from normal wear will be less visible. Additionally, this also gives the watch a light silvery grey, almost a Titanium-like appearance that is distinct from its regular counterparts.
Paired harmoniously with the case is the matte dial in a reverse-panda colour scheme. The steel hands are finished in the same manner as the case, giving the Speedy Tuesday a more premium appearance. A small touch that gives the watch’s dial extra depth is the applied logo; the crown and buckle are signed with the same vintage-inspired Omega logo. The white radial counters pay homage to the Alaska III Project, released in 1978. Even the vintage-style Speedmaster fonts pay homage to its predecessors. The party piece of the Speedy Tuesday lies in its liberal application of Superluminova across the counters, markers, hands, and oddly in the dial text also. Curiously, Omega has opted to apply concentric of lume to mimic a guilloche pattern in the registers. Refreshingly, in a market that has been flooded with reissues featuring faux-tina coloured luminescent material, the lume used on the Speedy Tuesday retains a white hue in the day and glows with a very pale blue shade.
The problem with it is...
The Speedy Tuesday is, visually, a good watch. The choice of finishes that been made by the teams at Fratello and Omega are excellent: all aid to give the ordinary Moonwatch a more refined and practical look. If there were any downsides to the piece, it would lay mostly within the heart of the watch. Omega has chosen to give the Speedy Tuesday a reasonably standard Calibre 1861; while reliable and proven, perhaps something more unique would better complement the excellent exterior. Worth noting is some of the earlier deliveries of this piece had some issues with the lume on the subdials; perhaps this is one of the reasons for the delivery delays for a small number of the orders.
Accompanying the watch are a pair of straps to pick from, including a zebra NATO and an extremely supple brown leather tang. The softness of the strap aids with comfort and wearability, something the regular Speedies excel in. However, it also means that occasionally the pin on the buckle will struggle to centre on the tang.
Omega and Fratello have created a great chronograph in this first-of-a-kind collaboration celebrating a hashtag. There’s no doubt the Speedy Tuesday is an important watch in the Speedmaster history. The watch industry would have observed its success, an indication of the rising power of social media; it will be interesting to see how it might influence the industry hereafter.
Would we own one?
Yes. I think everyone's been a little inundated by all the 'Limited Release' and 'Special Edition' watches in the last few years. Many brands are guilty of this, including Omega. However, aesthetically, the Speedy Tuesday gives the modern Speedy a nice refreshing look with the reverse panda dial and silver concentric sub dials. It would be my pick out of the modern Speedy range to own and wear. It wears comfortably like all Speedys should, and I can't fault the large but tame proportions of the Speedy compared to some other chronographs out there.
This is one I’d have to pass on. Although it’s probably my favourite variant of the Speedy to date with its cleverly lumed subdials and classy brushed finishes, I never looked at the watch longingly over the week or so that I wore it. Sizing-wise, I found it to a bit large, but not uncomfortably so.
Very rarely am I undecided on a watch. It is a visually attractive piece with great versatility and utility. At 42mm, however, it dominates my wrist too much and makes it difficult to wear - the lugs almost hang off my wrists. That said, I would not hesitate to recommend this watch, and other Speedmasters, to anyone looking for a new beater with heritage.
One more thing: it’s hard to not consider the hype surrounding this watch. The reality is, a number of the people who successfully reserved a Speedy Tuesday bought it in speculation that the resale price would be significantly higher, which has now proved to be the case. In a way, it is perhaps unfair to the true Speedy enthusiasts who would enjoy such a unique piece of Speedmaster history, who missed out on reserving their own due to being in different time zones, and now have to pay a premium to own a piece. Market theory, supply and demand at play, I know, though one can’t help but wonder if there is a better way of doing things. Perhaps a question for the future.
Another limited edition Speedmaster, yawn. Next please. Omega could be criticised for releasing so many Speedmaster variants, but this, I may argue, is different.
For a start, this was a marketing success. No longer are these limited editions available only to “loyal” customers through an Omega boutique. The online application, I may argue, is much fairer, bypassing favouritism and grey dealers. It also gave potential buyers the opportunity to pick their preferred number (out of 2,012) subject to availability. No wonder it sold out in just over 4 hours.
What delights a Speedy collector is to find how similar, yet different, this watch is, compared to other Speedmasters in the Omega catalogue. The homage its design pays to its highly-valued predecessors, such as the Alaska III Project. Each one being individually numbered on the case back, and the full kit of a leather roll, leather and NATO straps, and strap change tool, makes the Speedy Tuesday different to the experience of standard Speedmaster Professional models.
So, all in all, yes, it's another limited edition Speedmaster, but one unique enough (1 of 2,012 anyway) in its many tiny details, sets it apart from other Speedmaster variants, and appeal to Speedy collectors (and flippers) alike.