Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch
The Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch

Ever since Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins successfully landed humans on the Moon during NASA’s Apollo 11 mission in 1969, the Omega Speedmaster, which had already been in the market for more than a decade, became known as the Moonwatch. Not only were the three American astronauts equipped with NASA-issued Omega Speedmaster chronographs during their mission but more importantly, when Buzz Aldrin became the second man to step onto the lunar surface, he had his Omega Speedmaster ref. 105.012 wrapped around the exterior of his spacesuit for all to see. 

Fast-forward five-plus decades and the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch remains an icon in watch collecting, enjoyed by space geeks and watch freaks alike. However, for those who may not possess encyclopedic knowledge about all the subtleties in the evolution of the Speedmaster, what constitutes a true Moonwatch versus another Omega Speedmaster watches can be a challenge. 

So if you’re in the market for your very own Moonwatch, here’s a quick Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch buying guide to help you along the way. 

The Original Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch and Subsequent References

Two different Speedmaster models were part of the Apollo 11 official gear: 105.012 and 145.012. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin wore the Speedmaster Professional 105.012. Legend has it that Neil Armstrong left his Speedy on the dashboard of the Eagle Lunar Module when he took “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” because the onboard clock malfunctioned. On the other hand, Michael Collins, who remained on the Columbia Command Module as it orbited the moon 30 times, wore the Speedmaster Professional 145.012. 

For context, Omega produced the Speedmaster 105.012 from about 1964 until 1968 and the Speedmaster 145.012 from about 1967 until 1969. Both of these references have 42mm stainless steel cases with crown guards, stainless steel bracelets, black dials with three registers, the word “Professional” written on the dials, Hesalite crystals above the dials, black tachymeter bezels, and manual-wound movements (Caliber 321) sitting beneath solid steel casebacks. 

These design details have remained essential to the classic Moonwatch variant of the Speedmaster throughout the decades. Below are the main Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch references Omega has produced over the last 50 years (not including any special variants, limited editions, or precious metal versions): 

  • 1964 – 1968: Speedmaster Professional 105.012
  • 1967 – 1969: Speedmaster Professional 145.012
  • 1968 – 1982: Speedmaster Professional 145.022
  • 1981 – 1988: Speedmaster Professional 145.0022
  • 1988 – 1996: Speedmaster Professional 3590.50
  • 1996 – 2014: Speedmaster Professional 3570.50
  • 2014 – 2021: Speedmaster Professional 311.30.42.30.01.005
  • 2021 – Present: Speedmaster Professional 310.30.42.50.01.001

Modern Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Models

A direct descendant of the original Moonwatches is the Speedmaster Professional 311.30.42.30.01.005 (discontinued in 2021.) For purists, it checks off all the Moonwatch boxes. This beloved Moonwatch features a 42mm stainless steel case, a stainless steel bracelet, a black dial, a Hesalite crystal, a solid caseback, a black tachymeter bezel, and a manual-wound movement. What’s more, it came in a special presentation box, complete with a NATO strap, an astronaut-style strap, a bracelet-changing tool, a loupe, a Speedmaster medallion, and a Speedmaster space exploration booklet.  

Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch 31130423001005 (discontinued) vs. 31030425001001 (current)

While the ref. 311.30.42.30.01.005 was considered the closest model to the vintage 105.012 and 145.012 models, Omega did include four different variants in the collection. The differences among these four Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch references are outlined below. 

ReferenceCaseBracelet/
Strap
CrystalCasebackMovement
311.30.42.30.01.00542mm
Steel
Steel
Bracelet
HesaliteSteel1861
311.30.42.30.01.00642mm
Steel
Steel
Bracelet
SapphireSapphire1863
311.33.42.30.01.00142mm
Steel
Leather
Strap
HesaliteSteel1861
311.33.42.30.01.00242mm
Steel
Leather StrapSapphireSapphire1863

The newest generation Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch lineup joined the Omega collection in 2021, boasting a slew of updates including a new Master Chronometer Caliber 3861 movement, a slightly redesigned dial, bezel, and caseback, a revamped bracelet, and a new clasp.

ReferenceCaseBracelet/
Strap
CrystalCasebackMovement
310.30.42.50.01.00142mm
Steel
Steel
Bracelet
HesaliteSteel3861
310.30.42.50.01.00242mm
Steel
Steel
Bracelet
SapphireSapphire3861
310.32.42.50.01.00142mm
Steel
Fabric
Strap
HesaliteSteel3861
310.32.42.50.01.00242mm
Steel
Leather
Strap
SapphireSapphire3861

What’s more, Omega now offers the regular-production Speedy Moonwatch in Moonshine (aka yellow) gold, Sedna (aka rose) gold, and Canopus (aka white) gold. 

Some Important Design Variations To Know 

While researching the Speedy Moonwatch, there will be some key variations that will come up that you’ll want to know about. The first will be regarding the movement. As mentioned, true Moonwatches will run on manual-wound movements. However, Omega has changed the movement over the years. Early models ran on the now-legendary Caliber 321 manual movement (which Omega revived a few years back, but not within the standard steel Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch range). 

Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch 31130423001005

Caliber 321 was then replaced by the easier-to-produce Caliber 861 with the introduction of ref. 145.022 in 1969. Then, Caliber 1861 became the standard with the introduction of ref. 3570.50 in 1996. Furthermore, there are also Caliber 863 and Caliber 1863, which are nicer-finished versions of Caliber 861 and Caliber 1861 for Moonwatches with display casebacks. 

The newest movement is the Master Chronometer Caliber 3861, which is anti-magnetic to 15,000-gauss and supplies the watch with 50 hours of power reserve. It also offers the “hacking” feature, which simply means that the seconds hand will come to a full stop when the crown is pulled out. 

31030425001001 solid caseback vs. 31030425001002 sapphire caseback

The next important variations involve the type of crystals used on both the dial side and the caseback. Although the most faithful to the original Moonwatch will have a Hesalite crystal on the front and a steel cover on the back, you may hear the terms “sapphire sandwich” and “Hesalite sandwich.” “Sapphire sandwich” refers to those models with sapphire crystals on the front and back while “Hesalite sandwich” refers to those models with a Hesalite crystal on the front and a sapphire crystal exhibition caseback. 

  • 1989 – 1995: Speedmaster Professional ref. 3592.50 “Hesalite Sandwich”
  • 1996 – 2003: Speedmaster Professional ref. 3572.50 “Hesalite Sandwich”
  • 2003 – 2014: Speedmaster Professional ref. 3573.50 “Sapphire Sandwich”
  • 2014 – 2021: Speedmaster Professional ref. 311.30.42.30.01.006 “Sapphire Sandwich”
  • 2021 – Present: Speedmaster Professional ref. 310.30.42.50.01.002 “Sapphire Sandwich”

Finally, to accompany the regular-production stainless steel Moonwatch references, Omega has also released plenty of limited editions, commemorative models, precious-metal variants, ceramic executions, and complicated editions of the Speedmaster that also carry the official “Moonwatch” name.

Though Omega has bestowed these models with the “Moonwatch” moniker, they are not “true” descendants of the two original models worn by the three astronauts on Apollo 11 but instead, creative iterations of the space-famous chronograph. 

Gray & Sons is proud to offer a wide selection of pre-owned Omega watches, including Speedmaster models. Browse our collection of pre-owned luxury watches to find the perfect timepiece to add to your collection. Alternatively, if you have an Omega watch to sell, visit our sister site, Sell Us Your Jewelry to get the best price for selling your watch.