Omega introduced a funky Racing Speedmaster at Baselworld this year and while it’s not a true “moonwatch,” it has plenty of style and functionality.
By Logan R. Baker
Every July 20th, the United States celebrates National Moon Day to commemorate the day Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin first stepped on the Earth’s lunar companion. To honor this landmark day in American history, we wanted to review one of the many new Speedmasters that debuted at Baselworld this year. I spent a week wearing the new Omega Speedmaster Racing Master Chronometer, and while it isn’t exactly what we would consider a classic “moonwatch,” it’s a pretty cool timepiece in its own way. In fact, it’s a great homage to a 1968 Speedmaster model and retains the same automotive spirit of the original Speedmaster from 1957, which was built as a driving performance watch. After all, before the Speedmaster was associated with the moon and space travel, it was a racing watch.
First off, let’s talk about the color and design. The racing check marks that make their way around the bezel are a hallmark of driving watches, and the bright orange color at the top of each hour index allows for maximum legibility. The tangerine hands, the subdials, which have increased in size, and the tapered date window give this Speedy the sporty and well-proportioned feel for which the watch has become a fan favorite. What is most noticeable about the design may just be its size. Clocking in at 44.25 mm, this Speedy is definitely large and sure to garner some outrage from vintage enthusiasts but it’s important to note that Omega has slowly been introducing more and more 44 mm+ variants of the iconic watch over the past few years.
Inside the watch, we’ve got the Caliber 9900 running the show. This self-winding movement is fairly recent, first debuting last year in the Planet Ocean Chronograph. This is the first time that this caliber has been placed inside a Speedy, which is always noteworthy for Speedmaster fanatics, and as far as I can tell, nothing has been lost in the transition. The watch is as accurate as ever and has been shaved down 0.8 mm thinner, in part due to the redesigned sapphire crystal.
Although it is a larger watch, it wears extremely comfortably on the wrist. New end links for the bracelet trend downwards rather than straight, helping the watch actually fit your wrist size rather than jut out at its ends. The sumptuous and perforated leather strap is extremely soft and helped keep my wrist cool as we approach the dog days of the summer.
To some enthusiasts, the constant stream of Speedmaster variants is overwhelming to deal with, especially in today’s ever-growing vintage market. But what the Racing Master Chronometer offers is the various technical innovations that make a modern Speedy what it is. The Liquidmetal bezel is one of the more intriguing proprietary breakthroughs happening inside the Omega manufacture and provides a look that won’t age or fade away with time. The coaxial escapement continues to be a potent reminder of the Bienne manufacture’s mechanical strength, and the previously mentioned end links are a smart way to balance the watch’s size with the growth.
The watch is also available in a Sedna gold variant with a blue dial that is appealing and easy on the eyes but to me isn’t as memorable. The steel model is priced at $8,450 and the Sedna gold is priced at $11,200.
Overall, the Omega Speedmaster Racing Master Chronometer is a watch that might not speak to all the Moonwatch purists in the world but for those that love Speedmasters and want something a bit more exotic but still deeply interwoven in Omega’s rich history, it’s hard to imagine a better modern option than this.
More information can be found here.