The Omega Speedmaster Professional is undoubtedly one of the most iconic watches of all time, but steady price appreciation has made the Moonwatch increasingly unaffordable for many fans and collectors. Is finding a Speedmaster for less than $5,000 a thing of the past? Not at all. Here are six interesting Speedmaster models and references that can still be had for less than $5,000.
Omega Speedmaster Professional Ref. 3126.96.36.199.01.005
Does it have to be a Moonwatch? If so, there’s no way you can skip the ref. 3188.8.131.52.01.005. Produced until 2020, this timepiece is the predecessor of the current Omega Speedmaster Professional. Yes, you have to do without the new manual Co-Axial movement and ingenious new bracelet, but other than that, you’re really not missing out on much with this reference. The dial and case are as unmistakable as ever, and the Hesalite crystal provides that one-of-a-kind character that fans love. Plus, if we’re honest, the Speedmaster looks best on a NATO or leather strap anyways, right? So the lack of the new bracelet is no big deal. To be fair, there aren’t that many of these watches on the market, but well-maintained, older examples with their box and papers can still be found for just under the $5,000 mark. The same also applies to the preceding ref. 3570.50.00.
Omega Speedmaster Mark II
The Omega Speedmaster Mark II is a true exotic. First introduced in 1969, it differs significantly from most Speedmasters on the market today. Its case measures 41.5 mm across and is equipped with a mineral crystal, proving its outwardly functional design. The Omega Speedmaster Mark II‘s cushion-shaped case and integrated bracelet are the epitome of 1970s flair. Are you after a watch with that certain something special? Do you have a soft spot for the 1970s? If so, the Mark II may be the watch for you. Many Mark IIs can be had for less than $3,000, but if you want a copy with its original box and papers, prices will be higher. However, if you’re lucky, you should still be able to find one for less than $5,000.
Omega Speedmaster Professional Quartz Ref. 186.004
Thought the Omega Speedmaster Mark II was as wild as it gets? Think again. The Omega Speedmaster Professional Quartz is another unique Speedy to keep an eye out for. No, this isn’t the latest collab between Casio and Omega; it’s a bona fide 1970s Speedmaster. This timepiece is the definition of exotic in the Speedmaster family. It has a diameter of 36.5 mm, comes on a Jubilee-style bracelet, and features an LCD display. All that aside, there is no doubt that this is a genuine Speedmaster – it even has the iconic asymmetrical lugs! The Omega Speedmaster Professional Quartz is a rare find, and while some examples can be found for less than $5,000, a full set will likely cost more than that. Not too shabby for a quartz watch…
Swatch X Omega MoonSwatch
My Speedy picks will get more mainstream further down the list, but before I get to that, I can’t help but mention the MoonSwatch. As we all know, the collaboration between Swatch and Omega splits opinions in the watch community. Is the MoonSwatch even a real Speedmaster? Well, one glance at its dial suggests it definitely is. No, it’s not a Speedmaster Professional nor a Moonwatch, but rather the Speedmaster MoonSwatch, a breed of its own. You’ll have to make do with a plastic case and quartz movement, but in exchange, you’ll have the choice between 11 different versions and won’t have to pay more than $500. If you prefer things on the playful side, you’ll have plenty to choose from here: cool, colorful, you name it! If, however, you’re looking for a more serious Moonwatch alternative, be sure to look out for the Mission to the Moon and Mission to Mercury variants. Even if the MoonSwatch is more Swatch than Omega, it’s a fun and more affordable way to enjoy the spirit of the real Moonwatch.
Omega Speedmaster Reduced
As its name suggests, the Omega Speedmaster Reduced is a smaller, more stripped down version of the iconic chronograph. The typical Speedmaster look, including the dial design, Hesalite crystal, and chronograph function, has remained more or less unchanged. There are only a few minor alternations to be found on this watch. For starters, the diameter comes in at 39 mm instead of 42 mm, but it’s actually a great size that suits nearly every wrist and is in keeping with the return of more modest diameters. The subdials also have a slightly different arrangement, with the small seconds moving from the left to the right side of the dial, leaving the minute counter on the left. The biggest difference to the original is also the Reduced’s biggest advantage: It’s an automatic watch with a 40-hour power reserve. Even the latest version of the Moonwatch is manual and requires winding every two days, regardless of whether you’re wearing it around the clock. The Reduced’s ETA movement is known for its reliability and easy serviceability, and could nearly qualify as an in-house caliber given its shared parent company. This timepiece was produced until 2012, and is readily available for less than $3,000. If you take the plunge, you can rest assured that you’re getting a popular Speedmaster alternative that will quickly be snapped up if you decide to sell in the future.
Omega Speedmaster 38 Co-Axial
The Omega Speedmaster Co-Axial 38 is kind of like the spiritual successor of the Omega Speedmaster Reduced. It will likely appeal to those who aren’t looking for an older timepiece, but are keen to find a smaller watch. The 38-mm Speedmaster is really underestimated in my opinion, and it definitely lives a shadow existence compared to the Speedmaster Professional. This is really hard to believe, because objectively speaking, the smaller watch is the better watch. It not only boasts a 50-hour power reserve and date display at 6 o’clock, but is also water-resistant to 100 m (328 ft). The classic Speedmaster Professional, on the other hand, could only dream of these specs with its manual Co-Axial caliber, 50 m (164 ft) of water resistance, and missing date display. In terms of design, the automatic version stays very close to its larger sibling. The subdials and tachymeter scale look slightly different, and the dial has a lacquered instead of matte finish, but you can immediately see the resemblance to the original. I personally prefer the somewhat more modern appearance of the smaller watch. The current Moonwatch has a very traditional, retro look in comparison. Priced under $5,000, the Omega Speedmaster 38 Co-Axial is definitely an interesting alternative to the Moonwatch. The only downside is that you’ll have to do without the legendary Moonwatch status, but you can’t have it all, can you?