Five Lesser-Known Speedmasters

Posted by Charles Tian on September 30, 2020

Nearly every watch enthusiast has probably had a Speedmaster in their collection at one point or another. One of the longest-running watch collections from a brand not named Rolex, the Omega Speedmaster has both a timeless design and ultra-compelling history, giving it a cult following among collectors.

One great thing about collecting Speedmasters is that they’re readily available from a long range of eras and price points. A basic Speedy Reduced can be found for under $2,000, while the Silver Snoopy trades at over $40,000.

It feels like every year Omega releases a dozen new Speedmaster models. With the collection celebrating its 60th birthday in 2017, it’s easy to forget about many of the cool Speedmasters of the past and present. Here are five that you might not have seen before.

Speedmaster “Alaska Project”

Reference: 311.32.42.30.04.001

The Alaska Project is one of the craziest Speedmaster watches ever envisioned. Released as a limited edition of 1,970 pieces back in 2008, this rare white-dial Speedmaster came coupled with a removable anodized aluminum thermal shield.

As you might expect from the name, the thermal shield allowed this Speedmaster to operate in extreme temperature conditions, both hot and cold. Omega claims that it can withstand temperatures from negative 148 degrees Celcius to 260 degrees Celcius.

The Alaska Project has become more sought after in recent years despite flying under the radar for a long time after release. As a result of this, prices have more than doubled on the secondary market since 2015. Here is an infographic from our Instagram page depicting the ten-year price history of the Alaska Project.

Speedmaster “TinTin”

Reference: 311.30.42.30.01.004

You might recognize the name “TinTin” as the beloved cartoon character who goes on wild adventures with his dog Snowy and the brash Captain Haddock. I certainly remember reading The Adventures of TinTin as a kid with great fondness. What you might not recognize is a Speedmaster that unofficially bears the same name.

The Speedmaster TinTin is both charming and instantly recognizable. Like the Alaska Project, it flew under the radar initially after its Baselworld 2013 release, and was only produced for one or two years. The watch has a fascinating creation story: originally designed in collaboration with the family of the TinTin creator, the dial was designed with a red-and-white checked chapter ring inspired by a rocket bearing the same pattern that takes TinTin to the moon.

However, the project was unexpectedly cancelled, leaving Omega with a bunch of these dials and no officially licensed TinTin watch. Not wanting their efforts to go to waste, Omega instead repurposed these dials for a new Speedmaster Racing collection release – the watch that you see today.

Like the Alaska Project, the Speedmaster TinTin has also seen strong value appreciation over the past few years. While some speculate that it’s the next Paul Newman Daytona, I wouldn’t be so quick to make such a judgement call. At the moment, the watch is still priced relatively attainably, and prices are likely to hold strong in the near future.

Speedmaster “From the Moon to Mars”

Reference: 3577.50.00

The Speedmaster “From the Moon to Mars” reminds us of the next great space frontier. This model was released in 2004 and in production until 2008. Its defining characteristics are the images printed on the three chronograph subdials: the earth at 9 o’clock, the moon at 6 o’clock, and Mars at 3 o’clock.

This model is the only Speedmaster ever produced that features three distinct subdials. While it’s not a limited edition, it is a numbered edition, with the production number of each example engraved on the caseback. The words “From the Moon to Mars” are also inscribed on both the dial and caseback.

Speedmaster “Eyes on the Stars”

Reference: 3578.51.00

At this point, everyone knows about the Speedmaster Silver Snoopy – in fact I mentioned it at the beginning of this article when referencing the most expensive Speedmasters.

However, the Silver Snoopy is in fact not the first Speedmaster to feature Snoopy on the dial. Instead, that honor goes to this model: the “Eyes on the Stars.” Released in 2003 as a limited edition, this watch celebrates Omega’s role in the successful recovery of the Apollo 13 mission, and their receipt of the Silver Snoopy Award in 1970.

Omega’s Silver Snoopy Award

Check out this Hodinkee article for an in-depth look at how Snoopy ended up on the Speedmaster.

Interest in the “Eyes on the Stars” Speedmaster has been revitalized in recent years, as collectors search for the “next best thing” after the unattainably priced Silver Snoopy. The “Eyes on the Stars” Speedmaster is not traded very often, despite 5,441 pieces being produced. The current market average looks to be in the low-to-mid $10,0000 range.

Speedmaster Reduced “Michael Schumacher”

Reference: 3510.61.00

It wouldn’t be fair to end this list without mentioning a Speedy Reduced! While the Reduced doesn’t get as much attention or love as the Professional, it is more practical (featuring automatic winding), wearable, and generally more affordable.

The Speedmaster Reduced “Michael Schumacher” actually refers to a collection of three watches made to commemorate the career of the most successful Formula 1 driver of all time. These watches were available in red, yellow, and blue dial variations, and came with a presentation box made to look like a Formula 1 car tire bearing Schumacher’s signature.

The red dial version is my favorite of the three, and actually a piece in my personal collection. Like the Submariner Hulk, it’s a flashier but still familiar version of an iconic design. Unlike the Hulk, it’s not much more expensive than your typical black dial Speedy Reduced.

Conclusion

There seems to be an upwards trend of Speedmaster prices across the board in recent years. We’ve seen it with most of the models in this list, and even your run-of-the-mill Speedmaster Reduced reference 3510.50 has appreciated about 25% in the past year – with prices increasing from an average of $1,600 to $2,000.

However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t still great deals to be had. Just a few weeks ago, I discovered the reference 3576.50, a surprisingly affordable Speedmaster with a rare moonphase complication. One of these watches recently sold for the equivalent of just over $2,000.

What are your underrated Speedmaster picks? Let me know in the comments below!

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