On the 1st of March 1965, Omega’s Speedmaster chronograph was “flight-qualified by NASA for all manned space missions.” From that point forward, the Speedmaster became a coveted watch by collectors and watch abusers alike. To put it frank, the Speedmaster is a tool watch with the looks of a highly refined and swiss fashion watch. To me, it’s perfection.
While the general appearance of the Speedmaster has gone unchanged, the movement has gone through a number of revisions. The first series of watches were powered by a work horse manual wind movement while the newer watches are moved by gorgeous automatic units. I’d love to have one from just about any generation, but a beat up early model would suit me just fine.
Of course, money is the issue. New watches are out of this world price-wise, but older units can be had for around $1500 on eBay. In each case, my wallet just isn’t quite fat enough to withstand the pressure. I’ve never jumped on one despite my love…
I have, however, always looked for hommages that cary the same look of the Speedmaster but don’t bring the same price tag. My favorite is the Seiko SND729. This particular Seiko is based off of the company’s 7T92 quartz movement. It’s a quality piece that keeps accurate time and can be cheaply produced. I’ve always felt that automatic watches are more fun to own, but there is also some merit to being able to just grab a watch and go – the SND729 allows you to do that. It’s convenient.
I any case, the SND729 features a 41mm case (43mm with crown) and 21mm lugs (20 or 22mm NATO straps fit just fine thank you). The face isn’t a knock-off of the Speedmaster, but hints at its heritage and is extremely clean and easy to read. And while my thirst for Omega’s finest hasn’t been quenched, this little Seiko has certainly kept me satisfied until my dream can one day be realized.
If you are into the Speedy like me but don’t have the funds, give this little number a shot. They are a bit hard to find in the American market, but if you are patient you can usually pick one up on eBay for less than $150.