One can safely say that the Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch is a timepiece that needs no introduction to any watch enthusiast on this planet. Omega has been dedicating tremendous efforts to making the most out of what may be the ultimate (well-deserved) watch-marketing jackpot of the 20th century: the Speedmaster’s use in NASA’s manned space missions – including the first landing on the moon. And yet, while everyone knows what the Moonwatch is, only a fraction of the fans are truly familiar with the ins and outs of this now 50-year saga. The Moonwatch Only: The Ultimate Omega Speedmaster Guide book by Grégoire Rossier and Anthony Marquié takes on the gargantuan task of explaining the history of this iconic timepiece, as well as serving as a reference guide on what likely is every single detail of every single Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch to have ever existed between 1957 and 2012 (this holds true for the 2014 edition of the book which we are reviewing here).
It takes 494 pages and over 1,000 illustrations spread out over a substantial 25 by 30.7 centimeter (10 by 12 inch) format to explain and discuss it all. The Moonwatch Only: The Ultimate Omega Speedmaster Guide book is divided into 5 chapters, which range from Introduction, Main Components and Accessories (a mere 190 pages), The Models (240 pages), Choosing and Using, and finally Appendices with a really cool and useful 3-page fold-out Identification Aid that summarizes all models and main specifications.
The goal of the authors appears to not have been anything else but to create a be-all-end-all guide to the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch – but again, that is one overwhelmingly complex task. Even for those who have spent years reading about and/or trading Omega Speedmaster Moonwatches, it may come as surprising just how many different variations of movements, dials, cases, pushers, crowns, bracelets, and clasps Omega has created over the years – it truly boggles the mind to think about what it must have been like to try and cut through this Gordian knot of countless permutations.
And with this, we have arrived to what may be the absolute strongest point of the Moonwatch Only: The Ultimate Omega Speedmaster Guide book: not only does the list of different components appear to be complete, but I have also not found any listings without colored, detailed, high-quality illustrations. From the endless different dial and movement variations to case profile differences, everything appears to be meticulously documented – which is what you would want when trying to determine the age, rarity and other factors of your previous (or, hopefully, next) purchase.
The exact list of specifications is long, but you will want to know this before committing to invest in this publication, so here goes the full list of the ten types of components analyzed: caliber, caseband, dial, bezel, hands, caseback, crown, pushers, glass, and band. All items in these sub-categories come with detailed explanations, exact time periods, as well as main references to which they are relevant. That may have taken a moment to summarize, but we are talking about 180 pages of extremely well documented and detailed historical information, dating all the way back to the “pre-professional” era, from 1957.
To give you an example, the way the dials have been organized consider the tiniest details, the construction of the dials, the spacing of the “T” tritium marking, the size of the letter “S” and the tip of the “m” in Speedmaster – and on and on. Something to consider is that even if you have the latest piece from the present Omega Speedmaster Professional collection, if you actually care about the remarkable history of the piece that you are wearing, it could very well be interesting to find out the vast history that is actually behind it. And who knows, half a century later, the one you just bought will be looked back as the “flat dial, short S, narrow E, luminova with non-joined S and p.”
The point is that while arguably not everyone will use this publication as a point of reference, it will still prove to be hugely fascinating as a look into the remarkable history of this terrific timepiece. Speaking about its use as a fantastic off-time read, the second larger section of the book, titled “The Models,” discusses at length all the different Omega Speedmaster production models, special and limited editions, and even prototypes – again, with detailed explanations and consistently great images.