Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Co-Axial Master Chronometer Moonphase Chronograph Watch Review

Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Co-Axial Master Chronometer Moonphase Chronograph Watch Review

Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Co-Axial Master Chronometer Moonphase Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

This year, the iconic Omega Speedmaster celebrates its 60th anniversary after originally launching in 1957. It was not until over a decade later that it started to be known as the "moonwatch." All timepiece enthusiasts know (after the fact has been endlessly drilled into their clearly eager minds) that the Speedmaster by Swiss Omega was chosen by American NASA to be the official timepiece worn by Apollo mission astronauts and eventually to the moon - a few times. 2019 will be the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11, and I am sure hoping that Omega has something interesting brewing for that. But I'm getting ahead of myself, because right now I am about to share my review of the 2016-debuted Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Co-Axial Master Chronometer Moonphase Chronograph.

Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Co-Axial Master Chronometer Moonphase Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Co-Axial Master Chronometer Moonphase Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Since the moon missions, the once racing- and pilot-themed Speedmaster became the timepiece synonymous with the moon and all things related to astronauts. It is a persona that continues to endure today, even if Omega has yet to decide how it will truly be a part of contemporary spaceflight activities in order to secure future relevance in this theme. What has really helped the Speedmaster endure, though, isn't just a connection to the historic moon missions or NASA, but rather its winning design. Moreover, the Speedmaster has been rendered in so many ways with so many variants that even highly trained specialists have trouble keeping track of all the models.

Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Co-Axial Master Chronometer Moonphase Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Co-Axial Master Chronometer Moonphase Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Speedmaster product naming conventions don't help much, as they are often confusing and similar to one another, or abstract and difficult to remember. For example, the official name of this watch according to the Omega website is the "Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Omega Co-Axial Master Chronometer Moonphase Chronograph 44.25 MM," and that doesn't even include the reference number. The name actually includes "Omega" in it twice. The only reason for this is that Omega has so many similarly themed watches (even though the timepieces themselves may be quite different) that it becomes very challenging to describe them. There have been other Omega Speedmaster models with moonphase indicators and chronographs in the past. In fact, one of them is still available for sale, with an almost identical case, but a different dial layout and movement.

Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Co-Axial Master Chronometer Moonphase Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Co-Axial Master Chronometer Moonphase Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Even when we wrote about the Omega Speedmaster Master Chronometer Moonphase (as I call it for short) after seeing it hands-on after Baselworld 2016, we weren't quite sure what to call it. With a ten-word name and a complicated assortment of special features, this otherwise very lovely Omega watch is going to need a lot of special attention to stand out from the crowd. My overall take on the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Co-Axial Master Chronometer Moonphase Chronograph is that it is beautiful, distinctive in its own right, and comfortable. At the same time, you need to be a veritable Omegatologist to understand the depth of its technical appeal, as well as how it fits into the larger collection. Omega is a strong brand because it has a lot of good watches. Alternatively, you could see it as Omega's weakness as a brand that it offers too many watches to allow relatively casual timepiece lovers an opportunity to choose easily.

Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Co-Axial Master Chronometer Moonphase Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Co-Axial Master Chronometer Moonphase Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Several years ago, in 2011, the Omega Speedmaster got modern when Omega released the first new generation models with the in-house-made caliber 9300 family movements. These did away with the chronograph's three-subdial layout, opting for a two-subdial design, but with a right subdial with two hands (for measuring hours and minutes). The 9300 family of in-house automatic Co-Axial chronograph movements is now being replaced with the 9900 series family of movements which introduces some upgrades such as non-ferrous metal parts for key components, which makes the watch more or less totally resistant to magnetic fields. This is part of what "Master Chronometer" implies and is also part of the rather special METAS certification that each Master Chronometer gets.

Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Co-Axial Master Chronometer Moonphase Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Co-Axial Master Chronometer Moonphase Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Co-Axial Master Chronometer Moonpahse Chronograph makes use of the caliber 9904 (also 9905 with gold parts for precious metal versions) movement which is the first to offer a Co-Axial Master Chronometer to the Speedmaster family. For 2017, Omega will roll out the 9900 movement without the moonphase complication for the rest of the Omega Speedmaster Co-Axial Master Chronometer Chronograph collection. The reason you buy this particular watch is because of the moonphase indicator as well as the fact that it has a Co-Axial Master Chronometer automatic movement.

Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Co-Axial Master Chronometer Moonphase Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Co-Axial Master Chronometer Moonphase Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Oddly enough, the other currently available Omega Speedmaster Moonphase Chronograph watch has the same size case (44.25mm wide) and is about the same price (actually a bit more). It is the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional Moonphase Chronograph. This builds on the "classic" Moonwatch Professional style watch based on a more traditional manually wound movement (which, compared to the 9900 series, is rather primitive for daily wear, in my opinion - unless you really like "old school charm"). This latter watch uses the caliber 1886 which builds on the 1861 by adding an upper subdial under 12 o'clock that has a moonphase indicator surrounded by a pointer date indicator dial.

Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Co-Axial Master Chronometer Moonphase Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Co-Axial Master Chronometer Moonphase Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Both of these latter elements exist in the Omega Speedmaster Co-Axial Master Chronometer Moonphase but with a different layout. Here, the relatively empty space over 6 o'clock (where the date would normally go) is used for a traditional moonphase indicator disc with a life-like representation of the moon. The left sudial has hands for both the date as well as the running seconds. The right subdial is still used to measure the chronograph minutes and hours (the central hand on the main dial still handles the chronograph seconds).

Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Co-Axial Master Chronometer Moonphase Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Co-Axial Master Chronometer Moonphase Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The steel versions of the watch have a printed life-like representation of the moon in the discs, while the gold and platinum versions have textured moonphase discs which offer a different look. The platinum version of the watch even goes so far as to have a small magnifier disc where the date pointer hand is. This is pretty cool, but I recall Omega saying that the part was such a pain to make that they would not have been able to make it for a non-limited edition. For more information on the precious metal-cased versions of the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Co-Axial Master Chronometer Moonphase Chronograph (the name is so long it almost tires my fingers to type it out each time) see our previous hands-on article of the fuller collection linked to above.

Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Co-Axial Master Chronometer Moonphase Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Co-Axial Master Chronometer Moonphase Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

This particular reference 304.33.44.52.03.001 version of the watch is in steel, on a blue leather strap. You can also get this same watch in a more classic black dial also on a strap, or on a more "traditionally Speedmaster" steel metal bracelet. The case is 44.25mm wide and certainly on the thicker side at about 16mm. This new generation Speedmaster case is easily among the most interesting "classic-style" watch cases I know. The reason I say this is not only because of how it is constructed but because looking at it from different angles can vastly change what it looks like in a way I've never experienced from any watch before.

Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Co-Axial Master Chronometer Moonphase Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Co-Axial Master Chronometer Moonphase Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

A lot of this has to do with the sandwich-style construction of the case, as well as the fact that the various parts (bezel, middle case, caseback) are of different widths. Despite the size, the case is overall very comfortable (if worn snugly) and attractive on the wrist, and its details do merit close inspection. The case is water-resistant to 100 meters and has a sapphire crystal on both ends, with a display caseback offering a view of the handsome in-house-made movement.

What do you think?
  • I want it! (90)
  • Thumbs up (51)
  • Interesting (27)
  • I love it! (26)
  • Classy (19)
  • PleaseSpellRoman4AsIV

    In my opinion far the best looking Speedy in the current collection, especially in this specific configuration. The only grudge I had when trying it on was the thickness. I knew it was going to sit high, but still it was a bit of a shock. Still residing high on my watches to get list.

    • Or just don’t type out the full name every single time. We know what the review is about, he could just type “the watch” or “the Moonphase Chronograph” (admittedly this is a particularly awkward name to shorten but still).

      • PleaseSpellRoman4AsIV

        It may have a negative impact on search engine indexing. We don’t want traffic dropping from the site. 🙂

    • SPQR

      Agreed with the enormous long naming convention. Try “Speedy Blue Moon” instead.

  • IanE

    Well, they would never have sent this watch to the Moon – the extra weight would have required a bigger booster rocket! Too big, too blingy, too long a title, too expensive (and I personally hate that date pointer)!

    • Bfsp

      Really, this is too expensive, but a Rolex Daytona at $13k in steel is rational? The entire industry isn’t aimed at providing cheap watches.

      This is obviously a flagship model similar to the DSOTM and GSOTM.

      • IanE

        Perhaps I should have added ‘In My Opinion’, just in case anyone thought I was making definitive statements!

      • Marius

        The big difference is that if you manage to buy a new ceramic Daytona for $12,500 today, you can easily re-sell it tomorrow for $16,000. In fact, even ten years from now, the Daytona will hold its value, and you won’t loose any money on this watch. On the pre-owned market, almost all Daytonas sell at well over their original retail price.

        On the other hand, you will definitely loose money with this Omega. I can assure you that as soon as you leave the boutique/authorized dealer, the value of this Omega will drop by at least 50%. And, if you try to sell it on the secondary market you will, most likely, take a beating of epic proportions.

        • Bfsp

          if you never sell your watch, you don’t have to worry about resale. ??

        • Gokart Mozart

          If Rolex cared about there customers they would make more of there mass produced limited production watches, rather than having them fork out over the list price for no good reason.

        • SuperStrapper

          Speaking of loose, grammar much?

    • PleaseSpellRoman4AsIV

      At least when they arrive to the Moon with this the weight difference will be less due to the smaller gravity.

      Interesting that you mention the date pointer. I personally hate ugly date windows, so for me one of the biggest attractions of this watch is the pointer.

  • Bfsp

    Just FYI, the strap is actual alligator. The reference indicates it has CITES materials, and alligator skin would be the only material to get that designation.

  • Pretty watch. Pretty thick watch. Pretty expensive watch. But a pretty watch with a history and name that will sell. I love the blue dial but I don’t bang my watches around much so a ceramic cased Speedy would be fine too.

    • Sevenmack

      Honestly, the moon phase is far more appealing aesthetically to me than the usual Speedy Professional. So it is a step up already. The thickness is no problem for me.

  • A_watches

    They have cleverly written “column wheel” next to the column wheel on the back, just in case the wearer every forgets this fact.

    • Gokart Mozart

      The column wheel writing is for the people who know nothing about watches and have a spare 10K lying about to spend on impressing other people who know nothing about watches.

      Omega should be embarrassed to highlight that on the movement.

      • A_watches

        Haha, yup agree

  • ??????

    Bad:
    1. Too big and thick. Hate the protruding caseback floating on the wrist.
    2. The finish of the dial is way below GS – check the markings and the date hand in the pic attached. IMO its underwhelming for almost 11k watch.
    3. The printed Moon looks cheap. They could have easily made it same good as in case of the gold model, considering enormous price.
    4. The machine finished movements is okay looking, but somewhat cold. Hate these stupid “hints” about the column wheel, etc.
    5. Would prefer no “0 – 15 – 29 1/2” text on the dial. Doesn’t have any sense IMO.
    6. Grossly overprices for a mass watch with machine finished parts, mediocre dial finish and printed Moon.
    Good:
    1. Super-sexy lugs, as usual with Omega.
    2. Pretty good colors.

    • Chemistman

      The indices are no way near the finishing of a GS. More similar to a tissot or mid tier Seiko. Your photo shows it all.

      Why the high price you may ask?

      “Moon”

    • kgibbs29

      To Bad: 1. I cannot help but say, that’s what she said.

    • Marius

      Excellent comment.

    • Bfsp

      5: 29 1/2 et al indicates that it is a 29.5 day moonphase disk, meaning it only needs to be reset every 10 years.

      6: Rolex uses the same or inferior manufacturing techniques. IWC notably worse. Same for JLC. How is this poor finish? You can find the same flaws you mentioned in those other brands quite easily.

      • ??????

        5. I don’t think it gives any valuable information for a long term run. Same for writing “column wheel”, “barrel 1”, “barrel 2”.
        6. Rolex is Rolex, we may like it or not, but they have the Reputation no other brand has. IWC is comparable to Omega. JLC and GS are superior in means of finishing.

  • Chemistman

    Moon moon moon moon moon… anyone feeling nauseous ? I sure am. It’s interesting how one company can milk the living sh*t out of the moon.

    Enough is enough…..

    Nice watch but this moon bs has got to stop….

    • IG

      The real moonwatches are ref. 105.012 and 145.012 with cal. 321, anything else is marketing BS and in the case of automatic movements, pure blasphemy.

  • Shinytoys

    Never gets old. Beautiful iconic watch…

  • SuperStrapper

    By 2025 there will be enough speedmasters that they can be bundled up and shot into space. The bundle will be big enough to create a slight gravity and fall into a loose orbit around Earth. And we will have a moon of moonwatches, completing the circle.

    • DanW94

      I believe you just described the blueprint for the Swiss space program.

      • IG

        Their masterplan is to swap the Moon to a giant wheel of Biver’s cheese.

      • SuperStrapper

        Will the Swiss space program be based on a US watch to return the favour? Armitron is America’s watch! (Made in China).

    • Bfsp

      Still don’t understand this complaint. Rolex currently makes over 900 variants of the Datejust.

      • SuperStrapper

        When did I complain, and what don’t you understand?

      • Gokart Mozart

        Well Rolex do only really make 1 watch, just in different sizes and water resistant ratings.

      • Chemistman

        What do you not understand ? Moon moon moon ? Moo moon ? Moon k ?

    • Chemistman

      I would be over the moon to watch all the moon watches’ moon phase mooning over earth

  • BNABOD

    Man is that thing thick and if it wear Sunday I would go along and make a stack of pancakes to celebrate the thickness God’s . Overall it is a decent look watch. The finish looks sub-par though as some have said. take a loupe to the hands, the movement, the markers and then you might be a bit disappointed. if you stay away from the loupe you will be just fine but your wallet though will be hurting for a long time. At 11Gs I want to see more better things ya know

  • MediumRB

    A lot to like, a little more not to like on this one. Technical specs are great and I like the dial layout, in theory.

  • Taz786

    Tried it on and it’s just too darned thick. One strictly for the fanboys (I personally never got the Moonwatch hype).

  • A watch that thick, that sits high on the wrist, is a magnet for door jambs. I’d go with the ceramic cased version.

  • kgibbs29

    I prefer the blue, and the overall watch, of the Big Blue Ceramic GMT.

  • Marius

    Omega is a very good brand, but, to be honest, I don’t understand the direction that the brand has recently taken.

    From a pricing perspective, Omega seems to have taken a strategy à la Girrard-Perregaux. In other words, Omega charges huge MSRPs which are then heavily discounted by the authorized dealers. The problem with this approach is that it creates a weak and soft brand image. Just try getting a discount on a steel sports Rolex! It’s practically impossible. This Omega Speedmaster retails for almost $11,000. Do you really believe that anyone would buy this watch at the full list price? Not a chance.

    From a market positioning perspective, Omega has taken a very bizzare strategy. Instead of competing with brands such as Tudor, Breitling, Grand Seiko, or Tag Heuer, Omega wants to compete with higher-end brands like IWC, JLC, or Rolex. Let’s be honest, Omega is a mass-manufacturer with an annual production that exceeds one million watches. Charging such prices as they are charging today is absolutely ridiculous because Omega has neither the exclusivity and quality of fit, finish, and decoration of JLC or GO, nor the prestige and recognition of Rolex. There is only one mass-manufacturer that can charge high prices, and this brand is Rolex.

    • Bfsp

      You’ve obviously never seen what modern Omegas look like in person compared to IWC and JLC. If you think those manufactures compete with Omega in finish, you’re kidding yourself.

      Yes, if Omega was still producing pre-coaxial watches or even the first generation, I’d agree with you; their prices would be ludicrous.

      But the new Planet Ocean compares well with the SubC date, especially when you consider price ($6000ish vs $9000ish). The Seamaster 300 compares well with the SubC no date ($6000ish vs $7500).

      Their design may not be for you, but they’re a very well made manufacture these days that does more by hand than Rolex (enamel dials, lacquer inlaid in their movements, etc).

      You also listed JLC and GS with GO, which is completely illogical. JLC starts at a much lower price point than GO. Ditto GS. GO is far above Omega.

      PS: Omega makes as fewer watches per year than Rolex. It is known.

  • Middle

    Omega should re-issue the original price points.

    • A_watches

      Lol, tribute to 2005 msrp

  • WINKS

    Omega is like a Chinese restaurant where you can choose beef, pork, chicken, prawn, etc… with a multitude of different sauces to suit your palate. Problem is Chinese cuisine isn’t considered as high-end culinary delight, therefore tend to not cost the earth…

    • Gokart Mozart

      Maybe they should also use the menu naming system, ie a number.

      Omega Moonwatch Type 357 for example would mean you could tell everybody the name without having to take a breath half way through. Nobody is going to remember the full names any way.

  • Spangles

    Ariel, how thick is this watch?

    • DanW94

      Thick as a Brick, according to Ian Anderson. Actually, it’s say about 16mm in the article, you must’ve just missed it.

      • Spangles

        I missed it! Thanks for your patience!

        16mm is a Master Brick.

  • Yanko

    Comic. I believe with watch OMEGA deliberately intended to evoke laughter. 11K. 16mm thick!!! Pure madness.

  • SPQR

    Lots of comments re Rolex, JLC, IWC etc quality comparisons, finishing on hands, handmade/machine made and so on. Rolex is a mass market brand that makes 1 million plus watches per year. Rolex is not or at least is no longer about “haute horology” if indeed Rolex ever was. The aim of Rolex was to produce in bulk the best series produced most durable watches on the market. Arguably Rolex does that (unless you put one near a magnet like a hi-if speaker in which case (barring the Milgauss and the newest AirKing to a level far lower than an Omega “Master” movement) it becomes junk until it is De-gaussed) but the “finishing” on their movements is shall we say “industrial”. Yes the dial markers are mostly applied by hand but Omega apparently inject the red enamel writing on their movements by hand and also finish dials by hand. The biggest real difference is that Rolex have huge brand recognition in certain markets but Omega have similar brand recognition in other markets though not always the same ones. As for comments handmade vs machine made well handmade does not necessarily mean better made (see Rolex, Boeing, BMW, Porsche etc) as machine made guarantees the same tolerances over and over again which for a watch is good. It guarantees time keeping, water resistance etc. Again see Rolex. I suspect very few people would want to fly across the Atlantic/Pacific in a handmade Boeing as opposed to the ones made industrially in Boeing hi-tech state of the art factory. Again see Rolex and Omega for watch making equivalents. Omega have been pushing up prices but also as pointed out by many others pushing up quality too for example with METAS testing. Rolex “Superlative Chronometer” is (apart from the COSC testing) entirely in-house. So is JLC’s 1000 Hours standard. Omega’s METAS Master Chronometer standard is not in-house. It is verified by the Swiss government department responsible for the accuracy of all weights and measures in Switzerland. The Swiss are quite concerned about precision and quality I have heard. Rolex and JLC and other watch companies with internal “quality standards” are really just setting their own standards which unsurprisingly they are able to pass. Would you let your children set their own exam pass mark? Thought not. Of course Rolex and JLC are highly respected brands that are unlikely to sell duff watches but even so their claims have not been independently verified apart from any COSC testing that is. Interestingly when Rolex introduced their “Superlative” standard all their watches complied with it immediately. Omega’s METAS Master Chronometer standard was slower to appear as METAS needed to verify testing so there was a backlog. Draw your own conclusions. Sorry for the essay but a lot of the comments here are hugely negative for some reason. Rolex make good, mass produced, luxury watches. So do Omega. Ariel’s review was really well balanced too and interesting but two points – first, the strap is definitely alligator as the PIC numbers (manufacturer code number) for the watch make clear (it is a CITES approved strap if it was Calf Leather it would not be) so the article ought to be amended to correct that, second, the moonphase disc is a structured metallic crystal disc with a photo-real moon printed on it which is very cool.

  • Yan Fin

    What a boring way to spend $ 10600. Can compete with the same priced Grand Seiko.

  • Mark1884

    I like this ??
    Looks great in blue, a nice change from black. It is a bit thick though.
    I think the price is too high.

  • Andrew Hughes

    Is over saturation a possibility for the SpeedMaster? How many watch versions have they released of this model? Just saying… (disclaimer… I want one too, but not this one! ha ha)

  • Pete L

    This is a beautiful watch but does wear very thick like the 9300 did before. It looks like it would wear thicker than my PAM due to the large sapphire caseback and I am interested to try the new non-moonphase version which Omega claims has had the rear crystal slimmed down a bit.
    Modern Omegas are definitely up there on quality but value for money is subjective. Rolex are quality but also mass produced and more expensive. Some more expensive premium brands can only wish for the fit and finish of modern Omegas.
    That blue though…….

  • Word Merchant

    Just seen the thickness of this – it’s Omega’s Scooby Snack for sure…

    I agree with many who’ve written below that close-ups don’t do Omega any favours here – the moon disc and bezel insert look a bit cheap to me, as do the dial and markings. I love the date hand with its magnifier on the platinum version mind you, that’s a fantastic detail that should be present on all the versions, and overall the watch is quite handsome – but I can’t now get the Scooby Doo theme tune out of my head.

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  • Curtis

    Can’t understand so many worries about thickness of this watch. With my eyes closed, I couldn’t tell if I’m wearing a Longines Legend Diver or this particular Speedmaster. I own a 44mm Breitling Chronomat B01 and feels really heavier.
    Precision is comparable to a quartz, no matter if you leave it on the table vertically, horizontally or wear it H24, or put in on the watch winder; it runs 3 or 4 seconds faster after 2 days.
    Finishing details in person are just beautiful, the Liquidmetal bezel is just perfect. I’ve been mistreating a blue titanium Plant Ocean for 2 years now and its big broad Liquidmetal bezel remains perfect unlike the titanium body.
    I really love this watch. Maybe the white indices and hands of the older 9300 look more Speedmasterish than the rhodium set of this one.
    By the way, I purchased mine (brand new with full guarantee and an unneeded luxury wooden box) for less than €7k from a Chrono24 dot com store in Europe, next day DHL delivery from Hungary to Spain.
    The only terrible thing I have found is that the steel bracelet of my 3 yo black 9300 Speedmaster (same watch, no moon phase) won’t fit into the lugs of this one, because the springbar holes are half a millimeter displaced towards the watch body. If Omega has a reason to do this, I can’t understand it.

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