Omega Speedmaster MkII Reissue
Omega for many, marks a pinnacle in fine watch collecting. To other’s that pinnacle is reserved for Rolex, or Panerai, or some other high end swiss brand but Omega has a major following, and I count myself among them. Since I first saw it, I’ve gone into the Omega Boutique to try on the MkII reissue. Something about the vintage styling in the bullhead case, the shrouded lugs, and the printed Tachy Scale (which is lumed from below, but more on that later). Before we get too deep into this, lets touch on some history:
The Speedmaster won the race to the moon in 1969 on the wrist of Buzz Aldrin (Neil had left his watch aboard the LEM). Also in that year Omega launched the Speedmaster MkII that they thought would “modernize” the model for the upcoming new decade. The watch was produced from 1969 through 1972, at that point the MkIII had been introduced and was gaining momentum. This was the beginning of a nearly twenty year long run of confusing Speedmaster MkX models. But they garnered a following and a dedicated collector-base. As a result everyone applauded the reissue of the MkII in 2014…
The Speedmaster MkII reissue is the same form factor as the vintage watch, but everything inside it had changed. Before we get into that let’s go over some specs:
The case size at 42.4mm seems small, but wears larger than you’d expect mostly due to the 46mm lug to lug, paired with the case height. I’ve always loved wearing watches with shrouded lugs, it keeps them tight and close to your wrist. The 15mm case thickness does present a hangup risk, but it’s something you can get used to wearing it.
So this is where the reissue MkII really outshines the vintage MkII. The reissue is powered by the 3330 Omega Coaxial movement. It’s using the Si14 Silicon Balance Spring, and a column wheel chronograph. The 3330 is based off of the ETA 7750, heavily heavily modified into a CoAxial escapement among many other changes. They are COSC certified and my experience has been really good with it so far. Extremely accurate and reliable, with a great 52hr (at least) power reserve. I’d expect zero issues from this piece.
Dial, Bezel, Crystal:
Once you get eyes on the business end of the MkII you’ll see what made me fall in love with this vintage inspired piece. You’ve got three subdials, a running seconds at 9, an hour counter with date at 6, and a seconds counter at 3 o’clock. The date window at six has a black background that contrasts nicely with the grey face, but not so much that it is distracting. The hands on the two chrono counter sub dials are orange so as to separate them from the traditional running seconds. This sounds confusing, but when you start reading the watch the color differences make themselves abundantly clear. The hands are lumed and very bright when charged up making them very readable. The Chrono seconds hand is massive and brightly colored orange to match the subdial hands. The crystal is flat, with extremely effective AR coatings, making it almost appear invisible. So where the MkII really shines, and what drew me to it initially was the Tachymetre is printed on a disc that sits just below the crystal. It’s lumed from below, so when you take the watch from the light to the dark it really jumps off the crystal. It’s kinda like the reverse of a sand which dial. Ultimately I find it to be extremely legible, the chronograph function perfectly with a very tactile and responsive start, stop, and reset due to the column wheel chronograph. All in all it does watch things very well.
The MkII comes on a really true to vintage steel bracelet. The links are smaller than what you’d find on a traditional “oyster” style bracelet, and they are screw together. Omega really went to great lengths to make sure that this watch was both comfortable to wear, and easy to adjust. The “drape” or the way it hangs and hugs your wrist is perfect. This is primarily due to the size of links and the smoothness that they come together.
The other thing that really stands out is the clasp. Most people are familiar with the Rolex Glidelock clasp, which allows you to adjust the clasp on the fly as your wrist swells and shrinks. Omega implemented this type of clasp into their newer watches, the MkII included. Using the clasp you get a total of 9.6mm of additional bracelet room should you need it. I’m constantly shifting around on the clasp as I go in and out of climate controlled environments.
So to reign all this in, I gotta say that the Speedmaster MkII is a really polarizing and interesting piece from Omega. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, some people really only respect the true Moonwatch from the Speedmaster lineup. It’s also on the larger side, in direct contrast to the 3570.50’s diminutive size. But if you’re someone like myself with larger wrists it wears amazingly. The bracelet is a work of art, excellent drape and customizability. The dial and timekeeping has been a real treat to experience. If I had to knock it on any criteria, I'd say that the case height makes it inclined to catch a lot bumps and dings, that is unfortunate because it's that starburst bezel that will wear those marks. Honest wear, is cool wear though... those marks are a watch's street cred. I’m not sure how long this particular model will be around, but I suggest you grabbing one if you have the chance.