The Speedmaster might be one of the most iconic chronographs ever made. I would even go a step further and say that it’s one of the most well-known and most popular watches available.
The Speedmaster jumped to mainstream success when NASA selected the watch for their first mission to the moon, the Apollo 11 mission. The watch has been widely popular ever since.
2021 brought us a new Speedmaster Professional with many impressive and even more hidden upgrades. The Speedmaster has had many variations and countless limited and special editions over time, but the Professional has always been a fan favorite.
The Speedmaster Pro is the modern iteration of the watch that was worn on Apollo 11 in 1969. The Professional is often referred to as the Moonwatch, but what makes a Pro a Pro?
All Moonwatches are Speedmaster, but not all Speedmasters are Moonwatches. What’s the difference, and what should we look for?
Let’s make one thing clear: despite what the name claims, the Pro is not ‘better’ than any other Speedmaster, nor is a regular version ‘worse’ than a Pro.
The Pro is based on the original Moonwatch, and is usually slightly larger than other models. Other models of the Speedmaster follow their own philosophy, while still carrying the very visible Speedmaster DNA.
The biggest difference is in the movement and the crystal. Most modern Speedmasters have an automatic movement and a sapphire crystal, the pro has a hand wound movement and a hesalite or sapphire crystal.
‘But an automatic movement is more convenient than a hand wound movement, and a sapphire crystal is way stronger than hesalite, why does the Pro have these features?’ The reason why is simple: the original Speedmaster that went to the moon had a hand wound movement and a hesalite crystal. The Die-Hard-Moonwatch fans only want to wear the closest thing to the original. Even though a hand wound movement requires more work and hesalite can break more easily, this watch is made for the true enthusiasts.
The true enthusiasts got some great news in 2020. Caliber 321 was the movement that powered the Speedmaster that was approved by NASA. Sadly, Omega discontinued the legendary caliber after 1969.
In 2020, Omega announced that the new professional models will be powered with a modern, updated caliber 321. This means that the enthusiasts can finally get a real modern take on their beloved watch, closer to the 1969 original than ever.