Let’s get one thing straight – the new “First Omega In Space” Speedmaster that you see above is awesome. It was released this March at Basel World and it really looks the part of vintage Speedmasters. Based on the Reference 2998 worn by Astronaut Wally Schirra into space aboard the Mercury Atlas 8 mission in October of 1962, this watch seeks to, and I believe succeeds in, capturing the hearts of all those watch fans out there that think of the vintage Speedmasters as the quintessential watch (seriously, ask anybody, even those guys with the Voutilainens and Pateks what the greatest watch ever made was, and there is a good chance they’ll say the 1960’s Speedmaster).
This limited edition watch of 1962 pieces is sized at 39.7mm, comes with a commemorative box, and most importantly, does not have crown guards. The early Speedmasters, like the early Submariners, had nothing protecting the crown in their original iterations, and it is these early examples that collectors go crazy for. I couldn’t be more pleased that Omega noticed this, and in the production of this watch, decided to remain true to Schirra’s 2998 Speedmaster.
But, on some of the more nerdy vintage watch forums, you’ll see people complaining that Omega got the register hands wrong – that reference 2998 Speedmasters had all “leaf” hands for the registers. And certainly, many of the more well known reference 2998 Speedmaster did indeed have leaf hands, that looked liked this. But, what people don’t understand is that there are different sub-reference of the 2998 Speedmaster, and the watch that Schirra wore into space was actually a later reference 2998 (either -5 or -6) and the register hands were simple, straight pointers, not leafs as many believe. See Schirra’s actual watch below: