Ah, the Speedmaster — Omega’s crowning glory, the first watch to reach the surface of the moon, the Moonwatch. Generations after its conception, the Omega Speedmaster remains a truly historic timepiece and an incredibly popular name in the industry. That is why it has inspired so many other iterations, made not only for the moon, but also for Earth and its many faces. That said, forget about the Speedmaster X-33 Regatta, the Speedmaster Racing, and the Speedmaster Moonphase. Today, we will be taking a close-up look at none other than the Omega Speedmaster Reduced.
Omega Speedmaster Reduced: Quick Specs
Case Diameter: 39 mmCase Material: Stainless steelBezel: Tachymetric scaleDial: Black with luminous hour markersMovement: Automatic caliberFunctions: Central running seconds; 12-hour chronographBracelet: Steel or leather strap
What is the Omega Speedmaster Reduced?
The Omega Speedmaster Reduced has been gaining popularity in the past few years, and rightfully so. One interesting thing about this Omega watch is that it often gets mistaken for the brand’s more popular flagship model, the Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch. It is an easy mistake to make. Though there are differences between the two models, which we will go through in greater detail later, they do also share a few similarities.
For instance, both Speedmaster pieces have the same jet-black dial with three chronograph counters located at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock. Their bezels are also similar, with both having tachymeters marked on the black scales. In fact, a lot of online sellers even bait those looking for an affordable Speedmaster Professional with a photo of what is actually a Speedmaster Reduced.
What makes matters even more confusing is that some people might know the Omega Speedmaster Reduced by the “Moonwatch” nickname too. This confusion stems from the fact that Omega now refers to all Speedmaster watches as Moonwatches, thanks to the original Speedmaster’s legendary feat of being the first watch on the moon. But the matter is not that simple.
Most professionals actually agree that while the Omega Speedmaster Reduced is an extremely nice Speedmaster model, it does not, strictly speaking, qualify as a Moonwatch. This is because, unlike the Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch, the Omega Speedmaster Reduced is not suited for the lunar surface, or for space at all. Despite Omega’s recent naming conventions, not all Speedmaster timepieces can truly be considered “Moonwatches”, and that applies to the Omega Speedmaster Reduced too.
History of the Omega Speedmaster Reduced
Omega released the Speedmaster Reduced in 1988. The Swiss company marketed this watch as a smaller and much more affordable version of its flagship Speedmaster Professional model. It is just one of the pieces that Omega launched as part of a bigger Speedmaster collection.
As mentioned, the Omega Speedmaster Reduced is smaller than the Speedmaster Professional. As befitting its “Reduced” name, this watch has a case that measures just 39mm in diameter, slimmer than the Speedmaster Professional’s 42mm case. In fact, the Omega Speedmaster Reduced is one of the smallest watches in the Speedmaster collection. For comparison, the Speedmaster X-33 watches have oversized 45mm cases, while the Speedmaster Racing and Moonphase both come in 42.25mm cases.
Notable Omega Speedmaster Reduced Models
The Omega Speedmaster Reduced was in production for 20 years. Those two decades inspired a variety of models. Firstly, you have the Omega Speedmaster Reduced Ref. 3510.50.00. This model, which comes in a stainless steel case and either a matching stainless steel bracelet or a leather strap, is the one that most closely resembles the Speedmaster Professional. It also showcases a stark black dial, bezel, and no date aperture. You can also find models in solid yellow gold as well as a two-tone model, the Omega Speedmaster Reduced Ref. DA175.0032. The Omega Speedmaster Reduced DA175.0032 is made from a gorgeous blend of yellow gold and stainless steel.
Bracelets are also indicative of the different iterations you can get for this watch. As you might have guessed from above, the brand offers the Speedmaster Reduced with either steel bracelets or leather straps. In addition to all those, you can find Omega Speedmaster Reduced models with different dial colors. Some of the most daring designs for this watch show off brightly-colored dials in hues of yellow, blue, and green with racing details and aesthetics. Panda dials also exist in the Speedmaster Reduced universe, although they are not common. Some Omega Speedmaster Reduced pieces also feature dials with racing checkers.
You can also expect to find Omega Speedmaster Reduced watches with a variety of different complications, such as date apertures, perpetual calendars, day-date windows, and even a moon phase version. That said, when it comes to the overall design of the Speedmaster Reduced, Omega’s hands are tied. The concept of the Omega Speedmaster Reduced demands that it mirrors the Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch, just on a smaller scale. As such, most Omega Speedmaster Reduced watches have the same chronograph layout with three-subdials, which you can also find on the Speedmaster Professional.
In later years, Omega also made a small but very significant improvement to the Speedmaster Reduced. Previous Omega Speedmaster Reduced watches were equipped with Hesalite crystals. From the Omega Speedmaster Reduced Ref. 3539.50.00 onwards, however, the brand decided to upgrade to a sapphire crystal, which is more scratch-resistant. The dial was also slightly redesigned.
The Automatic Omega Speedmaster Reduced
If there is one thing that sets the Omega Speedmaster Reduced apart from the Speedmaster Professional, it would be the movement that powers it. Traditionally, the Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch has a manually-wound caliber. This means it needs to be wound every once in a while to keep it running. Omega turned this around by giving the Speedmaster Reduced an automatic movement. An automatic caliber winds itself using the kinetic energy from the movement of the wearer’s hand. This is the reason why many people also call the Speedmaster Reduced the Speedmaster Automatic.
The Omega Speedmaster Reduced found itself in the spotlight with a number of different automatic movements. When it was first introduced in 1988, it carried the Caliber 1140. Then, in 1996, Omega changed the movement that powered the watch to the Caliber 1141. In the same year, this movement was replaced by the Caliber 1143, and finally, in 2000, Omega upgraded to the Caliber 3220.
That said, regardless of all the different movement names, these are all virtually identical calibers, based on the time-only ETA 2892-A2 base movement. Only the most advanced Omega Caliber 3220 stands out for having a extended 40-hour power reserve. Omega also upgraded each of these movements with the Debois Dépraz 2020 chronograph module, to facilitate chronograph functions in the Omega Speedmaster Reduced.
The use of this automatic movement gave the Omega Speedmaster Reduced a rather different look. On the dial, you will notice that the three sub-dials are spread out quite far apart from each other. These registers are set so distantly from each other that they are almost touching the minute track on the outer rim of the dial. This is yet another distinction between the Reduced and Professional watches. Since the Speedmaster Professional uses a different, manual-winding caliber, its sub-dials are placed much closer together, at the center of the dial.
On the dial of the Omega Speedmaster Reduced is the inscription of the word “AUTOMATIC”, while the word “PROFESSIONAL” sits on the Speedmaster Professional. This denotes the difference in the movement that powers each watch. We will discuss more differences between the two models in a moment.
Discontinuing the Omega Speedmaster Reduced
Omega created the Speedmaster Reduced to give people the experience of wearing a Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch for a lot less. This niche made Speedmaster Reduced quite popular in the market. It also gained much praise for its practicality and convenience, as evidenced by the self-winding movement that powers the Omega Speedmaster Reduced.
In 2009, Omega announced that it would be discontinuing the production of the Speedmaster Reduced. However, this does not mean that Omega no longer created smaller Speedmaster watches. For instance, the brand started to offer the modern-day Speedmaster 38 Co-Axial Chronograph after the Speedmaster Reduced stopped production. Regardless, the discontinuation of the Omega Speedmaster Reduced led to it becoming a staple in the second-hand market. It is especially popular amongst women and men who do not want oversized 45mm Speedmaster watches.
Omega Speedmaster Professional vs Speedmaster Reduced
As mentioned, there are a few stark differences between the Speedmaster Professional and the Speedmaster Reduced. Firstly, at 38.5mm, the Omega Speedmaster Reduced is a lot smaller and easier on the wrist than the 42mm Speedmaster Professional. Despite its slender build, the Omega Speedmaster Reduced is still quite a good fit for many men, since many vintage-inspired watches also carry this size. For instances, you frequently see men donning military watches that measure between 38mm to 40mm in size.
Aside from the movement of the watches being different, there is also a noticeable increase in the number of jewels on the Speedmaster Reduced. The Speedmaster Reduced has a total of 47 jewels, thanks to the add-on chronograph model on the Omega Caliber 3220, compared to the 26 jewels on the Speedmaster Professional’s Omega Caliber 3861.
If you are looking for a more visible difference, direct your eyes to the flanks of the two watches. Because of the larger size of the automatic movement, looking at the Omega Speedmaster Reduced from the side will show that the pushers and crown are not aligned. The pushers sit high, near the top of the watch, while the crown sits much lower and is closer to the case back. In contrast, the Speedmaster Professional’s crown and pushers are all located near the top of the watch.
The comparisons between the two models have led even tiny details to become points of discussion amongst avid watch collectors. Some people even obsess over characteristics such as the look of the lugs, which makes up yet another difference between the two models. The Speedmaster Professional boasts sharp and refined lugs that just exude luxury. The Speedmaster Reduced’s lugs, on the other hand, are not quite as sharp or defined, with a less gleaming polish. Despite their poorer lustre, however, the lugs of the Omega Speedmaster Reduced work just fine, especially for its price range.
There are also more differences to be found in the dials of the two models. As mentioned, the sub-dials in the Omega Speedmaster Reduced are located very far apart, almost touching the minute indices, as opposed to the Speedmaster Professional which has its dials clustered together. In addition, the running seconds counter sits on the right side of the Omega Speedmaster Reduced, as opposed to sitting on the left of the Speedmaster Professional’s dial.
Pricing of the Omega Speedmaster Professional vs Speedmaster Reduced
Finally, the price is the main difference between the two models. If you are offered an Omega Speedmaster Professional for a lot less than its usual retail or pre-owned market price, then you might want to check the model more carefully. You will probably end up receiving an Omega Speedmaster Reduced in the mail instead of a true Professional Moonwatch.
As such, keep in mind the following price points and make sure you are not getting ripped off. An Omega Speedmaster Professional with a Hesalite crystal retails at approximately $5,350 USD. You can get this for $3,500 to $4,000 USD if pre-owned. Meanwhile, the Omega Speedmaster Reduced used to retail at $2,550 USD. Since it has been discontinued, it is now only available on the second-hand market. You can bring pre-owned versions of the Omega Speedmaster Reduced home for around $1,500 USD to $2,000 USD.
Which Speedmaster Watch to Buy?
At the end of the day, it all depends on your goal and budget. A new collector would typically start with the Omega Speedmaster Reduced because it is a lot more affordable. However, if you have the budget for a luxurious Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch, then let nothing stop you. Ultimately, both watches have their merits and each is a worthy option for collection. Make a smart choice and think about the practicality of owning one or both.
The Moonwatch Within Reach
The Omega Speedmaster Reduced is a watch that will never be forgotten. This watch carries history on its back with its iconic Speedmaster name, while also achieving its goal of making the Speedmaster more accessible for everyone. It might not be a Moonwatch but it certainly is a step closer to one.
All photos courtesy of Omega.