First manufactured in 1959, the Omega Speedmaster secured its place in history by being the first watch to be worn on the moon.
The Speedmaster is so named because the bezel and seconds hand serve as a tachymetre, enabling you to calculate the speed of a moving object/person. The only drawback with this is that the aforementioned object/person needs to be timed over a distance of exactly one kilometre, which is easier said than done.
Of course, most people don’t buy a Speedmaster for its tachymetre; they buy it for its looks, reliability and history. Barring a number of special editions, the basic design has remained virtually unchanged for the past fifty years. Just compare the Speedmaster in the advert above – which I managed to find in a 1969 copy of National Geographic – with the 2010 model below.
The Speedmaster in the picture below is known as the Reduced. It’s not as big as the Speedmaster Professional, which makes it ideal for those with smaller wrists. It also sports a different internal mechanism.
This particular model is fitted with a sapphire, rather than hesalite (shatterproof plastic), crystal. In other words, it’s scratchproof.
In terms of accuracy, well, I’ve been wearing this watch for several months now and it runs about five-seconds-a-day fast. From what I’ve read about the Reduced, this isn’t too bad at all. It certainly isn’t a great inconvenience to pull the crown out every now and then to set the time against a radio-controlled clock.
One final point: although the Speedmaster is an automatic you might need to manually wind it every few days if, like me, your job involves many hours with your wrists resting on the edge of a keyboard.