Letting go of a grail: Why I am selling my near-perfect Omega Speedmaster Letting go of a grail: Why I am selling my near-perfect Omega Speedmaster

Letting go of a grail: Why I am selling my near-perfect Omega Speedmaster

D.C. Hannay

I never thought these words would come out of my mouth, but I am letting go of one of the holiest grails in my collection, my near-mint Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch. If you know me, you’ll know this is one of the most out of character things I have done in all my time collecting watches. I might need to lie down after this.


On the surface, it makes no sense. I have been all-in on everything space since I was a little kid, decked out in rocket jammies, space shuttle posters on the wall, the whole bit. As the bigger version of that kid, I have amassed a small collection of space-related paraphernalia, with watches that include, among others, a NASA G-Shock and a Douglas skin diver (Neil Armstrong’s weekend watch). Adding a Speedmaster Professional to the collection was practically a foregone conclusion, but after a long, hard look, I have decided to send it back into the void of the greater watch universe.

speedmaster pro rally (1)This turn of events could not be any less my style. Unlike some, I am not one to buy and sell watches on a whim. Almost everything in my collection is the result of a lot of forethought, and I can count on one hand the pieces I’ve sold. Now, I have a number of friends who are serial flippers and traders, including Time + Tide’s own Editor, Zach. But his exploits pale in comparison to one of my closest collector friends’. I am not joking when I say he flips like a line cook at the International House of Pancakes. Seriously, every time I look at his Instagram, it’s something new. But I have always utilised a more considered strategy, often taking an agonizingly long time before pulling the trigger, and this approach has served me well. Mostly. Until this.

OMEGA SPEEDMASTER SIDE DCHaving a Speedy in my stable seemed like a slam-dunk. But the sad truth is, I hardly ever wear the damn thing. And, I do not know about you, but if a watch is in the collection, it has to get worn if it’s going to stay there. As much as I was loath to admit it, the reality had finally set in that the Moonwatch was eventually going to be jettisoned from the watch box.

SPEEDMASTER PRO FRONT BACKThis Speedy was the one I considered to be near-ideal for me. It’s a 3570.50.00 circa 2008, with a manually-wound 1861 movement, “First Watch Worn on the Moon” solid caseback, and the classic Hesalite crystal. In other words, a great, wearable example, but not a crazy valuable vintage piece.

OMEGA SPEEDMASTER BOX DCWhen I acquired it, the watch was in showroom condition, boasting the full kit with box and papers. It is modern enough to be reliable, but it still has the classic Speedmaster look. And for better or worse, it is still mint, down to the razor sharp edges on those iconic lyre lugs. And then there’s that gorgeously finished bracelet. Which is where the doubt began to creep in. After the honeymoon period, I started to realise that I was only ever wearing the watch on a strap. First world problems, I know. But it seemed to be a much better, more comfortable fit for me.

OMEGA SPEEDMASTER NATOVintage-look leather was a home run, but I experimented with everything from canvas, to perforated rally straps, and even seatbelt-fabric NATOs, which, I have to say, looked rather dashing. But try as I might, I could never get a proper fit on the bracelet. Now, my wrist is by no means big and burly, but it isn’t exactly petite, either. But due to the shape of my own anatomy, the Speedy never felt truly at home on the factory bracelet. I have heard the newer Speedmaster bracelets are easier to fit, but on mine, the center of the end link sticks out, which makes it a better choice for bigger wrists. For me, It wore like a low-pitched Usionian roof, extending out further than I could ever make peace with. And what’s the point of clinging onto something if one of its main attractions is destined to stay unused in the box? It took me a long time to admit, but I finally resigned myself to the fact that this watch was never going to feel right on the lovely, yet sadly unloved bracelet.

speedmaster pro closeup (1)After that bit of soul searching, something else happened. I just stopped wearing the Speedy altogether, even on the leather. My subconscious was calling the shots now. “If you’re not going to wear the bracelet, you might as well keep the watch perfect too”. Other objections followed, questioning the wisdom of daily driving a watch with 50 metres of water resistance, along with other issues that, rational or not, hadn’t been issues before. The reasons against were starting to outweigh the reasons for. I had never second-guessed myself like this before. Certainly not over something as inconsequential in the grand scheme of things as wrist watch. As a result of my overthinking, I had managed to take the fun out of this hobby. And that was the nail in the Speedy’s coffin. Goodbye, Buzz Aldrin cosplay. Goodbye, respect and admiration of my fellow collectors. As an avowed spaceboy, this was the one watch I was supposed to own, and yet, here I was signaling to Houston that there was, indeed, a problem. But then, something else happened. I felt as if a weight had lifted off my shoulders.

Quite honestly, it was the weight of my own expectations as a ‘serious’ collector. Which I reckon I am not, at least according to some peoples’ definition. But at that moment, it hit me like the apple hitting Newton’s head. I do not collect watches for the sake of owning them, or for their long term ‘investment’ value. Everything else in my collection gets wrist time, no matter their vintage or monetary value. If a watch isn’t worn, it’s just treasure locked in a chest, unfulfilled in its potential as a tool and/or an aesthetic thing of beauty. It is the wearing that gives a watch its purpose, its raison d’être.

OMEGA SPEEDMASTER REDUCED LIFESTYLEI have a 90s Speedmaster Reduced that was pretty minty when I acquired it, and I have worn the living hell out of that thing. Y’know why? It fits me like a bespoke suit. Do I care if certain Omega collectors look down on it with snobbery and derision? I do not. It scratches my Omega itch just fine, thank you.


And I have another great mechanical chrono in the box, a vintage 806 Navitimer, which fits my wrist just right, despite having a greater lug-to-lug than the Speedy Pro. So what am I going to do once the Speedy is gone? Buy something I am going to wear, for starters. I have some definite ideas, but between you and me, I will know when I know.