My Goldilocks Omega Is Out there—And It’s Not A Speedmaster!
I have a confession I need to get off my chest. It’s been too long since I’ve carried around a guilty conscience, and you’ll let me have it in the comments if I deserve it. I am coming up to my second anniversary in a couple of months—two years of being a Fratello Editor without a Speedmaster. But, Moonwatch or not, I’m still looking at Omegas and might have found the one that fits me. Spoiler: It isn’t a sports watch or even a chronograph.
Wearing a Speedmaster is not part of the Fratello contract, but I miss the #speedytuesday kinship, and it’s not the first time I’ve written about this, either. Am I procrastinating for a reason, or am I just too picky? Maybe I should ask RJ to draw a reference from a hat to decide which one to save up for. I don’t know, but if you’re in my shoes, you can view this as therapy narrated in the style of Goldilocks. Feel free to help me conclude in the comments; I’m notoriously fickle, but I do have a go. The tale of Goldilocks ensues.
This Speedmaster is too expensive
This looks like a rocky start, but stay with me as I make you roll your eyes with my luxury problems, proving just how picky I am. I found the Speedmaster for me, and the new bracelet design and minor tweaks have renewed its status as simply a great sports watch. The thing is, my favorite is the Canopus Gold Omega Speedmaster Master Chronometer. It might look like everyday brushed steel, but I was done for once I felt the weight on my wrist.
The silver-grey dial makes it that much sharper to me than the black dial Moonwatch, and the feel of the white gold alloy is frankly delicious in its stealth-wealth glamor. But I haven’t got €50,000+, so I might as well give up unless I sell everything. That’s not happening. Still, this is the one with everything going for it, and that weighty feel is unlike anything else. The Caliber 3861 is sublime, but I want it in this white gold model, which is unreachable.
This Speedmaster is too scratched-up
My Speedmaster alternative number two is at the other end of the scale price-wise, the 1957 “replica” Broad Arrow. Prices are slowly rising, and the brushed steel bezel references 3594.50 or 3551.50.00 with the caliber 3303 are now between €4-€5,000. I remember when they were like €3K, but the thing is, their reputation as great tool watches makes them as plentiful as they are dinged and scratched up. I’m a perfectionist, and obviously, I’ll stay clear of any re-brushed or retouched ones. So that makes this a veritable Broad Arrow minefield. I love this Speedy for its no-nonsense tool chic, and I’d want to give it my own (preferably minimal) scratches. I have looked many times, but it seems a lost cause.
This Diver’s watch is too big for my puny wrist
Yes, I adore the mythical Ploprof. I still have a weak spot for diver’s watches, big brutes wearing their hearts on their sleeves. But there’s a limit even if I have returned to team big tool watches this summer. My two faves are the inimitable Ploprof, which I adore for its hulking presence, and the mad Ultra Deep. With the release of the scintillating blue 75th Anniversary version this summer, the Ploprof legend only got better. And the steel case is back, O-mega steel, scratch-proof and all. But at CHF 12,500, it’s a bit much for a summer watch, as my big tool watches tend to be seasonal. It is also way big, but a tool grail nonetheless, and one of my all-time favorite Omegas—a refreshed monobloc legend.
Is this my Goldilocks Omega?
I promise this is not the result of jumping on the integrated-bracelet bandwagon. It’s a moment of self-realization. Unless I inherit a ton of money or team up with some gangsters for a heist, my next Omega has to be affordable. So I am looking for a good deal, and except for Nacho’s vintage Seamaster, which I keep coming back to, I have surprised myself by looking at neo-vintage Constellations on Chrono 24. I’ll blame older articles by RJ and Jorg for this (as well as my age). You see, I remember the 80s/90s power of the Constellation, Omega’s then top-tier player. Now its charms have crept up on me and won’t let go. The early eighties Manhattan, or the 36mm post-Manhattan Constellation ’95, would be perfect. Well, before they got all chunky with the Double Eagle.
The Eagles have tempting Co-Axial movements rather than ETA-based hearts, but to me, they’re a touch too bold and sporty. And you know I’m no movement snob; I’m more about the piece’s condition and proof of servicing. With all the risks involved (neo-vintage) is still vintage, but I’ll take my chances.
€2K for a sweet-sized three-hander, or go chrono?
I prefer the elegant time-only models; those slim bezel-clamping claws and polarizing Roman numerals look much better to me with a clean dial. But then again, a black-dial Omega chronograph still speaks to me. Price-wise, good automatic Constellations seem to be hovering around the €1,800-2,500 mark. That is pretty good value and about half a decent Broad Arrow Speedy, although a completely different vibe. But with me moving away from big tool watches (except for during summer), it is mighty tempting. To me, the bracelet is very appealing, the clean look of those big flat links with the enticing slim pins holding them together. In the two-tone models, it even underlines the design while still being understated. I must have a thing for this design, as I also love the Breitling rouleaux bracelets. With this in mind, have a guilty-pleasure crush on the two-tone Constellation with the gold dial.
So unless the perfectly priced near-NOS ref. Big Arrow all-steel Speedy pops up for a ridiculous sum; my next Omega is a Constellation. There, I said it, it won’t be a Speedmaster. Feel free to berate me in the comments, but that’ll be like water off a duck’s back. The two-tone might be taking it too far, but a 36mm with a dark dial and a service can be found for €2K. Currently, my Goldilocks Constellation is the ’95, especially the blue-dialed ref. 1502.40. That diamond-patterned dial speaks to me, and I’m ok with those small lacquer-filled Roman numerals on the bezel. The Manhattan might be an angular grail, but for choice and accessibility, the Constellation ’95 is for me. Will I end up with one of these rather than a French rectangle this year?
Stop the presses; I tried on a 300M
This tale has a last-minute twist, as I visited an AD on Saturday. Like Nacho, I occasionally enjoy The Grey Nato podcast, where Jason Heaton keeps mentioning the white ceramic dial 300M. Yes, it is unusually crisp and fits me exceedingly well on that soft rubber. So much so that I almost walked out of the boutique with it!
But I already have a great modern diver, so I’m willing to bet money on a Constellation being on my wrist before Christmas. As a tool watch, the crisp-as-fresh snow 300m is a great proposal, but for around €6K, I’ll find a Broad Arrow with a NOS pedigree. So I’ll leave this last paragraph as an inconclusive afterthought; that slinky integrated nineties bracelet is definitely for me. It will probably be mine before a Cartier or Reverso finds its way onto my wrist, which was this year’s big plan. But that is all part of the joy of collecting.
Fratelli, let me hear your thoughts in the comments. Am I too picky, inconsistent, or a contrarian, as always? My Speedy procrastination might be an excuse to relive the glitzy 80s and 90s through a Constellation, let’s be honest.