The high-profile launch of the so-called “MoonSwatch” last spring — a collaborative project between mass-market Swatch and luxury-market Omega — has inspired a whole new audience of young watch enthusiasts to discover one of the most iconic Omega watches, the Speedmaster Professional, and in all likelihood has sparked in many an aspirational interest in owning an honest-to-goodness Omega rather than a Swatch-made replica (albeit a really cool one). The good news is that the price of admission to at least the entry level of one of the world’s most collectible watch brands is not as high as one might expect from the accolades it receives from knowledgeable and well-heeled watch enthusiasts. Keeping in mind the average price range of an Omega watch, from $5,200 and $7,150 (we looked it up), here we showcase seven affordable men’s watches from Omega, all falling well below our self-imposed ceiling of $6,000, all with mechanical movements.
Omega De Ville Prestige Co-Axial Chronometer 39.5mm ($3,350)
Price: $3,350, Reference: 418.104.22.168.03.004, Case Size: 39.5mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 30 meters, Movement: Automatic Omega 2500
Omega introduced the De Ville initially as part of the Seamaster line in 1960, and by 1967 had spun it off as its own collection, characterized by its more streamlined design and elegant character. In 1999, a De Ville became the first Omega watch equipped with a co-axial movement and in 2007 the De Ville Hour Vision model ushered in a new era of in-house calibers for Omega, showcasing the new automatic Caliber 8500. The modern-day De Ville family encompasses models for both men and ladies; the most affordable male-targeted version is this reference in steel, with a blue sunburst dial hosting applied Roman numerals at the 10-minute marks and cabochons for the remaining hour indexes. A set of golden feuille hands tell the time while a date is displayed at 6 o’clock. The watch comes on a blue alligator leather strap and houses the automatic, COSC-certified Caliber 2500, based on the ETA 2892-A2.
Omega Constellation Co-Axial Chronometer 35mm ($4,400)
Price: $4,400, Reference: 22.214.171.124.01.002, Case Size: 35mm, Lug Width: 23mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 100 meters, Movement: Automatic Omega 2500
At 35mm in steel, this watch from the Constellation collection is unisex in its dimensions but undeniably masculine in its design, with its solid steel bezel anchored on the sides by the emblematic “claws” first introduced on the Constellation models of 1982 and bearing engraved Roman numerals hour numerals that align with the indexes on the black dial. Beneath the scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, the dial features a subtle Clous de Paris pattern underpinning the dauphine hands and 3 o’clock date window. The case’s faceted lugs flow into an integrated steel bracelet that fastens with a push-button clasp. The COSC-certified, ETA-based Caliber 2500 ticks behind the clear sapphire caseback,
Omega Speedmaster 38 Co-Axial Master Chronometer 38mm ($4,750)
Price: $4,750, Reference: 3126.96.36.199.06.001, Case Size: 38mm, Lug Width: 18mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 100 meters, Movement: Automatic Omega 3330
While many models in the recently launched Speedmaster 38 series have been designed with women in mind, this version of the “mini Moonwatch” with a grey dial, orange highlights including the central stopwatch seconds hand, and buttery brown Novo Nappa leather strap, will appeal to gents with slimmer wrists as well. The slightly downsized stainless steel watch features the same curving lugs, pump-style chronograph pushers, and tachymeter-scale bezel ring (here in aluminum) as the mainline Moonwatch, but its subtle differences include the oval-bordered subdials for chronograph minutes and hours and running seconds as well as a circular window at 6 o’clock for the date. Driving all these functions, behind the solid caseback adorned with a seahorse medallion, is Omega’s self-winding co-axial Caliber 3300, based on the ETA-built Longines L688.2 and offering a 52-hour power reserve.
Omega Seamaster Railmaster Co-Axial Master Chronometer 40mm ($4,900)
Price: $4,900, Reference: 188.8.131.52.03.001, Case Size: 40mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 150 meters, Movement: Automatic Omega 8806
Launched in 1957 alongside the Speedmaster and the first “professional” Seamaster, Omega’s Railmaster was, as its name implies, a watch designed to be worn by railroad workers working around heavy electrical fields, and boasted a high level of magnetic field resistance for its era. Omega resurrected the Railmaster as part of the Seamaster collection in its 60th anniversary year of 2017 and introduced the even sportier “denim” version, with a blue-jeans-inspired dial and matching NATO strap, in 2018. The watch’s large triangular hour markers are surrounded by an on-theme railway minute track and accompanied by Arabic numerals at 3, 6, 9, and 12. The luminous hour and minute hands and contrasting orange seconds hand sweep over the vertically brushed dial with its retro crosshairs motif. Inside the steel case, behind the Seamaster collection’s hallmark Naiad-locked caseback, is Omega’s Master Chronometer Caliber 8806, whose its attributes include the 15,000-gauss magnetic resistance that makes the modern Railmaster a worthy successor to its ancestor.
Omega Seamaster Diver 300M Co-Axial Chronometer 42mm ($5,100)
Price: $5,100, Reference: 184.108.40.206.10.001, Case Size: 42mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 300 meters, Movement: Automatic Omega 8800
The Seamaster Diver 300M series made its debut in 1993 and shortly thereafter achieved cinematic glory as the go-to watch of superspy James Bond. Now available in dozens of colorways and executions, this stylish tool watch can be had for just over $5,000 in a stainless steel case on a sporty rubber strap. The case’s unidirectional bezel has a scalloped edge for easy gripping and a ceramic insert with a white enamel scale to set dive times; its 300-meter water resistance is ensured by a screw-down crown and enhanced with a helium release valve. The green dial, also made of ceramic, hosts a laser-engraved wave pattern and skeletonized hands. Despite the model’s extreme water resistance, Omega has managed to install a sapphire crystal caseback, offering a view of the automatic, co-axial Caliber 8800.
Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional Chronograph 42mm ($5,350)
Price: $5,350, Reference: 3220.127.116.11.01.005, Case Size: 42mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 50 meters, Movement: Manual-wind Omega 1861
The Omega Speedmaster is not only the first watch on the moon; it’s also often the first “serious watch” in a budding connoisseur’s collection, and the standard “Moonwatch” reference on a bracelet retails new for under $5,500, making it one of the most accessible icon watches on the current market. Best of all for traditionalists, the contemporary version of the watch is still more or less identical to the one that Buzz Aldrin rocked on the Apollo 11 mission more than 50 years ago, with a 42mm steel case, a hesalite crystal over the tricompax dial, luminous hands and hour markers, and the trendsetting tachymeter-scale bezel that speaks to the Speedy’s origins as a watch for auto racing. It’s even equipped with a modern version of the hand-wound movement that powered the original, Omega Caliber 1861, with a 3Hz frequency and a 48-hour power reserve. With this reference, Omega takes the adage “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” to heart.
Omega Speedmaster Anniversary Series Chronograph 39.7mm ($5,300)
Price: $5,300, Reference: 318.104.22.168.01.001, Case Size: 39.7mm, Lug Width: 19mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 50 meters, Movement: Manual-wind Omega 1861
Even before an Omega Speedmaster attained historic “Moonwatch” status in 1969, another Speedmaster had already established itself as the First Omega in Space, worn on the wrist of astronaut Wally Schirra when he orbited the Earth in the 1962 “Sigma 7” mission. Omega resurrected that watch in 2016, staying faithful to its 39.7mm dimensions (more modest than those of the Moonwatch), its straight lugs with thin bevels, lack of crown guards, and its use of the relief-engraved seahorse emblem on the caseback. The Alpha-shaped hands and applied Omega logo at 12 o’clock are also features drawn from pre-1969 Speedmasters. The manually wound Caliber 1861 beats inside, as in the current-production Moonwatch, representing the most up-to-date evolution of the Lemania-based Caliber 321 that powered the vintage models. The brown leather strap with contrast stitching completes the package.
Join the Conversation
The ‘Moonwatch’ Speedmaster is the most iconic Omega, but the Seamaster collection with its Diver 300 (among others…) is the most accomplished and versatile one.
One small question though for Teddy B, or a reader: why does movement 8900 fit in the Aqua Terra (41 mm case) but not in the Diver 300 (42 mm case)? Other way around, why is the case of the Diver 300 ‘so big’, when the same 8800 movement fits in the Planet Ocean 39,5 mm ? Thanks !
The more I see that green 300M the more I want it.