There’s probably no telling just how many times I’ve seen the debate about in-house vs. generic movements resurface over and over. Save for people tirelessly pontificating about the superiority of their preferred brand or country of manufacture, there’s hardly any other “usual suspect” among forum topics that’s more off-putting.
Unless I see the discussion head in a direction so wrong, that it hurts to know that it’s still going on, I don’t even chime in any longer.
The killjoys are annoying all the same. Someone buys a new watch, posts it on a forum, and gets replies like “blah, another ETA.” Why on Earth would that be a reason to belittle a watch?
Unless a manufacturer claims that, say, a Soprod with a rotor skeletonized by them is an in-house movement, it’s no reason at all. Well, even if that’s the case, it’s only a reason to debate the ethics of the manufacturer. The watch itself, price tag and marketing not included, is hardly a variable in this equation.
Most of the debate stems from an erroneous notion, that in this particular case, everything’s so black and white sort of clear. This one’s generic, this one’s in-house, and there’s nothing else it could be.
Ummm, no. Wrong.
During all the time I’ve spent at watch forums, I’ve encountered quite a lot of questions concerning the Speedmaster.
Most just keep repeating, so I’ve decided to create a short guide to them (well, to some of them).
- Can the running seconds be hacked on a Speedmaster Pro?
- What’s the deal with the NASA’s approval for the Speedmaster’s use for space flights and EVA (extravehicular activity)?
- Can a Speedmaster be taken swimming?
- Where to service a vintage Speedmaster, at Omega or an independent watchmaker?
- Which is a better choice, the sapphire crystal version, or the hesalite?
- Is it OK to pay more than the manufacturer’s suggested retail price for a limited edition?
Whenever I’m checking the forums, I constantly encounter posts implying that the size of a watch determines it as a ladies’ or gents’ watch. Or, for that matter, that a 36 or 38mm watch will be “too small.” When I see that, I can’t help but laugh, especially when it comes to vintage watches.
When I try to get to the bottom of people’s concerns, the main reason behind it all seems to be fashion.
First of all, with vintage watches fashion is at best a redundant concept. Realistically, also a noxious one, which gives you hardly anything but discomfort. Yes, it takes the comfort of applying the bigger picture of vintage watches in general to what we wear, and gives absolutely nothing in return.
Well, maybe it does – it gives fashionistas, who so selflessly provide a sharp contrast to the WIS, and the WIS making the killjoys scuttle is beyond enjoyable a view.
“But 30mm is a ladies’ watch size”, some write in tons of angry posts, willingly or unwillingly being the killjoys to the happy new owners of vintage watches. Ummm, no. It isn’t, and it never really was. Why?
Many vintage watches have radium lume on the dial and in the watch hands. It’s a big part of the overall appearance and the charm of these vintage watches. Especially when the lume has changed into that attractive vintage yellow/brown color.
However, all over the internet are scary stories about radium, radioactivity, and the potential dangers.
Is radium lume really that dangerous or is it a tempest in a teapot?
In 1959, the short-lived (2 years in production) original Speedmaster reference, the CK 2915, got something of a makeover. The result was the reference CK 2998, currently the second most desirable vintage Speedmaster.
Powered by the calibre 321, it was – just as the 2915 – intended as a watch for drivers (racing drivers included), and marketed as such.
With its dashboard instruments inspired dial, clean and uncluttered, it was a very appealing design. Appealing enough to a US Navy pilot, captain Walter Schirra, who in 1959 became a part of NASA’s very first manned space flight program, the Project Mercury.
In 1962, Schirra’s own CK 2998 accompanied him on an almost 10 hours of the Mercury-Atlas 8 mission, when aboard the Sigma 7 Schirra orbited the Earth 6 times.