3575.20 Omega Speedmaster Moonphase
If you know where to look, there’s a lot of fun and value to be had buried in Omega’s neo-vintage era Speedmasters. The 3575.20 feels like a greatest hits album comprised of some of my favorites. There’s a bit of Italian Albino, 2915 Broad Arrow, and OG ‘Speedymoon’ all going on here, Now That’s What I Call Speedmaster!, Volume 27. Despite not being limited in any way, it was only in production for three years due to poor sales from a relatively steep RRP, 2000-2003. As such, it’s not exactly rare but not Sapphire Sandwich common either. Despite having much in common with references that had come before, though, this Speedy has quite the confident and sophisticated personality of its own thanks to old Omega’s intense eye for detail.
Now, allow me to stray quite far from the narrative path for a moment. In 2015, Walmart collaborated with Pringles to make a new flavor to be exclusive to Walmart’s stores: Wasabi & Soy Sauce. Hearing this landmark announcement from a friend is a vivid memory for me, as an enthusiast of both wasabi almonds and a classic Pringle. Filled with anticipation, I could not drive to the land of depressing modern American retail any more quickly. I popped the can open before even reaching the self checkout. The chip was a revelation. The flavor wasn’t the BS horseradish you get in many cheap sushi restaurants, they had actually nailed the wasabi plant flavor as if Pringles execs frequented Nobu. They probably do, but it was shocking to find it translated to chip flavoring so elegantly. It felt a classier snack than the collaborative branding would suggest. This was a small run that few remember, but a significant elevation to a classic snack.
Rewind to Omega in 2000. Despite having the aesthetic of a Speedmaster, very little remains the same. Somewhat bizarrely, its bezel is in 18k white gold, which does give a slight warm contrast to the steel case. The moonphase disc is 18k yellow gold. Hands and indices are blued steel. And its dial is not white, more a sort of very bright ivory that matches the bezel. There’s something about white dial Speedmaster that just works, an unexpected but unusually successful design change in almost all variants. The calibre inside is an 1866, an 1861 with a few modules on top for added complication. This is the Wasabi & Soy Sauce Speedmaster, just that slight bit more elevated because someone knew what they were doing and tried very, very hard to push the classic Speedy recipe up a level. If you’re like me, it might even bring tears to your eyes just the same as the snack. And just like the Pringles, it was a brief supernova of excellence, now entirely forgotten. At least you can still find these, still cheap as chips. Cue small violins.
This example appears to be in great shape, dial and hands. It’s Luminova era, so not much to worry about for patina. Really it’s just the case that you’d want to give a close inspection to, and this one looks sharp from the images. No idea if it’s full set or not, not mentioned in the listing, but it’s the sort of watch you probably want to get with the accoutrements (neo rather than actual vintage). It comes from a well-regarded Thailand-based retailer, quite reasonably priced.