Our love of the old and aged is pretty well apparent, evinced by the vintage watches that grace our inventory. But we'll also plead the case for modern iterations of classic watches, especially if they uphold the standards of the old. There's no better example of this than the Omega Speedmaster. Whether vintage or new, a Speedmaster looks and feels like a Speedmaster. And the fact that astronauts still use Speedmasters in space says something about the endurance of the model.
The Speedmaster was introduced in 1957 as Omega's answer to the sporting chronographs produced by Heuer and Breitling. Omega, as official timekeeper to the Olympic Games, intended the Speedmaster for use as a sports and racing chronograph. But history--and NASA--thought otherwise. The Speedmaster entered horological history as the first watch to be flight-qualified by NASA for manned space missions, the first watch worn in a spacewalk by an American astronaut, and the first watch worn on the moon. It's this latter fact that's most associated with the Speedmaster, leading post-1969 references to be dubbed the "Moonwatch."
Many rare and limited editions of the Moonwatch followed. The one that we have here, the ref. 3572.50, is a special version of the standard Speedmaster Professional featuring a transparent case back highlighting the inner workings of the Calibre 1863 movement. Unlike the later and perhaps better known "Sapphire sandwich" (Reference 3573.50), this one features a sapphire exhibition back but a more traditional Hesalite crystal on the front side, rather than a sapphire crystal. The "Hesalite sandwich," as it's come to be known, was discontinued in favor of the "sapphire sandwich," making it an interesting and unique variation of the Moonwatch that we've come to know and love. It's an enduring testament to this watch's position in the pantheon of horological greats.
Omega Speedmaster Professional "Hesalite Sandwich"