The scholarship on vintage Omega Speedmasters has reached an impressive point, but its depth and complexity came with a not-unexpected challenge: knowing by heart all the key distinctive features of the various references becomes an almost impossible to a normally constituted human brain. Hence, the need for something as extensive as the very thorough book, Moonwatch Only its authors go as far as cataloging the different shapes of the clutch bridge from the caliber 321 through its entire production. This book is definitely the encyclopedia on everything Speedmaster related, but at four pounds, its 496 pages are not that travel-friendly. This is wherein the lies the value of the digital version of Moonwatch Only: e-Moonwatch Only is a new mobile guide that makes a wealth of information from the book, handy and convenient to sort through.
Very much like the eponymous book, e-Moonwatch Only covers all the Speedmasters released since 1957, including the limited editions, past and present. It also follows the book’s approach with respect to the evolution of the main watch components, offering a very precise breakdown allowing you to check whether the crown, the bezel or the pushers are correct for any given reference. While this sounds extremely detailed (and it is), one must remember the wide price gap between an all-original watch, and one fitted with service parts. In the vintage world, originality is key, and moreover rare since switching parts at service was and remains a common practice.
Therefore, there is no doubt in the value of this taxonomy, but there is more; the new ebook comes with a novel feature that justifies it on its own, not solely as a more handy version of the Speedmaster bible. It’s called the Identification Program; if you are fan of board games, you can think of it as a Speedmaster-specific Guess Who? In just a few clicks, it can pinpoint exactly the reference that you are holding (or indicate which specific vintage reference has all your dream features).
It starts with the most obvious differentiating feature (whether the Omega logo on the dial is applied or printed) to progressively narrow the list of potential “suspects” until it arrives at a perfect match, of course assuming all parts from the watch under examination are indeed original. The whole process is very impressive, and gives a playful spin to the considerable knowledge required in the world of vintage Speedies.
In the end, the Identification Program not only provides one of the smoothest integrations I’ve ever seen of geeky horological facts, but it also bring a great deal of value to the collector community. It would very obviously be a fantastic tool for many more wristwatches that offer the same extremely long production period with subtle variations, and with many franken configurations. Did someone just whisper “Please do it for the Rolex Submariner”?