My omega speedmaster professional (1967) review

My Omega Speedmaster Professional (1967) review

Almost two years ago, October 1999, I was looking for a new watch. It had to be a Speedmaster Pro, because that was one of the nicest watches I had ever seen. I did some research on the Omega Forum at Time Zone on Speedmaster models and I was thinking of getting a used one because I couldn’t afford the full price of one. After lurking on the forum I started looking on the internet for these watches. I didn’t really had a preference for a caliber 321 or caliber 861 model, there were things that could be said in favor for each of this movements.

One evening, I was walking in The Hague and passed a shop called Horloge Platform Nederland.

I knew this shop from the internet, so it wasn’t quite a coincidence of course. I passed the shop past closing time because I was doing an internship in Wassenaar and couldn’t be earlier in The Hague then 18:00 or so. I saw two Speedmasters in the window, a ‘new’ never worn Speedmaster Pro from 1998 and a vintage Speedmaster Pro (ref. 145.012-67, see my reference table for explanation) from 1967. I checked the website of Horloge Platform Nederland as soon as I got home and mailed the owner of the shop, Gerard Nijenbrinks, with some questions about details on the watch. I got a reply very quickly and made an appointment to see it.

The owner of the shop showed me two watches, the new one and the old one. The new one was sold already, or someone had an option on it (don’t remember) but I liked the old one better. I liked the applied logo and the cal.321 movement which he showed me without (me) even asking for it. It looked marvelous and although I didn’t knew anything about movements, it looked fine to me. Even a non-watch lover could tell that this was okay.

The dial of the watch was very fine, the tritium wasn’t on the hour markers anymore and the hands were a bit ‘old’ but it looked fine. The case had some scratches on it, but that isn’t strange for a +30 year old watch. The bezel was a bit scratched too.
After some talking we agreed on the price (very fair) and paying I left the store with a happy smile on my face.

Above you see the watch how I got it. However, I bought it with nice leather Cornelis Kauffman strap and later on I purchased a NOS bracelet (more on the bracelet later). As I said, the tritium wasn’t on the dial and hands anymore but they were still original. It is especially the chronograph second hand where I am very proud of. You don’t see them much anymore, a lot of these hands have been replaced through the years. See my article about chronograph hands here.

I bought a Bergeon caseopener somewhere in Antwerpen/Belgium where I was staying a weekend so I could see the movement ‘tick’. The old caliber 321 movement performed well and it didn’t need any regulating. The cal.321 movement was produced since 1946 and used in the Speedmaster Pro till October 1968. After that, they started using the cal.861 movement, which had lesser parts and thus cheaper to produce for Omega. Omega used it till 1997. Nowadays, they use the cal.1861, which has a nicer finish and an extra jewel (18).

The original case back had some scratches on it (the light marked it worse on this picture) but I don’t really care for that.

The pushbuttons and crown were also original Omega. The hyalite crystal also has the ‘Omega’ sign in the middle. The bracelet, where I was talking about before, was bought from Pjer Strolenberg. An editor of a Dutch loves watch magazine and collector of all kinds of watches. He didn’t had any purpose for it as he wore his Speedmaster pre-Professional on a NATO strap and it was NOS (New Old Stock). Not a single scratch. The bracelet is ref. 1450 and a full overview of the used bracelets by Speedmasters can be found here.

I bought it for a very fair price and he also attached it to my Speedmaster Pro. After a while, I met a guy who was goldsmith and he could make displaybacks for any type of watch. as long as the (original) case back was thick enough. I asked him if he could make a display back for me and he said he could do that (he also collects Omega watches). I had to order an extra case back (from the newer type, 145.022). He could do some engraving in the case back, like the original Omega case backs have («First watch worn on the moon»), but I didn’t want that. It makes no sense for a pre-Moon Speedmaster Pro in my opinion. This was the result:

Of course, I didn’t sell the original pre-Moon Speedmaster case back and am still keeping it safely in my drawer. Some time ago, I decided to do an overhaul on the watch. The scratches on the bezel started to irritate me and the hands needed to be replaced. My reset button wasn’t also working properly, because the inner tube of the reset button wasn’t original and didn’t ‘touch’ the reset mechanism properly. I brought it to the repair-department of Horologe Platform Nederland, which is done by M. A. Gaemers, a person who has quite some reputation in the Dutch ‘watch scene’. They fixed my watch within 4 weeks (they had to wait for the parts) and applied a new pair of hands. The original 1967 chronic second hand was unavailable at Omega and they left the old one on the watch (gleefully!). There were also problems getting a ‘suited’ bezel for my watch.

It now looked like this, and I was quite happy with it. The strap is a Kauffman btw, I like the watch better on a strap than on a bracelet. Some weeks ago, the goldsmith who made my display back visited me and borrowed my Omega Time Capsule book and told me that he could find a suitable bezel without a problem. After a week, he called me and said he had found the bezel that would fit my watch.

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