Omega is the favorite brand of many watch collectors - they offer luxurious timepieces, without the snobbishness that usually comes with such watches. Whether you want a dress, sport or casual watch, Omega has everything you need.
The problem when buying an Omega is to pick the perfect model for your needs since there are so many variations to choose from. This article is here to help you decide which watch you should get between the Omega Seamaster and the Omega Speedmaster.
Considering the vast amount of collections available both for the Seamaster and Speedmaster, my comparison will be based on the most popular variations: the Seamaster Aqua Terra and the Speedmaster Professional Chronograph.
I will also talk about every other variation of these two watches in the "Variations" section.
38mm / 41mm
19mm / 20mm
45mm / 48mm
The Seamaster Aqua Terra line is a bit more complex than the Speedmaster pro - the men's Aqua Terra is offered in two different models: a 38mm and a 41mm model. On the other hand, the Speedmaster Pro is only offered with a 42mm case.
The 41mm version of the Omega AT is obviously the closest competitor of the Speedmaster Pro since they are separated by only 1mm, both in case diameter and lug-to-lug width. I think they look good on medium size wrists (6.5"-7.25") and the 38mm version is perfect for people with slender wrists (6.5" and less).
The thickness of the case is 1,3mm larger on the Speedy than it is on the Aqua terra, which is explained mostly by the thickness of the 1863 Caliber. The two watches are equipped with a domed crystal, but the Speedmaster's glass protrudes just a bit more.
Domed anti-reflective sapphire
Domed / Hesalite
150m/ 15 bar
50m / 5 bar
Exhibition w/ Geneva Waves
Exhibition / Steel
Green Indices / Hands
Every Aqua Terra model is equipped with a domed sapphire crystal which is anti-reflective coated on both sides of the glass. As for the Speedmaster, there are two different crystals available depending on the model you get.
The most famous one is the domed Hesalite (acrylic) crystal version. It is usually a collector's favorite since it uses the same material as earlier Speedy models, which were used on the moon. These crystals are almost unbreakable, but the downside is how easy they are to scratch. Fortunately, these scratches can be polished off easily.
Hesalite vs Sapphire
The other option you have when buying a Speedmaster is a domed sapphire crystal, which is AR coated on the inside only.
When it comes to water resistance, the Aqua Terra is the most proficient watch of the two. Its 150m water resistance, accomplished with the use of a screw-down crown, enables you to take it for swimming or even snorkeling.
Unlike the Aqua Terra, the Speedmaster doesn't have anything to do with diving nor water. Its original purpose back in the '60s was to be used as the first watch to go on the moon, and it kept the same styling ever since.
This means water resistance isn't a priority for this watch (as there's no water on the moon), so the Speedy has no need for a screw-down crown. This leaves the watch with a measly 50m water resistance, which is ok for swimming but nothing more.
My favorite case back of the two watches is undoubtedly the Seamaster's. Not only is it equipped with a display case back, which lets you peek through the gorgeous movement, it also has a "Geneva waves" pattern all around, giving it a distinctive look.
The case back of the Speedy will depend on which of the two models you get. The Hesalite version is equipped with a simple stainless steel back, with cools engravings such as the Speedmaster horse and the "Flight-qualified by NASA for all manned space missions" mention.
The case back you get when buying the sapphire Speedy is an exhibition case back, also using a sapphire crystal, colloquially referred to as a sapphire sandwich. It's nice to get a look at the Calibre 1863 since it has such historical significance.
Both the Aqua Terra and the Speedmaster are intended for usage in a dark environment - the Aqua Terra is meant to be worn underwater and the Speedy is meant to be worn in space. This means luminous phosphorescent is a must for both these timepieces.
In my opinion, the Aqua Terra has the best lume between the two watches. The hands and indices are coated with a thick layer of Super-Luminova that gives off a bright and durable blue glow.
The Speedmaster's lume application is also very good and will be plenty for normal use. Unfortunately, I couldn't find the information about the brand of this luminous phosphorescent.
Omega 8800 / 8900
Omega Calibre 1863
55 hours / 60 hours
0 to +5 seconds/day
-1 to +11 seconds / day
Shock Resistance, Co-axial escapement, Anti-Magnetic
Chronograph (small seconds, minutes counter, 12 hours)
The movements used in the Aqua Terra and the Speedmaster are both great movements but in a very different way. The Calibre 8800/8900 used in the AT is by far the most technologically advanced of the two, but the Calibre 1863 of the Speedy has such historical significance it is just as loveable.
Since the case diameter varies moderately between the Aqua Terra 38mm and 41mm, Omega had no choice but two use two different movements. While they differ a bit in their specs, the Calibre 8800 and 8900 are the same in essence.
These automatic calibers beat at a mid-range frequency of 25,200 bph and share the same 0 to +5 seconds/day precision. This timekeeping prowess allows the Aqua Terra to be certified by both the COSC and the METAS.
The "special features" such as the co-axial escapement and 15 000 Gauss magnetic resistance stay the same for the 8800 and 8900. Where these two calibers differ is in their power reserve, which is 55 hours for the 8800 (38mm) and 60 hours for the 8900 (41mm).
Calibre 1863's History
To understand the beauty of the Omega Calibre 1863, you must first understand where it came from. First, the original Omega Speedmaster that went on the moon in the late 1960's was equipped with a Calibre 321 movement.
The Calibre 321 was barebones but really efficient and sturdy, which explains why the Speedy was chosen by the NASA to go to space. This movement was upgraded to the Calibre 861 in 1968, which was more technologically advanced and more precise.
The Calibre 861 was upgraded to the 1861 when Omega started liberally using rhodium-plating on a lot of its components. The rhodium-plating avoids tarnishing of these components, even after decades of use.
Finally, the Calibre 1863 currently used in new Speedmaster models is a very simple tweak of the 1861, mostly adding aesthetic features.
Calibre 1863 Specs
For a 5k$+ watch, the Calibre 1863 isn't anywhere near the competition in terms of precision or technological feats. The main reason why you should buy a Speedmaster is for its historical significance and general styling.
The plain-and-simple Calibre 1863 gives you the strict minimum and nothing more. The mechanical movement doesn't have hacking, has a small 48 hours power reserve and can only be wound through hand-winding (not automatic).
The -1 to +11 seconds per day timekeeping is precise enough for everyday use, but doesn't get the Speedmaster any certifications.
Grainy / Matte
4 (38mm) / 7 (41mm)
The general styling of the two watches will appeal to different groups of people. The Aqua Terra's maritime heritage is perfect for people with a love for everything related to water: swimming, diving, boats etc.
On the other hand, the Speedmaster's styling and history will appeal to what I like to call "space nerds". If you remember the moon landing like it was yesterday and your weekend activities consist of space museums and observatories visits, you can't go wrong with the Speedmaster.
In line with its maritime design, the dial of the Seamaster AT features a teak pattern, which is reminiscent of a boat's hull. The dial is very uncluttered, as it only contains a small date display, Omega's logo and the "Co-Axial Master Chronometer" mention.
The Speedmaster Pro's dial is a whole 'nother story. The grainy matte black/dark grey surface is completely different from the AT, and it reminds me of lunar rocks. On this model, the dial is filled with 3 chronograph complications: a small seconds counter (left), a 30 minutes counter (right) and a 12 hours counter (middle).
Hands / Indices
The indices plating are one of the few points in common between the Seamaster and the Speedmaster. Both watches use rhodium-plated indices, which are known to last for decades without ever tarnishing (it's even better than gold).
The hands of the Seamaster are my favorites for a few reasons. First of all, the arrow styling of the minutes and seconds hands is a great distinguishing feature from the "plongeur hands" diver watches usually get. Also, the bright color of the seconds hand adds more life to an already lively dial.
The sword hands used for the minutes and hours of the Speedmaster are a bit more conventional. They do look sharp, but they don't really stand out from the lot on a shelf. Also, the arrow seconds hand helps for legibility.
Unfortunately, none of these watches are equipped with ceramic bezel, which is now standard on most Rolex models. Instead, entry-level Omega watches are equipped with a stainless steel/ anodized aluminum bezel, which isn't as scratch-resistant as ceramic.
The bezel is fixed on the two watches, with the Aqua Terra's bezel being completely plain and the Speedmaster Pro displaying a 500 unit tachymeter (which you most likely won't ever use).
Color Schemes / Bands
The Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra's men line consists of 11 different models (four 38mm and seven 41mm). The variant between each version is mostly the dial color (grey, white, black, blue) and the band (rubber, leather, steel). There's even a special rose gold case and bracelet limited edition which retails at $29,200.
The Omega Speedmaster Pro line is much simpler as it contains only 4 variations. You get to choose between the Hesalite crystal / SS case back version or the Sapphire sandwich version, both available with a stainless steel band or black leather strap. If this is not your cup of tea, Omega offers 46 different straps directly on their website.
Seamaster Diver 300m
The Diver 300m collection is composed of 7 timepieces ranging from 41mm to 44mm in case diameters. Four of those watches have chronograph features with two or three additional complications as well as a date display.
The 3 other models have a simple three hands movement, with 2 of them having a date complication. The styling of those share lots of traits with the famous Rolex Submariner such as the hour indices and script placement.
The main distinguishing feature of this line is obviously the 300m water resistance, which is good for amateur and professional diving. Also, all models get a domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on both sides and a 60 minutes ceramic bezel.
The Railmaster is a very simple lineup containing two timepieces: a vertically brushed dial and a "tropical" dial. The former packs a 38mm case while the latter has a 40mm case. The tropical dialed version is a limited production (3 557 units) and it pays homage to the 1957 Railmaster model.
They are both equipped with the METAS certified Calibre 8806, a flat sapphire crystal, Super-Luminova lume, and 60m water resistance. This variation of the Seamaster is perfect for old school watch lovers.
Planet Ocean 600m
If you're a true diver at heart and you practice professional diving, the Planet Ocean is the workhorse you need. You can choose from 8 models, varying from 37.5 to 45.5mm in diameter all equipped with signature arrow hands.
Certain models use chronograph features, others have an extra GMT hand and some simply have a date complication. The hefty price comes with high-end technology such as ceramic bezel with "Liquidmetal" scale, 600m water resistance and helium escape valve.
The Bullhead is a timepiece in its own category, both because of its unique styling and the 669 pieces limited run. It features a "Clous de Paris" patterned black dial, bi-directional bezel, and Calibre 3113 movement.
Seamaster Ploprof 1200m
The Ploprof is the Seamaster's top of the line diver watch. The amazing 1200m water resistance comes with drawbacks, such as the enormous 55 x 48 mm case and square styling. Available in both Steel or Titanium/Sedna gold casings, it comes with a Calibre 8912, Super-Luminova lume, and AR-coated sapphire crystal.
The Moonwatch is the largest Speedmaster line with 6 different models, including the Speedmaster Pro. The other watches range from 39,7 to 44,25 mm and they all have chronograph movements.
Each model has a peculiar tweak, such as a date display, a moon phase complication or a limited edition release.
These two watches, with the respective case size of 38,6 and 41,5mm are modern takes on the classic 1957 Speedmaster. You get the good old styling that you're used to, with modern technology such as a Calibre 9300 on the 41,5mm and a Calibre 1861 for the 38,4mm.
The 38,4mm version is limited to 3 557 units, so you might have a hard time getting one.
The Mark II Speedmaster has a bizarre case size of 42,4 x 46,2 mm. This watch has 3 chronograph functions and a date display, all powered by the Omega Calibre 3330
The racing design goes perfectly with the "Speedmaster" moniker. These two chronograph watches (40mm or 44,25mm) are equipped with sporty bands, such as a perforated leather band or diamond-patterned rubber strap.
The Speedmaster 38(mm) is a small timekeeper with chronograph complications and date display packed in a sun-brushed dial. It is equipped with a Co-axial Calibre 3330, an anti-reflective coated flat sapphire crystal and 400 unit tachymeter bezel.
Solar Impulse HB-SIA
Contrary to what its name implies, the HB-SIA isn't solar-powered. Instead, it is driven by a Calibre 3603. The 44,25mm's watch centerpiece is certainly the diamond-patterned carbon fiber dial.
X-33 / Z-33
These three last models are unorthodox watches that are completely out of line with the rest of the Speedmasters. The X-33 is a 45mm watch with two variations: Regatta and Skywalker. Both of those are limited to 2 017 and 1 924 units, respectively.
The Z-33 isn't part of a limited run, but it is the least desirable of the three in my opinion. The distinguishing feature about the X-33/Z-33 is the quartz movement, as it's the only quartz equipped watch of the Speedmaster collection.
$5,400 to $29,200
$5,350 to $6,350
The entry point of the Aqua Terra and Speedmaster Pro are only separated by 50$. For 5,400$, you get the base model Aqua Terra, which means a stainless steel case with a leather band. As the price goes up, you can upgrade to the rubber, steel or rose gold bracelet - an 8,000$ variant is also offered with a rubber strap and rose gold case.
Whereas the AT has lots of different pricing options, the Speedmaster Pro's price has only two variables. The Acrylic crystal / SS back is offered for 5,350$ while the sapphire sandwich Speedy is sold for 6 350$. Of course, you can always find discounted prices when buying from the right vendor.
The Aqua Terra and Speedmaster Pro are offered with the great 5 years Omega warranty, so you can rest easy about spending a couple of thousands on a timepiece.
The primary driver for choosing the Seamaster or Speedmaster should be the subject you're most drawn to between diving and space. The Seamaster is part of the diver watch history, and the styling goes accordingly. I find this watch easier to pair with different straps and wear in a sporty situation.
On the other hand, you should get the Speedmaster if you love space history, and you want to own a piece of it. The styling can be good in a casual situation, but I find it harder to pull off on a Nato strap compared to the AT.
If you're unsure about the right timepiece for you, look at the list below to help choose between the Aqua Terra and the Speedmaster:
If you find yourself to be leaning towards the left side of the list, the Aqua Terra is perfect for you, if not, the Speedmaster Pro is the obvious choice.
If you want to see a review or comparison of any other Speedy or Seamaster variations, let me know in the comment!