Swatch group has just introduced new price increases across a number of its brands, most notably also at Omega. The new price increases raise the cost of its flagship Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch (reference 310.30.42.50.01.001) to a new high of EUR 7,500.00 in Europe. While price increases are nothing new at Omega, and certainly not in the watch world either, it is worth taking a moment here to have a closer look how we got to this new price, in a very – very – short amount of time.
There are a bunch of different Moonwatch editions and versions out there, to keep things simple for this article, the reference we will be talking about here is the ‘standard’ Moonwatch with hesalite crystal and the steel case-back. Now, if we look back approximately two years ago, the Moonwatch saw an update as the ‘old’ cal. 1861 was replaced by the ‘new’ (and current) cal. 3861. Without digging too deep into the past price history, let’s take that turning point to start our price analysis as that seems to have been the starting point of some quite dramatic price increases for the iconic and much beloved Speedy.
Now, If we look back in time, just 25 months ago (January 2021) we had the Moonwatch cal. 1861 (reference 3126.96.36.199.01.005) which retailed at around EUR 5,000.00. If my memory serves me right, I think I’m actually rounding up here and it retailed a bit under the 5K mark here in Europe. Yes indeed, at that time you could get an iconic watch at a pretty unbeatable price.
Of course, I am ignoring the fact that the Speedypro was even more affordable just a few years before that. But, let’s not go down that road. Nay, that’s a trauma of missed opportunities that I’m not ready to deal with just yet. Let’s keep that feeling of deep regret nicely locked away like a grownup is supposed to do, am I right? I’m not crying you’re crying.
However, in January 2021, Omega discontinued this glorious reference (pictured above) by replacing the caliberCaliber The caliber ('movement') is the heart and engine of a watch. It consists of a number of interconnected components that work together. Energy is transmitted through the gear train, to the escapement mechanism. The escapement mechanism releases this energy in a controlled manner. This drives the gear train, which ultimately rotates the hands of the watch and keeps time. [More Info] 1861 version with the new and current caliber 3861 version, reference 310.30.42.50.01.001. It was the end of an era in more ways than one, and also the first substantial change to a watch that had remained mostly unchanged since the late Nineties.
The caliber 3861 version had an updated dial, bezel, case, bracelet and of course also the movement. This new movement was designed and tested to meet the stringent requirements set by the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology (METAS), thereby achieving its new Master ChronometerChronometer A chronometer watch movement is a high-precision movement that has been certified by an official organization, such as the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC) or other similar bodies, as meeting certain standards of accuracy and performance. These standards include requirements for the rate of the watch, its resistance to temperature and other environmental factors, and its power reserve. Chronometer watches are tested for several days, in different positions, and at different temperatures to ensure their precision. [Learn More] status. Another notable change with the caliber 3861 was the switch to a co-axial escapementCo-Axial Escapement The co-axial escapement is a type of escapement mechanism invented by George Daniels, a British watchmaker, in the 1970s, and is characterized by the use of a co-axial wheel, which is a three-level wheel that replaces the traditional pallets used in other escapements. It uses a unique design that allows the gears to run with less friction, which means that it requires less maintenance and will have a longer lifespan than traditional escapements. Additionally, it is said to be more precise than traditional escapements, this is mainly because of the decreased friction which allows the balance wheel to oscillate more consistently. [Learn More] and the addition of a silicon balance springHairspring The hairspring is a thin spring in a mechanical watch movement that is connected to the balance wheel. The balance wheel oscillates back and forth at a consistent rate, and the hairspring helps regulate these oscillations. The hairspring works by applying a restoring force to the balance wheel, which helps to keep the balance wheel oscillating at a consistent rate. The hairspring is also known as a balance spring. [Learn More], which provides greater resistance to temperature changes, shocks, and magnetic fields. I won’t go into further detail right now, since you can just check out the past article where Jeff covered that very nicely.
Overall, the changes to the Omega Speedmaster Professional in 2021 had made it an even more impressive and reliable watch overall. All those updates and changes warranted (in my opinion) the steep price increase at the time. The new reference 310.30.42.50.01.001 was introduced at EUR 6,100.00
So there we were, early 2021, looking at the new Moonwatch, with its new price tag that jumped from under EUR 5,000.00 to EUR 6,100.00 overnight. As you can imagine, the price was hotly debated online. However, looking back today it seemed that overall the watch community agreed – given the substantial changes, updates and improvements, yes it was worth the price increase.
Fast forward to early 2022 however and we saw a new price bump, pushing the price to EUR 6,700.00. However, with the Moonwatch selling like hotcakes, and also global prices going a wee bit crazy, the Moonwatch saw a second price increase in 2022, bringing the price up to 7,100.00 EUR. A rapid 1K increase in about 1,5 years at the time. Where the price bump to EUR 6,700.00 had gone mostly unnoticed, the new 7K price tag caught everyone’s attention. The Moonwatch used to be a relatively ‘affordable’ luxury watch, especially given its iconic status and unique history. Suddenly it seemed that the community woke up to the fact that, well, those days are gone. What followed was as close to uproar as one gets within the watch community.
Yet here we are today, and the Moonwatch saw yet another price increase, and so far, it remains relatively silent, or perhaps unnoticed? The price has now increased to EUR 7,500.00. That is a 50% increase in about two years, or about 25% since the introduction of this exact reference. Not too bad Omega, not too bad. It is perhaps worth noting that the price increase is not unique to the Omega Speedmaster Professional. As mentioned above, the price increase is part of a Swatch group price hike across most of its brands (from Tissot to Omega).
The fact remains that the’affordable’ Hesalite speedmaster on a stainless steel bracelet now sits at EUR 7500. And yes, the question is the same as it was previously, is the Moonwatch worth its new pricetag? Will this drive more enthusiasts to the secondary market perhaps? Or is this just the new normal, and they will continue selling like hotcakes (as they currently very much do)?