Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch v. the Speedmaster Reduced

#SpeedyTuesday: What’s the Difference Between the Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch and the Speedmaster Reduced?

One of the big questions in the watch world is the difference between the Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch and the Omega Speedmaster Reduced. Unfortunately, some of the more unscrupulous sellers on auction sites and online marketplaces will try to use the lack of knowledge about the differences between the two to mislead buyers. The first order of business is to make it clear that the Omega Speedmaster Reduced (3510.50) is not the same thing as the Moonwatch. Of course, the Omega Speedmaster Reduced is still a very nice watch in its own right. It’s just a matter of understanding what you’re getting.

In honor of #SpeedyTuesday, let’s talk about being savvy when it comes to spotting the differences between the Speedmaster Moonwatch and the Speedmaster Reduced. It’s actually pretty easy to tell one from the other once you know what you’re looking at. Size is going to be the most obvious factor when differentiating between the two. There’s also some special printing that is unique to the Moonwatch. Let’s go deeper to break down the big differences between these two very desirable and interesting watch designs. First, we’ll begin with some history that spotlights why the Moonwatch is so incredible.

A Quick History Lesson

It’s important to understand the significance of the Speedmaster Moonwatch when doing your timepiece homework. It goes without saying that the OMEGA Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch is one of the most iconic timepieces in existence. In fact, the watch’s history is every bit as elegant and impressive as its actual design. The design has played a part in all six NASA lunar missions.There are actually several offshoot “Moonwatch” designs in the OMEGA collection.

The list includes the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Limited Edition, the Moonshine Limited Edition, the Dark Side of the Moon Apollo 8, the CK 2998 Limited Edition, the Apollo 17 Limited Edition, the Ultraman, the Dark Side of the Moon, the Grey Side of the Moon, the White Side of the Moon, the First Omega in Space and the Apollo 11 45th Anniversary Limited Edition.

These are obviously all incredible watches. What’s more, the extensive catalog of NASA-inspired timepieces in the OMEGA collection really drives home the point that the “Moonwatch” genre represents what is probably the most innovative and cutting-edge collaboration in the watch world. However, the watch we’re specifically discussing from the “Moonwatch” collection today is the original Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch.

The OMEGA Speedmaster Professional is the only piece of equipment used in every single NASA piloted space mission from Gemini through the current International Space Station program. Yes, Buzz Aldrin had this exact watch strapped to his wrist when he stepped foot on the surface of the moon in 1969. NASA’s affection for this watch hasn’t died down one bit in the decades since that iconic moment. The Speedmaster Professional remains the only watch certified by NASA for use with extravehicular activity (EVA).


It’s pretty hard to get fooled once you know the specific dimensions of both watches. The Speedmaster Moonwatch has a diameter of 42 millimeters. By contrast, the Speedmaster Reduced measures in just a bit smaller at 38.5 millimeters.


The size difference between the two watches may not seem hugely significant at first glance. However, the difference in movement between the two timepieces certainly is. It only takes glancing at the faces to see that two very different designs are in play. The sub-dials on the Reduced happen to be quite far away from the center. However, the Moonwatch’s sub-dials are located a bit closer to the design’s center pinion. You’ll also see “Automatic” sprawled across the dial on the face of the Reduced. In addition, this model features Arabic numerals to mark each hour.

The movement of the Moonwatch is the esteemed hand-wound, Lemania-based chronograph. The specific caliber is going to depend on the age of the watch. The options are 321, 861/863, 1861/1863 or 3861. The Reduced has an automatic movement based on the Omega caliber 3220. Your eye can see a Dubois-Dépraz 2020 chronograph module mounted on the dial side of the base movement.

One of the big signs that you’re looking at a Reduced instead of a Moonwatch is a jewel-rich design. In fact, we’re looking at 47 jewels in this movement. The design uses what are known as “piggyback” movements. One of the things you’ll see when turning the watch around in your hand is that its winding crown and chronograph pushers aren’t in alignment. The crown is actually positioned just a hair lower than the pushers.

Yes, the Omega Speedmaster Reduced Is Still a Great Watch

The purpose of highlighting the differences between the Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch and the Omega Speedmaster Reduced isn’t to cast aspersions on the Speedmaster Reduced. This is a great watch. However, it simply needs to be said that it’s not the same thing as the Professional Moonwatch. The Reduced is a good fit for someone who prefers automatic movements. Its design is also preferable for someone with a smaller wrist. Of course, preference for the Omega Speedmaster Reduced may simply come down to the fact that it fits your budget a little more realistically than a pro Moonwatch.

Final Thoughts on the Moonwatch versus the Speedmaster Reduced

The bottom line is that you should never take the phrase “Moonwatch” at face value when you see it featured in a listing on an auction site or online marketplace. One of the ways that you can avoid misleading representations is to simply source all of your watches from a credible vendor. The Lido Watch Club offers clarity in purchasing. We take pride in helping our clients get all of the information they need to make accurate, informed purchasing decisions that they can feel proud about. Let Lido Watch Club help you source your next Moonwatch, Speedmaster Reduced or any other model you’re eyeing on the market.

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