Speedmaster Professional Mark III now available in the MOTW Shop.
Following up on our last week’s Speedmaster Mark II post, today we profile the next model in succession – the Speedmaster Mark III. As much as the Mark II represented a major departure from the original Speedmaster Professional “Moon Watch” in terms of case shape, the Mark III was a major departure on the side of the internals. Since 1957, all Speedmaster models had featured manual-winding movements. The Speedy Mark III was the first version to feature an automatic movement when it joined the lineup in 1972.
The introduction of an automatic movement is the most important feature of this series, and was offered in three case styles, all of which are considered Mark IIIs. Developed in conjunction with Lemania, the movement used in the Mark III became known as the calibre 1040a, with a subsequent COSC certified version referenced as the calibre 1041. The inclusion of these movements added a number of complications (features) to the basic chronograph function, including a 24-Hour Day/Night indicator, 60-Minute Totalizer, 12-Hour Totalizer, and Date Calendar. This was by far the most complex Speedmaster produced to date.
Early versions of the Mark III were produced in the same oversized barrel case as the Omega Flightmaster , with subsequent models also offered in smaller squared-case versions available in steel and gold. Another version was offered in the case of the petite and extremely rare Seamaster Chronograph, which featured the same movement.
All three of these case styles featured a number of variant dials, colors, and bezel inserts through their production run in the 1970s. Furthermore, despite the enhanced functionality of the automatic movement, not all Mark IIIs were labeled with the “Professional” moniker. Like the Mark II models, Mark III Speedmasters are relatively plentiful today, and are less expensive than original Speedmaster Professionals. The internals are relatively complex as compared to manual-winding versions, and service costs are markedly higher. Regardless, the numerous case variants and dial layouts of the Mark III make them interesting pieces to collect, and are a definitively important footnote in the history of the Omega Speedmaster lineup.
Words and Images by: James Lamdin - A vintage watch connoisseur and founder of analog/shift (www.analogshift.com), an online boutique for a curated selection of exceptional wristwatches.