Moonwatch Only a book review1>
Once upon a time, in a faraway land called Switzerland, lived watchmakers who created a watch called the Omega Speedmaster. The NASA fairies selected the watch to go to the moon and the myth around it became legendary.
The new book Moonwatch Only written by Grégoire Rossier and Anthony Marquié with forewords from Omega CEO Stephen Urquhart and NASA astronaut Captain Eugene Cernan is exactly the opposite of a fairy tale. Instead, the authors, a Swiss biologist and a French Aeronautical engineer used their scientific skills to write what is certainly the most definitive work about the Speedmaster.
The authors faced a huge challenge to classify and codify a watch that has been in continuous production since 1957 with 125 different models. They created a methodology which not only makes this book an important reference for Speedmaster collectors around the world, but also for future watch book writers who could use Moonwatch Only as a template for other important watches with a multitude of models that may deserve the same recognition as the Speedmaster Professional.
After an introduction to the history of the Speedmaster and a presentation of the watch, we learn to decipher the watch reference codes. The two main chapters of the book follow.
The first main chapter entitled, “Main Components and Accessories” is an analysis of the multiple component of the watches such as the movement, case, dial, bezel, caseback, etc. and their respective modifications. This is a very detailed chapter and each component is beautifully photographed and compared. Each subchapter for every component concludes with recommendations from the authors about what to do before buying.
The second main chapter entitled “The Models” is a chronological presentation of each model in standard production, followed by special and limited series, and concluding with projects and prototypes The authors present each watch a similar way starting with productions years, movement numbers and list each and every modification for each component. This can easily be cross referenced with the preceding chapter.
The book concludes with a chapter dedicated to purchasing your perfect Moonwatch. There is a one page recap for each of the components featured and finally an identification tree that could be used as a tool to identify a Moonwatch.
The book has an extremely short bibliography listing mostly books about watchmaking and the Omega saga and I am skeptical that the authors wrote such a compelling work without looking at other important contributions on the Internet, the other Omega books, the Omegamania auction catalogue and, perhaps, most importantly the surprisingly missing book in the bibliography is the Kesaharu Imai reference entitled “A Time Capsule Omega Speedmaster: The Story of the First Watch in Outer Space”. I have a hard time believing that the authors did not have a pick at that book originally written and published in Japanese and later translated by World Photo Press.
Moonwatch Only is certainly one of the best books ever written about a single watch model. The work is schorlaly, and its importance is far reaching in the niche world of watch book writers. We are continuously bombarded by books often written at the express demand of a brand, and these books are more fairy tales glorifying a brand than genuine academic work. Roissier and Marquié gifted us with a wonderful book and a clear framework for more such work to come.
Excerpts from Moonwatch Only with permission of the publisher: