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Speedmaster 9300: Three years on the wrist

  1. WurstEver

    WurstEver Jun 2, 2018

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    It's just gone three years since the purchase of my trusty Speedy 9300, so I thought I'd take some time to share my experiences with the watch. While the Speedmaster heritage and history certainly had a lot to do with why I chose this watch, there's not much I can say about that which hasn't already been said. So I'll focus on laying out my experience of owning and using the watch in terms of aesthetics, wearability, and functionality. Hopefully this makes for an interesting read for those who are partial to the modern references.

    20180602_143012.JPG

    So, first, the aesthetics. I sometimes call this model (311.30.44.51.01.002) the "Steel Side of the Moon" (SSOTM) because it is more-or-less the same watch as the first edition of the ceramic Dark Side of the Moon, only constructed with different materials (https://www.hodinkee.com/articles/a-week-on-the-wrist-the-omega-speedmaster-dark-side-of-the-moon). Probably because the styling is so close to the traditional Speedmaster Professional, Omega chose to call this reference the "Moonwatch Co-axial Chronometer". This is a bit of a controversial choice because for Speedmaster officionados, the term moonwatch refers to a manually wound Speedmaster, with three sub-registers, no date, and typically a hesalite crystal (https://www.hodinkee.com/articles/understanding-the-omega-Speedmaster-professional). This watch has exactly none of those characteristics. Nevertheless, the look is unmistakably that of a Speedmaster. Because of that, the 9300 has the happy knack of being extremely versatile. For me, that's one of the factors that makes it a go-to traveling watch.

    At 44.25mm the 9300 is bigger than the professional and to my eye, the difference is more than just a simple magnification of the case. The shape of the lugs gives the watch a slightly more muscular appearance from the front. I think this can be seen in the side-by-side photo with my 145.022 below.

    _20180602_143308.JPG

    Front and back, the watch sports sapphire crystals which add significantly to the height and are more angular than the domed hesalite crystals of the professional models. The sapphire is very durable. I have banged this thing on desks, tables, chairs, doorframes, you name it. Par for the course, for a rough-and-tumbe sports watch, I suppose. And particularly for one that sits fairly high on the wrist. After three years, the crystal still looks as good as new. More on the height in the wearability section below.

    The slightly domed, bi-compax dial, with date at 6 is clean and balanced. Some folks don't like the look of date windows in general. I feel that when they are executed well they need not be obtrusive and they definitely add useful functionality. The date window on this model, placed at 6 o'clock and coloured white text on black to blend with the rest of the dial, is no imposition on the appearance of the dial at all. The sub-registers are further from the centre of the dial on the 9300-based models than on those powered by the 321/861/1861 and their derivatives. This is probably going to be the first thing that those who are used to the more traditional, closely packed three-register Speedy Pro layout will notice - and maybe find off putting. I don't feel that it throws out the aesthetics of the dial at all. The sub-registers are also a bit smaller relative to the size of the dial than on the Pro. Aesthetically I think this works fine too. However, it can affect readability, as mentioned below. Overall, like other Speedies, I find the design of the dial very attractive in a contemporary, utilitarian kind of way.

    I'm a bit of a sucker for a display back and the back of this watch provides a great view of the Omega 9300 movement with its labeled parts and excellent finishing.

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    The movement looks very modern. Some, particularly high-end, movements have a bit of an organic appearance to them. Not this one. It presents as a piece of technology. As with many self-winding watches, the rotor blocks a good part of the view. And whatever the opposite of "skeletonised" is, this movement is that. However, you can easily see key parts like the silicon balance spring and the chronograph column wheel. After three years, I still remove the watch from time to time just to admire the mechanism.

    I've exclusively worn my SSOTM on its stainless steel bracelet, but the watch also looks great on a leather strap (https://omegaforums.net/threads/speedmaster-co-axial-chrono-44-25mm.8920/). Like other variations of the Speedmaster, this is a watch that can be dressed up or down. Although I would feel less inclined to put this model on a distressed leather strap or a NATO than I would an older Speedy.

    In terms of wearability, this watch can be a bit polarising; with some considering it too big in both width and depth and others not. I happen to fall into the latter camp. But then again, I have fairly large wrists. Indeed, the additional size of this watch over the manually winding models was a selling point for me when, at the time, I was tossing up between this and a modern Speedy Pro. I am a big guy and I like my watches to at least not look tiny on me. This is the same reason that I also went for the newer, larger Explorer 2 (Ref. 216570). The Speedy 9300 is a hefty, modern watch that has presence without, in my opinion, being garish. It does sometimes need to be coaxed (should that be co-axed? Sorry, I'll see myself out...) back underneath shirt and sweater cuffs, but this is the case with a lot of sports watches. The crystal of the display back actually tends to nestle into the wrist, which helps the watch to sit down a bit. Because of that, it doesn't wear quite as thick as you'd think from looking at the watch off the wrist.

    The bracelet is excellent. More than just being on a par with the bracelet on my Explorer 2, I think the Omega bracelet is a little better. The combination of brushed and polished finishes is attractive, the solid end links sit nicely flush with the case, and the whole thing is comfortable and well constructed. When the newer Omega micro-adjusting clasp became available, I swapped out the clasp that it came with and I could not be happier with the result. This clasp and bracelet combination is superb (https://omegaforums.net/threads/planet-ocean-clasps.40771/page-2#post-511194). The micro-adjustable clasp really should be standard across the Omega range. If you have a bracelet that will take the new clasp and you are even the slightest bit tempted to give it a go, I wholeheartedly recommend that you do. Just keep in mind that you may need to procure both the replacement clasp and a pair of end links that are suitable for attaching the clasp to your bracelet. You may also need to have a couple of links removed from the bracelet because the new clasp is quite long. Oh, and Omega seems to frown on this sort of thing, so you may need to find a friendly and cooperative AD or some other way to acquire the parts.

    Finally, the real beauty of this watch in my opinion lies in how it blends the classic Speedmaster look with modern conveniences in the form of additional functionality. The twin barrels purportedly provide about 60 hours of power on a full wind. However, I would swear that I've found it still running in the watch box after resting for longer than that. Maybe I'm imagining things. Generally I'm not averse to winding a watch. But the crown on this one has always been quite stiff, meaning that it's not the pleasure to wind that some others are. For that reason if no other, the automatic winding mechanism adds significant convenience. I find the date complication useful on pretty much a daily basis.

    But for my money the stars of the show in terms of functionality are the travel-related features. First up is the the quick-set hour. Not much to say here, just pop the crown out and turn. The movement does not hack in this mode, while it does one stop further out for minute adjustment. Very handy. Then there's the travel-related feature that I enjoy the most: The use of the combined chrono subdial to track a second time zone. To take advantage of the fact that the combined chrono subdial is effectively another little watch dial, you just wait until midday or midnight and start the chronograph. Then you effectively have two time zones - one on the main dial and one on the chrono. It's so very handy when you're a long way from home.

    IMG_20170729_163805.jpg

    While I'm on the topic of the subdials, I have noticed that sometimes you have to really look at the chronograph to read off the elapsed time precisely. This is in part due to the relatively small size of the subdial and in part because the 9300 chrono hands move continuously, rather than jumping at the end of each minute. Not a huge deal, but it's there. I think if the hands jumped like they do on the manual wind Speedies and/or if the minute hand was long enough to actually reach the index markers, the chrono would be easier to read at a glance in any conditions.

    Below are some photos I've posted before of me traveling with my Speedy at the Johnson (touching a moon rock and with the mission patch display) and Kennedy (seeing Atlantis) Space Centers. I wrote about the visit to see Atlantis at the Kennedy Space Center here: https://omegaforums.net/threads/speedy-9300-meets-atlantis.50040/. If you look closely at the moon rock photo, you'll see the watch is tracking local and home time (Australian Eastern). I have run the chronograph like this for several weeks at a time without incident. I believe it isn't a problem with a vertical clutch mechanism such as the one in the 9300 to run the chrono for long periods of time, but I'd be interested to hear the experts chime in. It certainly has not shown any signs of causing trouble thus far.

    DSC01563.JPG DSC01515 (2).JPG
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    In summary, the Speedmaster 9300 "Steel Side of the Moon" is a robust, attractive, modern sports watch with several features that make it very convenient to use on a day-to-day basis. After three years on the wrist I am still thoroughly enjoying this big, beautiful Speedy. It is a versatile and contemporary take on a classic formula and I expect it will be a permanent fixture in my little collection. If you're still reading at this point, thanks! I hope it's been interesting and maybe useful for anyone who is considering picking up this watch, or is just interested in the modern variants. Cheers!
     
    mmaggi, EauTerre, barra king and 44 others like this.
  2. shishy

    shishy Jun 3, 2018

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    Very nice, thanks for the review. Viceroy meets the old Speedy Pro :).
     
    WurstEver likes this.
  3. dr1v3thru

    dr1v3thru Jun 4, 2018

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    I love your psuedo second time zone "hack"! (Life hack, not seconds hack :p) That's such an amazing use-case for that type of subdial and in combination with the jumping hours, you can't help but think that the engineers knew it would be used in that manner.
     
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  4. rkman11

    rkman11 Jun 4, 2018

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    Great review, thanks for that!
     
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  5. WurstEver

    WurstEver Jun 5, 2018

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    Thanks! I can't take credit for coming up with the time zone hack myself, since I'm sure I remember reading about it somewhere. But it has been a super useful feature over the years. You're right, it is so simple and handy that it would be a little surprising if it wasn't foreseen by Omega.
     
  6. Cadillac

    Cadillac Jun 11, 2018

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    Great review, I'm leaning towards purchasing this very model.
     
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  7. WurstEver

    WurstEver Jun 11, 2018

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    Thanks! Let me know if you need any further information to help with your decision.
     
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  8. kelev_ra

    kelev_ra Aug 21, 2018

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    Wow, I didn't realize it was that huge... how does it feel on the wrist?
     
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  9. WurstEver

    WurstEver Aug 21, 2018

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    Coincidentally, I had the 9300 on today for the first time in a couple of weeks, since I've been going through a honeymoon period with the new Tintin! It feels great on the wrist. I really like the extra size. But my wrist is pretty chunky at 8 inches.
    It is a big, beautiful beast, but now that I look at the side-by-side photo in the review again, I think it might actually exaggerate the difference in size. Since the 9300 is sitting on top of its bracelet and the 145.022 is sitting flat on the table, the watch heads are in slightly different depth planes, with the 9300 closer to the camera. I'll try to take another photo with that fixed and see if it makes a difference. Cheers!
     
  10. krpdm

    krpdm Sep 1, 2018

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    Outstanding post! No longer on the fence, I'm getting one for my 7 3/4 wrist.
     
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  11. Mcvictory

    Mcvictory Sep 2, 2018

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    My most worn watch the past 3 years - Speedy 9300.

    20180902_111413.jpg
     
  12. WurstEver

    WurstEver Sep 3, 2018

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    Looks good! Have you ever tried it on a strap? I've been very impressed with the comfort and appearance of the bracelet and have never had the urge to change it up myself. Particularly after fitting the adjustable clasp. But the photos I've seen on leather look very nice too. Wear it in good health :thumbsup:
     
  13. Mcvictory

    Mcvictory Sep 8, 2018

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    No, never tried. The bracelet fits perfectly despite the original clasp which has no easy adjustmemt function like the newer model in my avatar. I take this watch usually with me on my business trips to the US or Asia and always felt that the bracelet is the better choice than a leather strap.
     
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  14. jaguar11

    jaguar11 Sep 8, 2018

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    Great review. It is a boomer! I like the idea of a quickset hour and a nice looker to boot. Wear in good health.
     
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  15. colonel

    colonel Oct 3, 2018

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    great review. its so nice to see long term reviews from someone actually wearing their watch rather then the endless flipping discussion

    I think you made a great choice. The movement is great and it looks a nice solid watch. I find the basic moonwatch with the manual wind a bit of a disappointing build for the £3.5k (here in the UK). I am sliding towards the '57 variant myself ...
     
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  16. D.D.

    D.D. Oct 10, 2018

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    Speedy 9300 surely looks much bigger next to an ordinary Speedy.
    Nice watch!
     
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  17. L Tigre

    L Tigre Oct 10, 2018

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    Great watch and great review. I purchased a very similar Speedmaster recently in part based on this positive review; it makes it much easier to take the plunge when someone is happy with their purchase 3 years later.

    Can you comment a bit on the dial main indices/hour markers.... are they raised or flat? And also the sundial hands; they are white?...or mirrored? It is a minor question but just seeking detailed compare agains the racing version, see pics attached....

    5033C492-D02C-4646-A1EC-9F6F1568A66E.jpeg 1A896CF6-BE2B-4435-8173-27EAE5580471.jpeg
     
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  18. RoarLionsRoar

    RoarLionsRoar Oct 10, 2018

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    Awesome review! I was reading through and thinking how similar it sounded to my experience with the watch (owned it 3 years, got the micro-adjustable clasp ASAP, use the chrono as a second time zone, etc). But I actually did a double take when I saw the image of you touching the moon rock - I have almost the EXACT same picture from my visit to Houston haha

    I originally bought the SM300 clasp, but ended up switching to the PO clasp. It is bulkier, but the length worked better for me. The SM300 clasp needed to be fully extended, or fully closed (depending on whether I added or removed a link). But the PO clasp added enough "in between" length to get a perfect fit for me that leaves a couple notches of adjustment in either direction that I can use during the day.

    I have owned the 9300 for almost 4 years now, and the crystal looks as good as the day I bought it. I have owned the Planet Ocean 8900 less than 6 months, and the AR is already scratched up pretty good. I don't know what specifically is different on the 9300's crystal, but I wish the PO had that going for it too!

    I am a bit of an Omega strap whore, so I'm adding a few of my favorite pics to contribute to this thread.

    And to answer L Tigre's questions...
    The indicies are NOT applied like on the Racing version - they are painted like the traditional Moonwatch.
    The hands are all white with green glowing lume.

    biRKBDD.jpg
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    oHqulih.jpg
    LNlQaB1.jpg
     
  19. Slowpoker

    Slowpoker Oct 10, 2018

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    I'm a sucker for leather personally, I cannot wrap my head around bracelets and how people can wear them so well. I've tried them on but I just can't get comfortable with them.

    That is a very nice speedy, looks great with the NATO and Leather straps and the black and white simply pop!

    Have you considered maybe trying a black and white NATO strap on it?
     
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  20. RoarLionsRoar

    RoarLionsRoar Oct 10, 2018

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    Thanks! Omega makes a black NATO with white piping on the rim (similar to my black NATO with grey edges - fourth pic)... That strap wasn't available when I purchased the black with grey strap, but I definitely would have gotten it instead if it was available. The white looks great with the white hands/markers. I've been close to buying it too, but I seem to wear it almost exclusively on the leather recently (i love the look and the comfort). I will probably cave in eventually and order it!