Omega Speedmaster Professional 145.012 Vintage 1967 Vs Rolex Submariner 1680 Vintage 1979 I never thought I'd ever love a watch as much as my vintage Rolex 1680 Submariner, it was just perfect, the right feel, weight, size, style, everything about it spoke to me and about me and as much as I loved my other watches, the Sub was my go-to piece that no other could compare to. The 1680 has all the look and feel of the current Sub-Date, arguably the most recognised sports watch in the world, but with the ruggedness and tool watch feel that has been lost in recent decades. The thick, top-hat plexiglass crystal, sitting considerably higher than the bezel surrounding it, the faded bezel with its silvery tone looking almost like a car brake rotor, and the matte finish dial with maxi sized markers give that hint of 1970s ruggedness and utilitarianism that makes the vintage models stand out even among other Submariners. It isn't just "a" 1680 Submariner either, its "my" 1680 Submariner. I could look the world over and never find another just like this one. Being a very late production watch, around 1979-1980 chronologically and in the 6.1 million range of serials, this "white" Sub is considered one of the less valuable of the 1680s, but with its original fat-font faded or "ghost" bezel as people call them, people recognised it as my watch when they saw it, and it really showed its genuine age as a watch that had seen a lot of the world the hard way on the wrists of its previous owners. There was a lot to like about it in a practical sense as well. The watch was highly readable, the date was nice and clear, the bracelet although rattly and dated looking was more comfortable than it looks and at 39mm diameter it was the perfect size for anyone but basketball players and professional wrestlers. The accuracy of the Cal 1570 movement, coupled with the fairly efficient auto winding system and easy to manipulate crown also made it the most convenient, dependable and ideal watch in my collection for actual wear. I've even bought other watches that potentially could have replaced or been worn in rotation to the Submariner, the Watchco Seamaster 300 was the logical competitor, but after lusting after it for a year and finally owning it, it never made enough of an impression to displace the 1680 and in the end it was sold due to lack of use. Since buying my first Omega, and even the whole time wearing my Rolex every day, I've always had a desire to own an original Cal 321 Speedmaster. You can tell there is something special about some watches just by the sheer number and passion of its collectors. Submariners have a cult following unlike any watch in the Rolex professional range even though Datejusts and the like outnumber its sales dramatically, and that fanaticism can be seen in watch forums with references to James Bond, celebrity owners, and great feats accomplished by Sub wearers over the last 50 years. On the Omega side of the fence, the Speedmaster Pro is simply a legend, with fanatical owners and collectors found in equal strength the world over. Since 1957, the Speedmaster has been the standard for sports chronographs and of those, the Speedmaster with Calibre 321 movements, discontinued in 1968 are considered some of the most special stainless steel Omegas to ever leave Bienne. The hard part though is finding one that is in good shape, original, and at a reasonable price, as generally the best you can aim for is two out of the three requirements. This is probably why it took me almost two years to locate a Speedmaster Pro to call my own, but at last I finally found it. My choice of model was a 1967 production Reference 145.012, arguably the most common of Cal 321 Speedmasters which offered me the greatest chance at finding one I liked. The watch isn't perfect, it has later model hands, which I will be replacing when I get the chance, and the case has two pinhead sized dents in the side, but what it had going for it was a near-perfect "dot above 90" bezel, original to the watch and a dial that seems just about flawless. In addition, the movement seems to be in pristine condition and is keeping exceptional time. Rather than sending it out to be serviced immediately as I do most vintage watches I decided to try wearing this one first, sizing the bracelet, winding and setting it and seeing how it went. Its now been about a week since then and I can honestly say that I haven't worn any other watch, and here's why: The Speedmaster is the most comfortable watch I own by far, sitting lower to the wrist than a Submariner, with a bracelet (Ref 1171) that rattles about as much as the Rolex equivalent (Ref 93150) but with an additional point of flex in each link, it just feels better on the wrist. The watch wears slightly larger than the Submariner at 42mm but it in no way looks wrong or appears too big, if anything it makes the Submariner look small and a little odd-proportioned by comparison. The truly surprising thing for me was the movement. This is a slow beat, manual wind, non-chronometer, unadjusted movement from 1967 with no service history, which had me expecting accuracy within several minutes per day, but staggeringly this watch is currently keeping +1 second per day on the wrist, and this includes sleeping while wearing it. The chronograph mechanism is perfect as well, with no "hour creep" and it resets perfectly back to zero when required. I was slightly concerned, never having had a manual wind watch before that it might be cumbersome and frustrating having to wind it regularly, but the winding action in this watch is so smooth and the crown so easy to grip that it simply isn't an issue in the slightest. In terms of wearing it daily, the domed hesalite crystal does pick up scratches, but is easy to deal with using polywatch, or toothpaste, and due to its domed construction it doesn't have edges to chip or damage that can't be repaired like the 1680 Submariner's top-hat. The dial and hands are possibly the easiest to read and most visible of any watch I've ever owned and the lack of a date window is not something I seem to miss at all given my iPhone is always with me. I don't miss the Submariner anymore, I still have it but for the first time I'm actually starting to wonder if I could live without it, perhaps if it were easy to sell or worth more on the used market I would already have it listed for sale, or maybe in time I'll swing back and start giving the Rolex some use again but in the meantime, after finally having both of them, a vintage example of both of the most highly regarded and talked about sports watches on the market, I've chosen the Speedmaster.