Best Omega Speedmasters Of The 1990sAugust 29, 2022
The Omega Speedmaster Reduced gets a bad rap for its ever-so-slightly-off proportions and finicky automatic movement. For a long time, it’s been ignored by collectors (myself included) and therefore relatively inexpensive to pick up. I figured if I’m going for a Speedmaster, it might as well be the professional model.
But there is one specific series of Omega Speedmaster Reduced watches that always caught my attention, and those are the models associated with F1 legend Michael Schumacher. Dozens of iterations of the Speedmaster Reduced have been made with his involvement, and they all boast at least one design detail that’s either loud or interesting, sometimes both.
While the case is downsized to 39mm from the usual 42mm of the professional, Omega turned the personality up to 11 for the Schumacher Speedies. Such an outsized legend deserves a well-executed watch.
Below are four totally out-there ’90s Speedmaster Reduced References connected to one of the greatest F1 drivers to have ever competed. Even without the Schumacher connection, they’re still visually fascinating and represent a forgotten era of the Omega Speedmaster that was simply glorious. And the best part about them? They haven’t gotten ludicrously expensive.
You can trace this Schumacher Speedy model’s roots back to the era of the caliber 321 Speedy with the reference 145.012-67 in the late ’50s, the first model to inject the color red into the seconds track on the dial. Later in the caliber 861 era, from the ’60s onwards, we saw the 145.022-69 boast maroon and orange in the seconds track along with the Speedmaster Mk II “Racing,” and then finally in 2004, the Japan-only Speedmaster Racing edition that recalled the dial from the MK II of the ’70s. All these racing edition models command big bucks now, but this Speedy Reduced is the affordable way into the racing dial world.
Schumacher raced for Ferrari from 1996 to 2006, where he won five of his seven world titles. If you were following F1 back then, you would have seen just how unstoppable Schumacher was. At one point he was the highest-paid athlete in the entire world. This Speedy honors his time at Ferrari with a Rosso Corsa-colored dial, or “race red” as it’s known, a specific shade of red that Ferrari has used on some of its most iconic road-legal and race cars. The yellow accents are also part of the Ferrari aesthetic and tie this piece to the much larger story of Ferrari’s dominance in the ’90s.
Like many F1 drivers, Schumacher got his start in karting, but that’s not what the “CART” logo on the six o’clock sundial is referencing. It’s the Championship Auto Racing Teams’ logo, a race series that ran from 1979-2003. The dial is the showstopper here, in a brilliant shade of blue. The reference also comes without the CART logo at six o’clock, but I think it adds a lot of character to the watch.
why I like this watch. It’s so of its time. Omega loves a good limited edition, and this one delivers. There’s absolutely no mistaking its race heritage with racing accents (like the 3518.50.00) and a big old checkered flag plastered across the dial. And it’s desaturated, too! This reference is so visually distinct that I just can’t help but love it.