The Speedmaster needs no introduction. Originally conceived as a racing chronograph, it nevertheless became forever associated with the space race after the reference 105.012 was worn by Buzz Aldrin on the Moon in 1969. However, as popular as the Moonwatch might be, there are countless variants and limited editions that are as worthy of attention as the acclaimed “Man on the Moon”. Smaller in size and powered by an automatic movement, the Reduced is one of such variants. First introduced in 1988 with the reference 3510.00, today we will be taking a look at the upgraded reference 3539.50 (Reduced II) which sports a cleaner dial, increased water resistance and a vastly improved clasp.
Before diving further into the review, let’s take a look at the specs first:
- Full reference: 3539.50.00
- Movement: Omega 3220 (ETA 2892 as base, chrono module Dubois-Dépraz 2020 on top)
- Power reserve: 40 hours
- Case size: 39 mm
- Sapphire crystal
- Lug-to-lug: 44 mm
- Lug width: 18 mm
- Height: 13 mm
Reduced II First Impressions
When I first received the Reduced, the first thing that I noticed is the size difference compared to the current Moonwatch. It felt much smaller than the reported 39 mm case size. According to today’s standards, it could easily be dismissed as a ladies’ watch. Nothing further from the truth. After exclusively wearing it for a week, I grew fond of the size which, I will have to admit, goes perfect with my 6-inch wrists. The only deviation from its bigger brother is the placement of the pushers and crown. Since the Omega 3220 is a combination of two movements, the crown sits a little lower than the pushers. The exquisite finish of the case matches that of the Moonwatch, with alternating brushed and polished edges at the lugs.
Dial & Crown
Another important difference between the Reduced and the Moonwatch can be found in the dial. At first glance, they look almost identical, but upon further inspection, one can notice that the space between the sub-dials is quite different. Even more apparent is the 3 o’clock placement of the small seconds sub-dial on the Reduced versus the original placement at 9 o’clock on the Moonwatch. The Omega 3220 movement itself is very precise and can keep track of time for up to 12 hours. As with all choronographs, though, its best not to operate the pushers underwater. The watch can be manually winded using the signed crown, in case you would like to stick to the more traditional feel of the “Man on the Moon”.
Potential Reduced buyers should carefully consider whether they prefer a hesalite or sapphire crystal. The original Reduced 3510.50 used a hesalite crystal, which is much more prone to scratches than sapphire, but gives the dial a warm appearance that sapphire cannot match. Plus, the distortions achieved by the hesalite version are arguably more beautiful than the ones on the sapphire upgraded version. Advantages of the sapphire crystal include a 100m water resistance rating, and a nearly perfect resistance to scratches.
Wrist Comfort – Functionality
The bracelet is as comfortable as the one on the Bond Seamaster, widely considered one of the most comfortable bracelets in the business. Very similar in looks to the President-style Rolex bracelet, it is quite easy to fit owing to its small links. It has a very vintage vibe that matches perfectly with the case. Just for fun, though, I decided to replace the bracelet with a Hirsch brown leather strap, making it very similar to the First Omega in Space, another famous watch from the Speedmaster line. Owing to the monochrome look of the dial, this watch is a strap monster and can be fashionably paired with leather, nato, and perlon straps.
Being a chronograph, the 3539.50 is not required to display an impressive amount of luminescence, unlike a diver watch. However, the amount of SuperLuminova used here is quite adequate, and makes for a very elegant look in the dark. Do note that the maximum brightness fades fairly quickly, though.
On the back of the case we can observe a simple design. The small hippocampus graces the center of the caseback, while the Omega anti-counterfeit hologram is etched on the edge. Nothing to write home about here.
The push-button clasp is a classic example of the 90’s and 00’s Omega style, with the text “Omega Speedmaster” engraved on it. Nowadays, perhaps for cost reasons, most Omega watches will display only “Omega” on the clasp.
All in all, this is a great alternative to the more expensive Moonwatch, especially for those of us firmly established in the small wrist size club. Being a discontinued model, a potential buyer would have to look in the used market. Prices for the earlier hesalite version can go up to $1800 for a reasonable condition model, while the latter sapphire version can be found for up to $2500, which, in my opinion, is a pretty fair price to pay for the automatic version of the most famous watch in modern history.