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J.P. Morales - November 2023

The Omega Speedmaster 'Tintin':
A Story of Unfulfilled Collaboration and Investment Triumph

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The Omega Speedmaster 'Tintin' - Photo credit: Omega

When Omega introduced the Speedmaster reference 311., it wasn't just launching another timepiece; it was unveiling a story - a narrative woven with elements of adventure, collaboration, and a touch of the unexpected. This model, often referred to as the “Tintin” Speedmaster, holds a unique place in the Omega archives, marked by its distinctive design and intriguing backstory.

The Unusual Genesis of a Racing Speedmaster

Originally, this Speedmaster was conceptualized as a collaborative piece between Omega and the owners of the Tintin franchise. Its defining feature, the red and white checkered track encircling the dial, was a nod to the famous rocket in Hergé’s comic books “Destination Moon” and “Explorers on the Moon.” In its prototype form, this watch even featured the iconic Tintin rocket on the dial, a vivid homage to the adventurous spirit of the comics.

However, this collaboration was not meant to be. The publishers of Tintin didn't agree to the collaboration, leading Omega to rethink its strategy. Jean-Claude Monachon, Omega’s Head of Product Development, explained that the decision to repackage the watch was linked to the Tintin character and the desire to retain a semblance of the original concept.

A Tribute Repackaged

In the absence of an official collaboration, Omega removed the rocket from the dial and repurposed the design into what they called a new “Racing” model. While the rocket was omitted, the red and white checkered minute track remained, a subtle reminder of the watch’s original inspiration. The case back, initially planned to be special for the Tintin edition, also saw a change. It retained the classic Moonwatch case back design but distinguished itself with red lacquer filling its famous inscription.

Limited Production, Lasting Legacy

The Speedmaster 'Racing' Tintin is not just another limited edition; it's a narrative piece. With only one known prototype featuring the full rocket imagery and a special case back, the release version still managed to retain a touch of its Tintin roots. Produced between 2013 and 2016, with an estimated 1500-2000 pieces made, this Speedmaster variant had a production life of just two and a half years.

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Photo credit: Omega 

The Investment Perspective

Today, the Omega Speedmaster 311. stands as a unique collector’s item. Its relatively short production run, coupled with its intriguing backstory and distinctive design, have made it a sought-after model in the secondary market. The Tintin Speedmaster is more than just a timepiece; it’s a fragment of what could have been a groundbreaking collaboration, making it an interesting conversation piece and a worthy investment.

As watch enthusiasts and investors, it’s these stories that captivate us - the tales of design, collaboration, and the paths not taken. The Omega Speedmaster Tintin, with its checkered history and distinctive design, is a prime example of how the value of a watch transcends its functionality, embodying the rich narratives that make watch collecting an endlessly fascinating pursuit.

Investment Analysis: 'Tintin' vs. Standard Speedmaster

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In the world of watch investments, the story of the 'Tintin' Speedmaster provides a compelling contrast to the standard Hesalite Speedmaster's market journey. When the 'Tintin' was first launched, it was priced at $4,650, just about $150 more than the standard Speedmaster of the time. While the latter has always been revered for its space heritage and robust build, its market value has experienced a more typical trajectory, often retaining value but not seeing the dramatic appreciation characteristic of the 'Tintin'.

In fact, a standard Hesalite Speedmaster purchased in 2013 might have maintained or slightly increased in value, but it's unlikely to have experienced the substantial appreciation seen in the 'Tintin' model, which now commands a price of $12,940 in the secondary market. This stark difference in appreciation underscores the unique allure of the 'Tintin', driven by its limited production, intriguing backstory, and distinctive aesthetic features, compared to the more widely available and standard models of the Speedmaster.

The 'Tintin' Speedmaster's investment story is a testament to the fact that in the watch market, rarity, narrative, and unique design elements can significantly influence a timepiece's value, making it a standout piece not just for collectors, but also for savvy investors seeking pieces with strong appreciation potential.

For those intrigued by the story of the Omega Speedmaster Tintin and its investment potential, visit us at Investment Watches. We specialize in curating timepieces that are not just mechanisms of timekeeping, but storied jewels of history

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