" Two mighty torches of flame like the wings of a yellow bird of fire flew over a field, covered a field with a brilliant yellow bloomings of flame, and in the midst of it, white as a ghost, white as the white of Melville's Moby Dick, white as the shrine of the Madonna in half the churches of the world, this slim angelic mysterious ship of stages rose without sound out of its incarnantion of flame and began to ascend slowly into the sky, slow as Melville's Leviathan might swim, slowly as we might swim upward in a dream looking for the air............."
Norman Mailer describing the lift-off of Apollo 11.
I went with the Hexalite for three reasons:
> I'm really fond of how light plays with the Hexalite. The curves bring a lot of character to the dial. Much less clinical, more organic look about it.
> I couldn't get past the 'milky ring" thing.
> If God forbid you really do a number on the crystal damage-wise, the cost of a Hexalite part is considerably less than the sapphire equivalent. Those cost will come right out of your pocket since a smashed crystal is unlikely to be covered as a warranty item.
At the end of the day however, it's your money and you're the one that will be looking at it for as long as you own it. Good luck.
I've also gone through the "sapphire vs hesalite" phase before buying the Speedmaster professional and in the end went with the hesalite.
When I made my choice I did not care about which was more "original/authentic" as I see both of them as a watch that has a connection to the Speedmaster model that went to the moon. Because of that reason I was actually planning to go with the sapphire sandwich version. I liked the practicality of the sapphire and the display caseback was a big draw.
But when I saw and got to compare the watches, I had a strong preference for the way the hesalite looked. Don't get me wrong, it is not something you see across a room and it is fairly subtle. But when appreciating the watch on my own wrist, I just really enjoyed the hesalite a lot more. On top of that the hesalite was the more affordable option, so I went against my plans and picked up the hesalite instead.
The problem was that people had scared me so much about how easily the hesalite scratches, that I actually pulled into a gas station on the way back, called my girl to discuss my purchase (!) and was considering calling the seller and exchanging it for the sapphire. After about an hour of inner turmoil I settled down and decided to keep it. But the worry about scratching the hesalite remained in the first few months.
Now, a year or so later, the hesalite Speedmaster Professional has become my daily watch. I even sleep with the thing on and don't baby it whatsoever. The hesalite in the end turned out to be a complete non-issue for me. Yes, it routinely picks up hairline scratches that you can see if you tilt the glass in a specific way under some light. If that is an issue then you should indeed go for the sapphire. But I learned those don't bother me at all. I used polywatch twice so far. Once after about 4 months when I had scuffed it along a wall. And then about 8 months after that. Both times polishing took about 30 seconds or so.
I have also come to appreciate the vintage charm of the Speedmaster. Perhaps even more so now that I have worn it for a while and the case shows some wear (like I said, it is my daily, I don't baby it and I travel, spend time around horses etc.). I think the hesalite just complements that aesthetic in a way that the sapphire does not. In fact, since owning the Speedmaster I have looked at and picked up more watches with domed hesalite/plexiglass as I learned to appreciate it and am really digging the way it looks an feels. (The Timex Marlin is a similar watch in which the material of the crystal adds to the authenticity of the look).
That said. I still think the display caseback is really cool to have. My 'perfect' Speedmaster Professional would definitely be the version with the hesalite front and sapphire back. It really is a shame they don't make those any more and you have to give up the display caseback if you want hesalite.
It is hard to make the comparison of the look through a picture. But I think the following picture gives kind of a fair comparison without exaggerating the difference in look.
There is also this video, which gives the clearest side by side comparison I have found
You'll see that the difference is far from dramatic. Yet at the same time, I can personally see why some find the difference significant enough to opt for the hesalite.
Last edited by GrimFandango; July 29th, 2019 at 17:12.
I'm struggling with the same decision... I'm leaning towards the Sapphire Sandwich
I too am struggling with the decision. I showed the comparison to my wife and briefly educated her on the differences. She said the sapphire-boxed dome made the watch look cheap. Lol!!!
Any sapphire(or hesalite) sandwich owners find that the movement gets magnetized easily?
Another great thing about the hesalite version is the really cool caseback with both text and the logo. I used to have the hesalite/sapphire sandwich and after the first couple of days hardly ever looked at the open caseback.
I’ve had old watches magnetized, but not the Speedy. This is a surprise considering that it’s a 60’s movement. Perhaps Omega has been quietly updating the materials?
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So I'm going to vote for "Helsalight" here. Dropped it on porcelain tile and cracked the crystal. It was only $95 for the replacement OEM crystal.
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