New Watch Alert: Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Limited Edition
On 12th March at 7pm, Omega released a new Speedmaster Moon Watch in what promises to be the first of many celebratory events for the year. 2019 marks 50 years of the 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing, which means it's a golden anniversary for Omega. Remember, the Speedmaster is not just a space-themed watch. It actually went to the moon. Together with NASA astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, the Omega Speedmaster made history. And that was how it got named the Moon Watch.
While Omega has made countless tribute watches related to the moon expedition and space exploration in general, it still manages to come up with a few surprises with this new piece. The Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Limited Edition takes us back to a special model in Moon Watch history: The Speedmaster BA145.022. It was a watch made specially for the astronauts in NASA's space program.
Crafted from 18K yellow gold coupled with a burgundy bezel which was unusual for the time, that watch was Omega's very first commemorative numbered edition. On the back it bore the inscription: "To mark man's conquest of space with time, through time, on time." There were only 1,014 of these made between 1969 and 1973.
The first and second piece went to US president at the time Richard Nixon and vice-president Spiro Agnew, although the watches were ultimately returned to Omega because of the US government's strict gifting protocol. NASA astronauts also received the watch, as did a number of Swiss watch industry leaders and politicians. The remainder, with a different engraved case back, was released to the public. It goes without saying that these watches are extremely rare and valuable on the vintage market today.
So the Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Limited Edition bears close resemblance to the Speedmaster BA145.022. But it also has several exciting upgrades.
First up, the material. Instead of standard 18K yellow gold, Omega has used a new gold alloy called 18K Moonshine Gold for the case, bracelet and dial. It exudes a paler hue than traditional 18K yellow gold and retains its colour and lustre perfectly over time.
Next, the bezel ring is made of burgundy coloured ceramic rather than anodised aluminium. Also, the number scale is done in Omega's unique Ceragold, as opposed to standard metallic grey in the older model.
The movement is also upgraded in the form of Calibre 3861 which is Master Chronometer-certified. This can be seen clearly through the sapphire case back – another distinction from the historical model. Calibre 3861 is a new movement released late last year in anticipation of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. It maintains the core structure of the Calibre 861 while introducing new-and-improved features such as the co-axial escapement, the silicon Si14 balance spring, a Moonshine Gold-plated main plate and bridges, as well as burgundy markings.
Finally, referencing the original packaging of the BA145.022, Omega issued a crater-inspired box for the new model. Its panels are made of grey ceramic with a 3D printed lunar surface. Because every panel is structured differently, no two boxes will be alike. Plus, the top panel of every box bears the image of the Sea of Tranquillity and the landing position of Apollo 11. Don't know what that looks like? Just quickly go and watch First Man – now.
A 1,014-piece limited edition, the Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Limited Edition is priced at CHF32,000 (without taxes)