On the golden anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing of 1969, Omega has released a commemorative Moon Watch that no true collector can resist. The Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Limited Edition arrives in full solid gold complete with a number of exciting modern touches. It is a throwback to a special piece made in 1969 specially to honour the NASA astronauts and all other parties involved in the space mission, as well as several Swiss industry leaders and politicians.
That watch, named the Speedmaster BA145.022, was crafted from 18K yellow gold and curiously paired with a burgundy bezel ring. On its back, the watch was immortalised with this inscription: “to mark man’s conquest of space with time, through time, on time.”
It housed the Omega Calibre 861—precisely the one that went to the moon—and was the manufacture’s very first commemorative and numbered edition. Only 1,014 have ever been made from 1969 through to 1973. Incidentally, the very first piece was presented to US president at the time Richard Nixon. Nixon however returned the watch eventually due to the US government’s strict gifting protocol.
As it is inspired by the Speedmaster BA145.022, the Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Limited Edition bears a close resemblance to its forebear. Thankfully Omega would not simply issue a new-old watch lock, stock and barrel. So the modern remake offers a plethora of upgrades. They include a new gold alloy called Moonshine Gold, a ceramic bezel ring instead of regular anodised aluminium, a Ceragold number scale, and a new and improved movement inspired by the historical calibre.
Premiering in this timepiece, Moonshine Gold is a unique new alloy with a paler hue than traditional 18K yellow gold. It also offers higher colour and lustre retention over time.
The burgundy ceramic bezel ring with a Ceragold tachymeter scale was made via a special process that’s patent pending.
Where this model really differs from the Speedmaster BA145.022 is its see-through case back that comes with a decorative inner ring also made of Moonshine Gold. More importantly, it is powered by the Master Chronometer Calibre 3861. Inspired by the historical Calibre 861, this in-house movement was released late last year in anticipation of the Apollo 11’s 50th anniversary.
Like Calibre 861, it operates on a Lemania base. Unlike the Calibre 861, it has a co-axial escapement, a silicon Si14 balance spring, and Moonshine Gold-plated plates and bridges. The stunning movement architecture alone makes this watch a feast for the eyes.
Priced at CHF32,000 (before taxes) the Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Limited Edition is delivered in a unique crater-inspired box. With grey ceramic panels made via 3D printing, it is eerily similar to the moon surface. In addition, every panel is structured differently so no two boxes will be alike. Lastly, the top panel of every box is printed with an image of the Sea of Tranquillity and the landing position of Apollo 11.