It has been fifty years since humanity made its first daring steps on the moon – a moment that has forever changed history. Omega is honoring the first men to walk on the moon with a luxurious new take on their classic Speedmaster watch, the Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Limited Edition.
In 1964, NASA’s space program accelerated rapidly and they began to search officially for a watch that would be reliable on manned space flights. Deke Slayton, the Flight Crew Operations Director, contacted several watch manufacturers around the world to ask for a chronograph that could be worn on the wrist. Several companies, including Omega, subsequently submitted their timepieces that have undergone rigorous testing – including temperature shocks, impact and vibration tests, and vacuum testing.
Only the Omega Speedmaster “survived” these tests and was therefore on March 1, 1965 officially declared “flyable for all manned space missions”. From then on, Omega was the only watch supplier for NASA’s Human Space Flight Program. The Speedmaster served in the following Gemini program and of course the Apollo expedition to the Moon.
Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were the first humans to set foot on the lunar surface on July 21, 1969. Their moonwalk lasted only two and a half hours, but their achievement has forever marked the history of space exploration. It was this legendary moment when the Omega Speedmaster Professional became the first watch to be worn on the moon.
Omega pays homage to the past Speedmaster BA145.022 that was crafted from 18K yellow gold with a burgundy bezel, gifted at the 1969 Astronaut Appreciation Dinner — that particular watch had “to mark man’s conquest of space with time, through time, on time,” engraved at the caseback, and was gifted to the president at the time, Richard Nixon.
The Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Limited Edition stays true to the 1969 timepiece. The new watch’s burgundy bezel, vertically brushed dial, black onyx indexes, and black varnished hands are all inspired by BA145.022.
But this 50th anniversary Apollo 11 watch also sees numerous updates. The gold that Omega is using for its 42mm case and bracelet is a new 18K Moonshine™ gold alloy that is more pale than traditional 18K, and is more resilient to fading over time. The watch also features an eye-catching burgundy ceramic [ZrO 2 ] bezel with a tachymeter scale in Ceragold™; the scale retains the vintage 500 units per hour, and a marker dot over 90.
For all its bling, the watch’s most striking feature is a transparent caseback that reveals a manual-winding Master Chronometer calibre-3861 movement, which is based on the original’s calibre-861 movement.
The caseback’s inner ring is emblazoned with the words “Apollo 11 – 50th Anniversary” and “The First Watch Worn on the Moon,” and includes a partial image of the American continents opposite an actual piece of lunar meteorite.
Just like the original model, this Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Limited Edition is limited to 1,014 units only and will be available beginning July for CHF 32,000.