On July 16th, 1969 started one of the most incredible journeys of mankind. Onboard the Apollo 11 spacecraft were 3 men – Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins. On July 21st, 1969, the Apollo Lunar Module landed on the Moon. A few hours later, 2 of these men will make history, as stepping onto the lunar surface. What was on the wrists of these astronauts? A black-dial sports chronograph made by Omega: the Speedmaster, a watch soon to be named the “Moonwatch” – see here how the Speedmaster has been selected by NASA, in the words of the guy who tested it, James Ragan. The legend was born and this watch became an icon.
As we’re about to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Moon Landing, we’ve selected the 5 coolest Omega Speedmaster watches currently produced… Because you have to wear one on July 21st!
Note 1: we’ve selected 5 NEW (in opposition to vintage) watches, which can be ordered now at Omega boutiques. You can, of course, go for vintage watches too. Note 2: this selection is based on a consensus among the MONOCHROME team, based on our preferences. Feel free to comment if you have other favourite Speedmaster watches.
First and Foremost – The Omega Speedmaster Professional “Moonwatch”
If you have to have only one Omega Speedmaster, it has to be the classic Professional Moonwatch 318.104.22.168.01.005 – the one with hesalite crystal, not the sapphire crystal model. In short, this watch is the not-so-modified version of the Speedmaster worn by Astronauts in 1969 (only minimal evolutions on the movement and design). Clean, utilitarian, versatile, perfectly proportioned, historically relevant, legendary, equipped with almost the same movement as in 1969, almost the same dial and case… It is one of these watches that every collector should have. Best of all, it is also a great deal and is easily available! The one!
Quick facts: 42mm diameter stainless steel asymmetrical case – hesalite crystal – hand-wound calibre 1861 with chronograph – 50m water resistant – available on steel bracelet or leather strap (Velcro and NATO straps included in the box) – Reference 322.214.171.124.01.005 – EUR 4,700 (EUR 4,600 on leather) – also available with sapphire crystal top and caseback at EUR 5,500
Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Steel Limited Edition
As you would expect, Omega is celebrating the 50th-anniversary of the Moon Landing and Apollo 11 with dedicated watches. Part of the lot is first a steel Speedy based on the Moonwatch… But with more than a few modifications. Visually, we have a Moonshine gold bezel, a special dial with gold elements and patch in the small seconds and a vintage-inspired steel bracelet. Inside, it’s a brand new movement, the co-axial, Master Chronometer version of the hand-wound movement, the calibre 3861. A special caseback and a cool box with goodies complete this Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary, (not so) limited to 6,969 pieces. More details here.
Quick facts: 42mm diameter stainless steel asymmetrical case, Moonshine gold bezel – sapphire crystal – Calibre Omega 3861, hand-wound chronograph, in-house, Master Chronometer certified, Co-axial – 50m water resistant – 3-link steel bracelet inspired by vintage Speedmaster watches – Reference 310.20.42.50.01.001 – Limited to 6,969 pieces – EUR 9,100
Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Moonshine Gold Limited Edition
In addition to the steel model above, Omega launched a second Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Limited Edition, this time in full gold – and clearly, a stunning iteration. The case of this watch, which is inspired by the vintage ref. BA145.022, is made of 18k Moonshine gold, a specific alloy with paler hue than traditional 18K yellow gold, combined with equally coloured dial. The final touch is given by the burgundy ceramic bezel (another reference to the BA145.022). Behind a decorated sapphire caseback is the calibre 3861 (in-house, Master Chronometer certified, Co-axial) with specific Moonshine gold-plated treatment. The Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Moonshine Gold is worn on a full gold bracelet. Shiny and bold, but oh so beautiful. More details here.
Quick facts: 42mm diameter Moonshine gold asymmetrical case with burgundy ceramic bezel – sapphire crystal – Calibre Omega 3861, hand-wound chronograph, in-house, Master Chronometer certified, Co-axial – 50m water resistant – 3-link Moonshine gold bracelet – Reference 310.60.42.50.99.001 – Limited to 1,014 pieces – EUR 32,000
Omega Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon Apollo 8
Another space-related watch, another Apollo-themed model, but this time not for Apollo 11… Still, if you’re looking for a bold, modern and different Speedmaster, the Dark Side of the Moon Apollo 8 has to be considered. This version launched last year is the first Moonwatch in a full ceramic case – the “Dark Side of the Moon” theme. The hand-wound calibre 1861 has been highly opened and decorated with Moon texture (front and back), while white and yellow accents give this piece a sporty, contemporary look. The boldest of the Speedmaster Moonwatch models currently in production. But still Moon-themed! More details here.
Quick facts: 44.25mm diameter black ceramic asymmetrical case – sapphire crystal – Calibre Omega 1869 hand-wound chronograph – 50m water resistant – black leather with yellow stitching – Reference 3126.96.36.199.01.001 – non-limited special edition – EUR 9,200
Omega Speedmaster CK2998 Pulsometer Limited Edition
This fifth model is certainly not the most Moon-related of the lot (to say the least)… But, it is a Speedmaster, it is hand-wound, it features a straight lug case and it comes with one heck of a good-looking Panda dial and ceramic pulsometer bezel… So yes, this Speedmaster CK2998 Pulsometer is one of the best examples of the Speedy currently available, with its racing style and smaller case. And don’t be worried, we won’t blame you for wearing this not-so-accurate but greatly designed model on July 21st! More details here.
Quick facts: 39.70mm diameter stainless steel symmetrical case – sapphire crystal – calibre Omega 1861 hand-wound chronograph – 50m water resistant – black perforated leather strap with white stitching – reference 3188.8.131.52.02.001 – limited to 2,998 models – EUR 5,500
Extra – Moonwatch Only
The definitive guide to the Omega Speedmaster Professional. All the references explained, all the components explored (dials, cases, bezels, movements, hands, bracelets…), the history, the background… With over 500 pages and more than 1,000 illustrations, “Moonwatch Only” is the book to get if you want to start collecting the Omega Speedmaster. A must-have.
Quick facts: ISBN 978-2-940506-03-3 (English Edition) – authors: Grégoire Rossier and Anthony Marquié – 500 Pages – over 1,000 illustrations – Format: 25cm x 30.7cm – Price: USD 200 – CHF 175 – EUR 175