The Steel OMEGA Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Limited Edition (Hands-On)
After the Moonshine gold edition, the Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary returns in steel!
Earlier this year, Omega introduced a new limited edition of the Speedmaster… but not any kind of edition, since this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Moon Landing and thus, the 50th anniversary of a Speedmaster worn on the wrist of astronauts while walking on the Moon! And while we thought this Moonshine Gold version was the end of the story, we were wrong. So… Say hello to the OMEGA Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Limited Edition, in STEEL!
In March 2019, Omega presented a (very appealing) limited edition of the Speedmaster to mark the half-century anniversary of the Moonwatch’s Lunar landing, with the Moonshine Gold and burgundy Speedy 310.60.42.50.99.001, a watch available in just 1,014 pieces and priced at CHF 32,000 (excl. VAT)… Price apart, the watch was inspired by the vintage reference BA145.022 produced from 1969 to 1973, easily recognizable thanks to its full yellow case/bracelet/dial and its burgundy bezel.
This new version was certainly vintage-inspired but nonetheless innovative, with its unprecedented Moonshine gold alloy and a dramatic evolution on the classic hand-wound Speedmaster movement with the incorporation of the calibre 3861, a Master Chronometer version of the calibre 1861. And while we thought that the 50-year celebrations were limited to this watch, we were wrong: Omega has a new watch to continue the party.
The Steel Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary
To commemorate the historic 50th anniversary of Apollo 11, when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped off the Eagle to become the first humans to stand on the Moon, Omega introduces a second limited edition in steel – and thus more accessible…
The basic principles of the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch are kept alive with this new reference 310.20.42.50.01.001. The case still measures 42mm in diameter and retains the classic asymmetric Speedy design, with its protected crown and pushers, lyre lugs and alternate polished and brushed surfaces. New to the model, however, is the bezel that is made from polished 18k Moonshine Gold (an exclusive new patent-pending alloy with a paler hue than traditional yellow gold). The bezel ring itself is polished black ceramic with a Ceragold tachymeter scale – and for aficionados, it’s a dot-over-90 bezel.
The dial of the OMEGA Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Limited Edition Steel retains the classic layout of the Moonwatch, however, it introduces new colours and specific “commemorative” decoration. The dial features two distinct zones, including a central varnished grey zone and an outer blackened sector for the minute track. Moonshine gold has also been used for the applied and bevelled hour markers, the vintage applied Omega logo and the hands – except for the central chronograph seconds hand, which is PVD-treated in Moonshine Gold. All the dial inscriptions are also gold coloured.
However, these details are not what truly makes the Steel Speedmaster Apollo 11 special. For instance, the hour marker at 11 o’clock has been replaced by two “1” markings in 18k Moonshine Gold – a clear reference to the space mission. More notably, the 9 o’clock subdial features the famous image of Buzz Aldrin climbing down the ladder onto the lunar surface. This sub-dial is crafted from 18k Moonshine Gold and is blackened and laser-engraved.
Powering the OMEGA Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary is the new hand-wound Co-Axial Master Chronometer Calibre 3861, an evolution of the iconic Calibre 1861. Now crafted with Co-Axial technology, a stop-second function, a silicon Si14 balance spring and superior anti-magnetic innovation, the Speedmaster Moonwatch has now been able to reach the Master Chronometer standard. For the rest, the movement is similar to the older 1861, with the same architecture and 48-hour power reserve. The movement is rhodium-plated.
The caseback of the OMEGA Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary features, as you can imagine, references to the Moon Landing. The blackened decorative inner caseback is a laser-engraved footprint representing humankind’s first step on the moon. Neil Armstrong’s legendary quote: “THAT’S ONE SMALL STEP FOR A MAN, ONE GIANT LEAP FOR MANKIND” is also visible in gold-plated letters.
New to this watch is an unprecedented bracelet with a vintage look, inspired by the one featured on the 4th generation Speedmaster ST 105.012-65 (the one worn on the Moon). It has much flatter links with polished outer links and a brushed central link. it is also adorned with a vintage Ω on the clasp. An additional Velcro strap in blackened cork with golden marks is also included. “This innovative design is a salute to the Apollo-era “boost protective cover” – a fiberglass structure covered with thick cork ablator which fitted over the Command Module like a glove, keeping the crew of the Saturn V rocket safe from the intense heat produced at launch,” says Omega.
The OMEGA Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Limited Edition Steel will be delivered in a NASA-style presentation box. The box includes two mission patches (50th anniversary/Apollo 11), two engraved plates (landing site coordinates/landing site and time) as well as the spare strap and strap-changing tool. Best of all, it houses the ultimate display stand – a Lunar Module.
The Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary reference 310.20.42.50.01.001 is limited to 6,969 pieces and will be priced at EUR 8,400 or CHF 8,900. More details at www.omegawatches.com.
It’s all a bit…overdone isn’t it? Borderline kitsch
Omega limited editions. As common as cheeseburgers.
I don’t understand those who comment saying: ” its overdone, not for me its too busy”. These must be people bitter at the price surly? I know its all down to personal taste. but what you have here is accentually a grey black and gold steel watch. nothing out of the ordinary, not an abundance of wild colours. then you have normal Speedmaster battens and chronograph on the face and the normal Speedmaster tachymeter scale on the bezel.. So whats too busy? Whether I like it or not is irrelevant. I just cant see how a closed case back, and grey Speedmaster with gold accents is Overdone? Was the snoopy overdone with the extra scale inside the tachymeter, the glow in the dark snoopy on the seconds indicator. Or even the Silver snoopy on the back set in enamel? Nope because it wasn’t over $8000. There will be people with their opinion that wanted something more simple i’m sure. But majority are just peeved its over $8000..
I am not “bitter” at the price. I have a watch secured with a deposit at my AD. Considering the watch as a bi-colour Speedmaster it is actually quite well priced – around £1000 less than the Speedmaster Racing bi-colour in Sedna Gold and stainless steel. The Racing is a non-Limited Edition on a leather strap so overall a good comparator despite being slightly bigger and an automatic if just comparing bi-colour Speedmasters. So in those terms the price of the Apollo 11 Limited Edition is not actually too bad. The problem is that it is “over done”. The “11” on the hour markers is a reasonable detail but not really necessary. The gold is suitably done for a Golden/50th anniversary. The case back is also OK as it is not going to be seen too often. No there is a bigger issue – the picture of Buzz Aldrin’ rear end on the running seconds sub-dial. It is silly and tasteless and in a part of the dial you will look at a lot so once seen it will not be unseen. It is kitschy and tacky. There are great elements to the watch such as the DON bezel, the vintage applied Omega logo, the bracelet. But for every excellent detail there are the stupid ones, the rear end of Buzz being the main one but also the clasp on the bracelet is another. It is very flimsy and cheap feeling with no micro adjustment. As a result I am debating whether to cancel my order and release the watch or if I do buy it then I will only do so to sell it. This seems to be a bit of a waste though could result in profit. One thing is certain I will not wear this watch as Omega went too far.
Hats off to Omega for accurately portraying a historic and pivotal event of US history. These details are representations based on the actual photos and work produced by the astronauts, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin in their first lunar landing and exploration. Omega has even captured the color of the Moon in the watch face color, being largely composed of basalt. While the watch is pricey, it is appreciated by those of us who grew up, worked and lived with NASA and the space program..I can assure my fellow respondents that technological advances would not have been pushed had it not been for the work by NASA and its team of professionals. You are enjoying the technological spin-offs of this pioneering effort.
Thank You Omega for respectfully and tastefully commemorating the memory.