“That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” These words from Neil Armstrong still resonate in the heart of everyone on earth, even 45 years after the Apollo 11 team landed on the Moon. Of course, Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins had tons of the best equipment with them but the one that clearly appeals most to us is the small, rudimentary, basic, old-fashioned mechanical Omega Speedmaster strapped onto each of their wrists. Omega can be proud of this history; and to celebrate the 45th anniversary of Apollo 11, they introduced a new limited edition of the Speedmaster Professional. Today’s photos, made by our friends at SpeedyWatches, makes a perfect way to celebrate this monumental milestone in men’s history.
Today, July 20th 2014, marks the 45th anniversary of the iconic lunar landing where famous astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins took humankind’s first steps on the moon. Everyone can imagine how crazy these moments were – of course for the astronauts, and for NASA teams, but also for every person in front of their TV screen, looking at these 3 guys jumping across the lunar surface!
Although Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong was first to set foot on the moon, he left his 105.012 Speedmaster inside the Lunar Module as a backup because the LM’s electronic timer had malfunctioned – this once again proves the trust astronauts had in their Omegas. Buzz Aldrin elected to wear his and so his Speedmaster became the first watch to be worn on the moon.
After the Apollo 11 mission, Buzz Aldrin said that “It was optional to wear while we were walking on the surface of the moon … few things are less necessary when walking around on the moon than knowing what time it is in Houston, Texas. Nonetheless, being a watch guy, I decided to strap the Speedmaster onto my right wrist around the outside of my bulky spacesuit.” And how glad we are he did enjoy wearing it! Unfortunately, Aldrin’s Speedmaster ref. 145.012 was lost (or maybe stolen) during shipping when he sent it to the Smithsonian Institute.
Such a momentous history has, ever since then, been highlighted by Omega and it is no surprise that the Bienne-based brand introduces a new limited edition for this 45th Anniversary. Although Omega usually uses a slightly modified Speedmaster Professional ‘Moonwatch’ ref. 3570.50 for commemorative models, this year they went a step further with a highly modified one: new case, new materials, new dial, new hands and new strap. Nothing, except the movement and the shape, is similar to the original! We do believe that the new Speedmaster Lunar Dust would have been a nice commemorative watch too, but a ‘Moonwatch’ is clearly more coherent on an historical basis.
For the first time, a ‘Moonwatch’ uses titanium for its case, crown, pushers and caseback. Omega decided to use Grade-2 titanium instead of their usual, stainless steel looking Grade-5 titanium. It gives the watch a darker look and combined with the full-brushed finish, a more toolish aspect. Furthermore, Grade-2 titanium is known to get darker with time and so every piece will get a unique patina, depending on the way each respective owner uses it. Talking about design, it has the exact same dimensions – 42mm – and shape as a ‘Moonwatch’ but this time has a sapphire crystal and not the famous ‘hesalite’ (Plexiglas). Same goes for the movement; Omega still relies on the classical manual 1861 Calibre. Knowing how reliable, precise and nice this movement is, we can’t blame Omega for going old-school with it.
The dial is also a huge point of interest here. As you will notice, all the inscriptions and markers – except the 12 rose gold hour markers – are not applied or painted but part of the dial itself. Omega uses a special laser that removes material to create reliefs. Then the dial is treated with a dark grey textured PVD coating. It creates a very nice contrast with the red gold hands and indexes.
The tachymeter bezel keeps its classical design but now comes in 18k red Sedna gold – Omega’s answer to Rolex’s Everose Gold. Both are long lasting alloys and Omega’s gold presents a very nice, warm colour that pops out in the context of the Speedmaster Apollo 11 45th Anniversary as a piece entire. This precious metal contrasts well with the cold and raw colour of the Grade-2 titanium.
The last novelty goes to the strap. Most of the ‘Speedy’ collectors use (poor and cheap) NATO straps to fit their ‘Moonwatch’. Omega decided to have their own NATO-inspired straps. And the result is a very qualitative one, made of green fabric. It is thick, nicely finished and suits this limited edition very well. (Ps. those straps are available in all the official boutiques – in several fabric colours but also in leather – in case you want to add it to your own Omega Speedmaster.)
The Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 45th Anniversary is limited to an apropos 1969 pieces and comes at a retail price of € 5.740 Euros (some say it’s already sold out.) Thanks to Ace jewelers and SpeedyWatches for letting us use their photos.
Ps. HAPPY BIRTHDAY APOLLO 11 and thank you for making us dream!