The Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 45th Anniversary Limited Edition
To celebrate an icon is always a hard task. The Omega Speedmaster follows this rule too: this is one of those cases where the model name, Speedmaster, is so powerful to represent almost a brand name as it happened with the Vespa scooter, that time ago has abandoned the first name Piaggio and gave life to an independent brand.
Watchmakers at Bienne have always taken much care of their most iconic timepiece and have released over the last 45 years an endless series of special edition watches but 2014 has marked, in my opinion, a turning point. The last, in chronological order, was the launch of a special presentation box to retail their three manual wind references (HERE is our in-depth review). While the first was the introduction, at Baselworld, of a special edition Moonwatch that keeps of the original one just the soul and the 42mm wide case size.
Omega revamps the classic Moonwatch by introducing for the first time, with the Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 45th Anniversary Limited Edition, a series of features reserved until now to other brand's collections.
The outcome is that Grade 2 Titanium, Sedna Gold and ceramics appear simultaneously on a Moonwatch. Grade 2 Titanium has been adopted for case making as Omega was willing to reproduce an Apollo 11 lunar module's matte grey color. The Sedna Gold, an Omega's patent, has been used for making the ring that surrounds the bezel, whose tachymetric scale is a matte black ceramic disc.
The big news comes with the dial making that's miles away from any traditional Speedmaster's one. It is produced via a laser material removing process from a black (that seems brownish to be honest) PVD disc, the aesthetic outcome being a sort of a single block three-counter dial, where watchmakers then apply gold indexes and gold hands covered with SuperLuminova.
Nice is the choice to equip the watch with a NATO strap with the Omega logo on the tang buckle: it’s well done, far thicker than most aftermarket NATO straps and wears comfortably but it's a bit too long even on a big wrist like mine is, as once it has been wrapped around your wrist you find it hard to fold it over into the buttonhole.
The glass on the dial is a box sapphire crystal and the caliber is the manual wind 1861 movement. The Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 45th Anniversary Limited Edition will be made in 1969 pieces and retails for 5785€. It's not a cheap price but it is not that easy to evaluate as titanium case making is quite expensive and this watch is, all in all, a gold and titanium timepiece (the Sedna gold ring is quite thick) with, on top of that, a dial making that's all but industrial. I think we should talk about a completely new model, not just a special or limited edition timepiece.
Titanium case and the nylon watch strap make it a superlight watch. I own a steel and leather Speedmaster: if you try on them both, they feel utterly different on your wrist. It is not a matter of pros and cons: some love titanium watches, some other do not. Like it or not the result is, anyway, you definitely do not feel it on your wrist. The sensation is, moreover, to have a ceramic wristwatch wrapped on your wrist as it is way light, its case fully brushed and with a matte single block dial.
A nice, out of the ordinary and technical Speedmaster, your choice if you're in search of the “other side of” the Speedmaster, perhaps the most exclusive special edition Moonwatch ever conceived. I have a wish for the next one: I do not hate caliber 1861, it’s a robust and reliable movement that has helped the Speedmaster become very popular but I do hope to see encased, one day, the successor of the venerable caliber 321.
For further info please visit the official Omega website.
(Photo credit: courtesy of Omega; Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting)
Gaetano C. @Horbiter®