Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Limited Edition
A commemorative timepiece and, above all, a remarkable product evolution.
During the last Baselworld, we were all eager to find out what novelties would the Swatch Group have presented sooner or later after the fair. Last week, all of a sudden, all the luxury brands belonging to the Group launched their new products altogether; some of them, however, will be covered by our magazine via our hands-on reviews moving forward. Among the many new products, the 2019 Apollo 11 commemorative steel Speedmaster was long-awaited. "What will Omega Watches release to celebrate fifty years from the first ever moon landing?" was the most common question among enthusiasts. That question has been finally answered.
The Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Limited Edition.
After launching the flagship Apollo 11 Moonshine™ Gold Speedmaster, Omega made a move most watch enthusiasts were waiting for, by releasing a modern interpretation of the stainless steel Moonwatch. The Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Limited Edition (it is no coincidence, they didn't name it Moonwatch, to avoid confusing the new one with the original, most likely) aesthetically respects proportions and overall size and feel of the current Moonwatch but debuts a long list of impressive new features.
The case is, as usual, in steel and 42mm wide, but the bezel comes now in Moonshine™ Gold, the proprietary yellow gold alloy patented by Omega, while the tachymeter scale is in Ceragold™. It appears and feels quintessentially Moonwatch, yet the upgrade is remarkable. Moonshine™ Gold has been extended to the dial, and adopted for the applied indexes, the double-one digit index placed at eleven o'clock to mimic the Apollo 11 mission and, finally the sub-dial at nine o'clock, that was first blackened, then laser engraved with the image of Buzz Aldrin as he's climbing down onto the lunar surface.
Yellow Moonshine™ Gold accents are present on the case-back too where the 18K Gold written Neil Armstrong's legendary quote surrounds the astronaut's laser-engraved footprint on the lunar surface.
The case-back is secured via a Naiad Lock system that made its first appearance on a Seamaster and that comes now on a Speedmaster too. The main advantage of this locking system is in that if you open and then close the case-back, all the inscriptions return to their original position.
The Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Limited Edition's two-tone design is familiar since it reminds the old Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Apollo 15 Limited Edition, actually one of the most sought-after L.E. Speedmaster, whereas the bracelet draws inspiration from the one adopted on the Speedmaster's fourth version ever (it is thinner than the current one). The Omega logo (it is in Moonshine™ Gold too) is the old version and is applied on the folding clasp also. The overall design is very well proportioned despite being full of many different details; Omega basically opted for a two-tone layout.
The Moonwatch is a hand-wound chronograph, so is the Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Limited Edition, but the differences between the two are many.
If you were lucky enough as I was, to make a tour of the Omega's production site, you would immediately perceive how technologically advanced it is and how consistently is the brand investing in the Master Chronometer technology. The new 3861 caliber is a massive evolution of the standard caliber 1861. It preserves the 1861's base architecture yet it features a silicon coil spring and Co-Axial escapement, and is Master Chronometer certified; it is therefore fully antimagnetic. Kudos to Omega for being able to re-inventing the Moonwatch without affecting its original spirit.
The Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Limited Edition will be crafted in 6.969 specimens, not very few for a limited edition watch, yet a figure I try and explain with the brand's need to pay the industrial investment to realize the new product back and meet the market request. Priced at € 9,200, the Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Limited Edition is the Moonwatch 2.0 and a great product indeed, whether you like it or not.
(Photo credit: courtesy of Omega Watches)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®