Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Limited Edition Review

by Chamath Gamage
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The 21st of July 1969 at 02:56:15 GMT marks a momentous step in world history, as this was when the Astronaut Neil Armstrong stepped off the Apollo 11 Lunar Module “Eagle” to become the first human to stand on another planet. Astronaut Buzz Aldrin accompanied Neil Armstrong in achieving this incredible feat when he also joined his compatriot on the lunar surface.

Buzz Aldrin who has been an Omega ambassador since 2009, wore the Omega Speedmaster Professional on the Apollo 11 space mission, which is when it became the first watch to be worn on the moon.

The Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary limited edition not only celebrates the historic occasion of celebrating the 50 years since the first Speedmaster on the moon, but is also the first watch in history to use Omega’s new patent-pending alloy; 18k Moonshine Gold.

This pioneering new Gold alloy offers a lighter tone than a normal yellow Gold alloy would, while also having a much higher resistance to colour fading. This 18k Moonshine Gold alloy has been used on the dial and the casing which helps accentuate the colour from the darker tones used throughout these parts. The bezel along with the Omega logo, diamond polished indexes and the highlighted 11 on the 11-hour mark are all done in the 18k Moonshine Gold alloy. Omega has cleverly made the 11 o’clock hour marker in Arabic Numeral instead of the beveled indexes as a tribute to the Apollo 11 Lunar module “Eagle”.

The hour and minute hands are designed to be “Moonwatch style hands” as quoted by Omega and is also done in 18K Moonshine Gold alloy. The central chronograph seconds hand however has been PVD-coated in Moonshine gold so it retains the same colour as the other hands. On the bezel, the ring has been polished in black ceramic [ZrO2] while the tachymeter scale is done in Omega’s Ceragold material.

Looking at the dial, there is a smaller vanished grey circle encapsulating the three counters and produces a great effect in ensuring the sub-dials, hour, minute and central chronograph second hands really stand out. The minute track along the outer edge of the dial is done in black with gold minute markers, ensuring the black and gold theme stays throughout the watch. The three counters are placed in the 3 o’clock, 6 o’clock and 9 o’clock positions. On the 3 o’clock sub-dial is the 30 second counter while the 6 o’clock sub-dial is the 12-hour counter. 

The 9 o’clock counter has been used to showcase the real stand out detail of this watch. On this counter there is a laser-engraved image of the Astronaut and Omega ambassador Buzz Aldrin climbing down from the Apollo 11 Lunar Module “Eagle” to make his first step on the lunar surface. This beautiful inscription has also been done from Omega’s 18k Moonshine Gold alloy. The only small drawback is that the constant second hand on the 9 o’clock counter can get lost on the inscription, however this is something that can be overlooked due to the sheer beauty of the artwork.

The movement that is running the Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary limited edition is Omega’s Co-Axial Master Chronometer calibre 3861. This new calibre 3861 is a manual winding movement which is a descendant of the calibre 321 movement that powered Speedmaster models qualified by NASA for space missions. Calibre 3861 produces a power reserve up to 50 hours and is a certified master chronometer which was approved by the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology (METAS). This makes the watch resistant to magnetic fields up to 15,000 gauss.

The case back of the Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary limited edition is closed, but for a good reason. There is a laser-engraved image of Neil Armstrong’s first step on the moon, representing a historic moment in one of man-kinds greatest achievements. The engraving has been done on a black coated plate with texture that is representing the lunar surface. This plate is protected by a flat scratch-resistant sapphire crystal with the famous quote by Neil Armstrong “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind” is written in Moonshine gold-plated lettering. There are also four other inscriptions around the stainless steel case back; Apollo 11, 50th Anniversary, Limited Edition and each watch’s individual number/6969.

How does the Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary wear?

The watch is subtle in person. The contrasting colours of the 18K Moonshine gold and black /grey dial doesn’t have the in your face appeal thanks to the Moonshine gold having a lighter tone than standard yellow gold. The bracelet is lightweight, constructed with brushed centre-links/polished outer-links and with a vintage clasp. This makes the watch bracelet luxurious and extremely comfortable to wear.

The Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary limited edition also comes with a black coated cork velcro strap. The use of the cork on the strap is Omega’s tribute to the Apollo missions’ creativity. On the Apollo 11 mission, to protect the Saturn V rocket during launch from the intense heat being produced, NASA used a protective cover made from fibreglass covered in cork which made a perfect fit over the module.

The velcro strap has gold streaks artistically done in a drip fashion making one strap different from another. This strap however is something one would wear for special occasion due to its uniqueness.

While the steel bracelet option offers flexible wear to formal and less formal occasions, you can step outside of the box and match the Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary limited edition with a black leather strap or one of Omega’s Nato straps for a more casual and vibrant look. Bonus points if you manage to snatch a Nato strap matching the colours of the dial on this beautiful Speedmaster!

The packaging that the Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary comes in is a masterpiece in itself. Firstly, the travel case is a white NASA-Style presentation box with two brown fastening straps that give an overall classy and professional look. Once the case is opened however is when things really step up.

The watch sits on top of a make shift Apollo Lunar Module to really drill home what this watch is about. It acts as a neat little stand for those rare occasions when the watch is off your wrist. The Lunar Module has been crafted with a black base and four landing legs done in gold plating to keep with the black and gold theme of the watch.

On the top and bottom of where the module sits on the travel case is two plaques. Written on the top plaque is “SEA OF TRANQUILITY – Landing Site – 0.67409 North, 23.47298 East”. Mare Tranquillitatis (Sea of Tranquility) was the chosen area to land the Apollo 11 Lunar module, due to its flat surface area.

The second plaque on the bottom has on it the date and time of the landing along with it the writing “THE FIRST STEP ON THE MOON”.

Where the two plaques sit, the cover can be lifted up to reveal two mission patches. One patch shows an eagle landing on the moon’s surface representing the Apollo 11 with the writing “Apollo 11” and “50th Anniversary”. The second patch shows Omega’s triumphant in the moon landing with an Astronaut on top of the Omega logo with the words “50th Anniversary” and “Moon Landing Speedmaster”.

The Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary limited edition will serve the wearer very well. This is Omega showcasing that they are able to produce a Moonwatch with modern upgrades in technology and materials while still having strong ties to the Moonwatch’s history. With each model being numbered up to 6969 it brings a further level of uniqueness to each piece. It’s also important to note that Omega has done well to release a large number of this limited edition so that Speedmaster Moonwatch fans and Apollo fans can have a chance to grab a piece of history.

Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary specification

  • Reference : 310.20.42.50.01.001, Steel on Steel
  • Case diameter : 42mm
  • Case material : Steel case
  • Dial Colour: Yellow
  • Bezel : Polished 18k moonshine gold bezel, ceragold tachymetric scale
  • Crystal : Flat scratch-resistant sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment on both sides
  • Water resistance : 50 meters/ 167 feet
  • Movement : Omega 3861 , manual-winding chronograph movement
  • Power reserve : Approximately 50 hours
  • Bracelet : Comes in steel bracelet and Velcro vegan strap

Australian Retail Pricing : $13,175.00

World wide Warranty : 5 years 

Availability : Limited edition of 6969 pieces worldwide

Local Omega Boutiques :

  • Omega Brisbane – 1/188 Edward Street
  • Omega Melbourne – 179 Collins Street Melbourne, Crown Melbourne and Chadstone Shopping Centre
  • Omega Sydney – 20 Martin Place and Westfield Bondi Junction

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