Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Limited Edition
It is now 50 years since mankind took its first steps onto the moon. And the Omega Speedmaster Professional became the first watch worn on the moon. Today, Omega is celebrating the occasion with a brand new Speedmaster.
Following the famous design of the Speedmaster BA145.022 (see below), the new Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Limited Edition has been crafted from an exclusive new 18K gold alloy and is powered by a brand new manual-winding Master Chronometer calibre 3861. This Limited Edition Speedmaster of 1,014 pieces is delivered with a five-year warranty.
Speedmaster Apollo 11 Édition Limitée 50e Anniversaire © Omega
18K Moonshine™ Gold
The case, bracelet, dial, hour-markers and hour-minute hands have all been created in 18K Moonshine™ gold - a unique new alloy whose colour is inspired by the shining moonlight in a dark blue sky. In a paler hue than 18K yellow gold, Moonshine™ gold offers high resistance to the fading of colour and lustre over time.
Case and bracelet
The polished and brushed 42 mm case features the asymmetrical caseband of the 4th generation Speedmaster. The brushed-polished bracelet bears thefive–arched-links-per-row design and a grooved clasp with an applied vintage O.
Burgundy Ceramic [ZrO2] Bezel
Remaining true to the historical piece of 1969, OMEGA has included a burgundy bezel ring – this time in ceramic [ZrO2], according to a special patent pending process, with its tachymeter scale in Ceragold™. Following the first generation of the Speedmaster tachymeter scale, which graduated to 500 units per hour, this new model features a marker dot above 90 (also known as “Dot Over 90” or “DON”).
Onyx and Black
The vertically brushed step dial is marked “Au750” for the use of solid gold and is enhanced by the facetted black onyx indexes set in the polished hour-markers. All the hands are filled with black varnish.
The unique caseback
The outer caseback ring features the mechanically engraved markings “1969-2019”, the limited edition number highlighted in burgundy, and an uncoloured “Master Chronometer”.
The inner decorative ring in 18K Moonshine™ gold has undergone two separate laser ablation processes, as well as two PVD colour treatments in blue and black. This has produced the following results: a matte-finish blue ocean that surrounds a partial world map of the American continents (in polished finish), with a glimpse over the rocket’s lift-off site Cape Canaveral, and a matte-finish black background which accentuates polished markings including, “APOLLO 11 – 50th ANNIVERSARY” and “THE FIRST WATCH WORN ON THE MOON”.
Finally, a domed lunar meteorite inlay representing the Moon has been set into the cavity of the ring. The Earth and the Moon on the inner ring have been produced in true proportion (3.67 : 1 in diameter).
This Speedmaster is driven by the Omega Master Chronometer Calibre 3861 – a manualwinding movement with Co-Axial escapement, silicon Si14 balance spring, Moonshine™ gold-plated main plate and bridges and burgundy markings.
There are a number of vintage Omega logos to be found throughout the design – including on the dial, crown and bracelet clasp.
Inspired by the original packaging of the BA145.022 model in 1969, Omega has created a new crater box that will house each Limited Edition timepiece. The panels of the box are in grey ceramic with 3D printing of the lunar surface. Since every panel is structured differently, no crater box will be alike. The top panel of every box is printed with the image of the Sea of Tranquillity and the landing position of Apollo 11.
Buzz Aldrin with President and CEO of Omega Raynald Aeschlimann © Omega
How Omega reached the moon
Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to walk on the lunar surface on the 21st of July 1969. The Apollo 11 mission is certainly the most celebrated moment in Omega’s considerable space heritage. But the journey to reach that point began more than 10 years earlier, in 1957, when the very first Omega Speedmaster was launched.
Thanks to its robust, reliable and easy-to-read design, the Speedmaster became known as the “pilots’ choice” and was adopted by those in the U.S Air Force. Many of those aces became Mercury astronauts in NASA’s first manned space programme and, in 1963, one of those astronauts, Walter Schirra, took his own Speedmaster CK2998 on the Mercury- Atlas 8 mission. Orbiting the Earth six times, his privately-owned model became the first OMEGA watch worn in space.
By 1964, NASA’s space programme was accelerating rapidly and it officially went in search of one watch that it could rely on for all of its manned-missions. Flight Crew Operations Director, Deke Slayton, issued a request for wristworn chronographs from different watch manufacturers around the world. Several brands, including Omega, submitted their timepieces for the punishing tests – such as thermal, shock, vibration and vacuum examinations amongst others. Only the Omega Speedmaster survived these tests and, as a result, it was declared “Flight Qualified for all Manned Space Missions” on the 1st of March 1965.
From that moment, Omegawas the only supplier of watches for NASA’s Human Space Flight Program. It was trusted throughout the following Gemini Program, and, of course, the Apollo Program – which had its sights set on the moon.
James Ragan, the NASA engineer who qualified the Speedmaster in 1965 has spoken about the importance of Omegaby saying, “The watch was a backup. If the astronauts lost the capability of talking to the ground, or the capability of their digital timers on the lunar surface, then the only thing they had to rely on was the Omega watch they had on their wrist. It needed to be there for them if they had a problem.”
The original Speedmaster BA145.022
Speedmaster BA145.022 © Omega
The success of Apollo 11 was fervently celebrated around the world in 1969. On the 25th of November that year, a special “Astronaut Appreciation Dinner” was held in Houston, Texas, in tribute to the moon landing heroes.
The dinner was especially notable for a certain Omega Speedmaster that was presented to the astronauts in NASA’s space program. The watch, Speedmaster BA145.022, was crafted from 18K yellow gold and included a rare burgundy bezel, as well as an inscription on the caseback that read, “to mark man’s conquest of space with time, through time, on time.”
This gold Speedmaster housed the calibre 861 and was Omega's very first commemorative numbered edition, with only 1,014 models being produced from 1969 to 1973. The very first of these was created for US President, Richard Nixon, with number two allocated to the US Vice President Spiro Agnew. These watches, however, were later returned to Omega due to the US government’s strict gifting protocol.
Speedmaster BA145.022 © Omega
Model numbers 3 – 28 were given to the NASA astronauts, including 19 of those who were present at the gala dinner in Houston. This also included three models that were awarded posthumously to the three crew members who died during Apollo 1 – Virgil Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee. Watches 29 to 32 were offered to Swiss watch industry leaders and politicians, without any engraved number.
The public were given the opportunity to purchase model numbers 33 – 1000. Although these models had a different caseback inscription, reading “OMEGA SPEEDMASTER”, “APOLLO XI 1969” and “O THE FIRST WATCH WORN ON THE MOON”, they remained highly sought-after due to their rarity and connection to space. They also came in an exclusive moon crater presentation box, which itself is a prized collector’s item today.
Model numbers 1001 – 1008 were later presented to the astronauts of Apollo 14 and 17, while models 1009 – 1014 were reserved for other personalities.
For true Speedmaster fans, the BA145.022 is one of the great highlights in the chronograph’s iconic history. Not only is it a beautiful watch to look at, with its blend of gold and burgundy, but it also pays the highest tribute to the NASA astronauts who delivered mankind to the moon.
A company of the Swatch Group, OMEGA has been behind major revolutions in watchmaking technology and the timekeeping of numerous Olympic Games. Its watches are worn by world-famous celebrities and have travelled to the moon, the depths of the ocean and everywhere in between.Find out more >
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