Back in 1969, when Omega officially became the first watchmaker to produce a timepiece worn on the moon, the Swiss company made 1,014 special edition Speedmasters to commemorate the huge feat that was the successful Apollo 11 mission. Numbers one and two of the run were gifted to President Richard Nixon and his Vice President Spiro Agnew. The next 19 were gifted to astronauts who worked on Apollo missions.
Dick and Spiro sadly couldn’t accept the generous offerings from Omega thanks to strict compliance rules about accepting gifts (we all know how much Nixon like to do things by the book), but the rest of the gold and burgundy special editions quickly became one of the most collectible timepieces on the planet (though those which ended up in retailers lacked the now-famous engraving on the back: ‘to mark man’s conquest of space with time, through time, on time’.)
Now, 50 years on, Omega has rereleased the Speedmaster Apollo XI, albeit with a modern twist.
Ditching the 18 karat gold case and bracelet of the original, Omega has crafted this new model out of ‘Moonshine Gold’, a new alloy trademarked by the Swiss horological behemoth to better reflect light, inspired by “the shining moonlight in a dark blue sky.” Moonshine Gold is much paler in hue than the original timepiece, and Omega is promising that it offers a high degree of resistance to fading of colour and lustre over time.
And while most of the piece is presented in Moonshine Gold, the brand has remained faithful to the original in that they’ve included the burgundy bezel ring, though this time is made from ceramic with the tachymeter scale in Omega Ceragold (another of the company’s trademarks).
This example is powered by Omega’s Master Co-Axial Calibre 3861 movement, which can be seen through the brilliantly designed caseback (mechanically engraved markings: “1969-2019” and the limited edition number highlighted in burgundy, as well as an uncoloured “Master Chronometer”. The inner decorative ring has also undergone laser ablation processes, as well as PVD colour treatments in blue and black to create a matte-finish blue ocean that surrounds a partial world map of the American continents (in a polished finish), with a glimpse over the rocket’s lift-off site Cape Canaveral.
Man of Many travelled to Time to Move as a guest of the Swatch Group.