Omega Celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Mission with the Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Edition

Article By: Logan Hannen

FROM THE PRESS | MAR 14, 2019

This year, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the legendary Apollo 11 moon landing (yes, the one with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin), Omega has released a special, limited edition of their classic Speedmaster, this time in solid yellow gold.

To really amp up the celebration, though, this new special edition of the Speedmaster isn’t just a gold variation of the professional – no, it’s a recreation of the Speedmaster BA145.022, a similarly solid gold model that features the same burgundy bezel and black onyx hour markers.

The original BA145.022 was nearly identical (see below) to this new anniversary piece, and was gifted to Apollo Mission astronauts at a special dinner, post-Apollo 11. In the time since, it’s become increasingly rare, with some models trading north of $60k. Given the sheer importance of the watch, then, it does make sense for Omega to fixate on this reference as their tribute to the mission’s 50th anniversary.

Side by Side of the BA145.022 and Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Edition
Source: Deployant

As you can see, the two are strikingly similar, and almost all of the differences are simply updates that make sense in the landscape of 2019 Omega. With that, rather than harping on the things that make them the same, let’s fixate on some of the updates to the classic BA145.022.

First off, we have the bezel, which is new on two counts. The first, and likely the most expected, is the decision to use a ceramic bezel instead of the original’s anodized aluminum. This improves wearability long term, and ensures that the scaling is readable indefinitely, rather than risking being scratched away. The scaling is also the second major upgrade, this time rendered in Omega’s patented Ceragold, rather than the metallic gray of the original.

Omega Apollo 11 50th Anniversary dial and bezel
Source: HODINKEE

The case is comprised of a new gold alloy from Omega, dubbed “Moonshine Gold,” an alloy that is intentionally paler and duller looking than standard yellow gold to match the slightly weathered look of the original BA145.022. It’s what’s in the case that, arguably, deserves the most discussion.

The new Omega Caliber 3861
Source: Fratello Watches

Powering this special edition Speedmaster is a first for the line and potentially a signal of changes to come – a Master Co-Axial, manually wound movement. For those unaware, the Co-Axial escapement, invented by George Daniels and purchased for use by Omega. However, the escapement has only (to this point) appeared in automatic calibers from the brand. By integrating it into a manually winding movement, Omega now brings the Speedmaster Professional into the true modern era of the brand and, assumedly, will continue to integrate it into existing models from here.

The Damage
Limited to 1014 pieces, the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Limited Edition is priced at Chf 32,000 (approx. $31,800).

Logan’s Take
I saw one of the original BA145.022s in, I believe, an interview with Redbar founder Adam Craniotes, in which one of the members of Redbar showed off the piece with an enthusiasm that I’ve yet to quite see mirrored. Ever since, I’ve been enamored with the piece, specifically because of the burgundy bezel and onyx markers. Suffice it to say, seeing this creep up on my timeline today sent a jolt through me and helped me wake up after still suffering the results of Daylight Savings. It’s just about everything I could have wanted out of a tribute to Apollo 11, but more importantly, it signals a true sense of direction by integrating the Co-Axial into a manual winding movement. In many ways, the watch, like the moon landing, feels like a mission statement for the brand going forward, and I can’t wait to see what’s next on the course.

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