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Introducing The Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 Anniversary Limited Edition (Live Pics & Pricing)

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SOLID. GOLD. SPEEDY. You knew Omega had something up its sleeve for the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 and it turns out it is a re-creation of the exceedingly cool Speedmaster BA145.0220, replete with the burgundy bezel and black onyx markers. For those about to hit Wikipedia, yes, Apollo 11 is arguably the Apollo mission, having put Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the surface of the Moon on July 20th, 1969. Gold is customary for 50th anniversaries, and Omega went all out in creating a special edition that speaks directly to Speedmaster aficionados and of the era that created the Moonwatch. 

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Assuming some of you don't know the original reference BA145.022, perhaps a bit of background is required. Apollo 11 put mankind on the Moon in July of 1969, and later that year (in November) Omega presented a special edition of the Speedmaster at an appreciation dinner for the Apollo astronauts – the BA145.022. Limited to 1,014 pieces, the first two in the series were presented to President Nixon and Vice President Spiro Agnew. As for the remaining 1,012 units, Omega says that 3-28 were given to NASA astronauts, 29-32 went to "Swiss watch industry leaders and politicians," 33-1,000  were offered to the public, 1,001-1,008 went to the crews of Apollo 14 and 17, and 1,009-1,014 were reserved by Omega for other personalities (with no additional information provided on who these personalities were or are). 

Several years ago, at an Omega event in Houston, I had the great pleasure of trying on an original BA145.022 (owned by Mr. "Speedy Tuesday" Robert-Jan Broer of Fratello Watches, duh) and it's a watch that has always stuck with me. It's a 42mm Speedy in solid 18k yellow gold with a rich burgundy bezel, black onyx markers, and black varnished hands over a solid gold dial. It's a lot of gold, plenty of contrast, and a strong match for that eye-catching bezel. 

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An original BA145.022 briefly borrowed from Robert-Jan Broer at an Omega event in Houston a few years ago. 

For this brand new limited edition, Omega didn't break the mold, but they certainly changed what went into it. Still 42mm wide and keeping steadfast to the overall theme of the BA145.022, the Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Limited Edition (reference 310.60.42.50.99.001) trades 18K yellow gold for a new Omega-exclusive 18k gold alloy that the brand is calling "Moonshine Gold." Forming the case, bracelet, and various other elements of the watch, this new alloy uses additional palladium to fight the discoloration that can occur in ordinary 18k yellow gold, and while more pale in color, it promises to retain more of its general character over time. Likewise, while the burgundy bezel is a direct nod to the bezel inset from the original, it is now rendered in ceramic with a scale printed in Omega's Ceragold. Notice not only the deep color, but also the vintage-Speedy nod of including a scale that extends to 500 units and dot over the 90 measure (a hallmark of pre-'70s Speedmaster bezel design). 

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Next up, look at that dial. It's solid gold with a vertical brushed finishing forming the base, upon which we find gold markers beset with black onyx and black varnished chronograph hands. Text is minimal, the applied logo re-creates Omega's vintage logo design, and the effect is warm, detailed, and insanely fun on wrist.  

Tired of this view? Flip the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary over to see another very cool aspect, a Moonshine gold-plated, manually wound expression of the 1861, dubbed the 3861. A Master Chronometer movement with a Co-Axial escapement and Si14 balance spring, the 3861 can be seen via an open case back. With various elements in glowing gold, the 3861 is surrounded by some commemorative text and two interesting elements. The first is a small cutaway of Earth in gold and blue that shows the Americas. The second, seen across the caseback and rendered in correct proportion to that of the image of Earth, is a Moon created using an inlay of domed lunar meteorite (shown directly below). 

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The lunar meteorite inlay in the caseback of the new Apollo 11 LE

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The full view of the caseback, including the Moonshine gold-plated 3861 movement and the proportionally correct Earth and Moon. 

The two bodies are shown orbiting the movement and, while the whole "we took a piece of something special and put it in the watch" thing is most definitely tired, I have gone back and forth on this use of lunar meteorite. I think in this case, while not requisite in creating a modern BA145.022, the inclusion of the lunar meteorite also doesn't detract from the goal of making a special Speedmaster to pay tribute to the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11. As an Easter egg for both NASA and Moonwatch nerds alike, it's a fun inclusion that doesn't throw off the conceptual or actual balance of the watch. 

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While I only had a few minutes with it, this Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Limited Edition is a blast on wrist. It's heavy, warm, and feels like a faithful re-telling of the original model. I love the glow of the solid gold dial, the contrast of the dark hands and markers, the vintage logos, and the brushed bracelet. Limited to 1,014 pieces and delivered in a lunar-inspired 3D-printed presentation box (similar to the original model) the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary LE will sport a price tag of CHF 32,000. While it's certainly a shame there isn't a new crop of lunar-minded astronauts primed to earn one of these following a 50th-anniversary mission, the Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Limited Edition is a shining look back at a golden era in exploration and the race for the moon. 

The Basics
Brand: Omega
Model: Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Limited Edition
Reference Number: 310.60.42.50.99.001

Diameter: 42mm
Case Material: "Moonshine" 18k gold
Dial Color: Gold
Indexes: Onyx
Strap/Bracelet: Solid "Moonshine" gold

The Movement
Caliber: Omeag 3861 
Functions: Hours, minutes, second, 12-hour chronograph 
Power Reserve: 48 hour
Winding: Hand-wound
Frequency: 26,100
Chronometer Certified: METAS Master Chronometer 
Additional Details: Various elements in plated "Moonshine" gold

Pricing & Availability
Price: CHF 32,000 
Availability: July 2019 (subject to change)
Limited Edition: 1,014 pieces 

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