The Omega Speedmaster was the first watch to make it to the Moon. But you already knew that. Before it stepped out of Apollo 11 into space on the wrists of Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong on 21 July 1969, it had to prove itself to be tough enough to withstand the rigours of space travel; from insanely high temperatures to bitter cold, to shock, vibration and vacuum testing. In short, rarely is a timepiece so thoroughly tested.
To mark the watchmaker’s involvement in one of the most significant moments in human history, Omega has produced two special-edition timepieces that help bring the past back to life from faithful reconstructions.
The first (above) is a super-limited re-edition of the all-gold Speedmaster that was presented to the astronauts of the Apollo missions after the first successful Moon landings, as well as President Nixon. The snappily titled Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Moonshine Limited Edition (£26,480, omegawatches.com) is a faithful recreation of the now incredibly coveted original, with its burgundy ceramic bezel and onyx hour markers set against a case crafted from a new gold alloy with a higher percentage of palladium to help keep its golden lustre for longer. Rather poetically, the company has dubbed this ‘Moonshine Gold’. The connection to the Moon is also underscored in this new model with a piece of lunar meteorite embedded in the caseback.
However, if you fail to get your wrists into one of the 1,014 pieces of the all-gold edition, the brand has also crafted an equally sleek stainless steel version (above): the Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Limited Edition (£7,370, omegawatches.com), of which 6,969 will be made.
The Moon connection is strong here, too. Inside the subdial at nine o’clock there is a depiction of Buzz Aldrin stepping down from the lunar lander etched in Moonshine gold, as is the hour marker at 11 o’clock, which, in commemoration of the mission, is also the only numeral on the dial. And perhaps our favourite detail is the inclusion of an additional velcro strap in blackened cork with golden marks, a reference to the ablator (a fibreglass structure covered with thick cork), which protected the Apollo 11 crew from the intense heat during launch.
Whichever model you go for, not only can you rest assured that it’s mechanically futureproof owing to its galactic pedigree, but also that both are still just as stylish 50 years after the original inspiration was blasted into space. Talk about futuristic.