Introducing the Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary LE, Fitting Tribute or Too On The Nose?

Share this story:

Well, here it is. To the surprise of no one in the watch community, Omega has unveiled a limited edition Speedmaster to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. You’ll recall that we reported the release of a solid gold Speedy a few months back that served as an opening act to what we imagined would be a big year for Speedmaster releases, and now we’re presented with something akin to the main event. Let’s go through the details of one of the most eagerly anticipated watch releases in recent memory.

  • Case Material: Stainless steel
  • Dial: black and grey, with Moonshine Gold accents throughout
  • Dimensions: 42mm
  • Crystal: Sapphire
  • Water Resistance: 50 meters
  • Crown: push/pull
  • Movement: Calibre 3861
  • Strap/bracelet: Steel bracelet inspired by 4th generation Speedmaster
  • Price: $9,650
  • Expected Release: Summer 2019


Before we get into some of the design details that make this particular limited edition unique, let’s get the movement talk out of the way. The Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Speedmaster is powered by the same hand wound Calibre 3861 movement found in the aforementioned solid gold Speedmaster linked above. The one minor difference is that the gold watch gets a movement with some fancy gold finishing, while this one has the standard rhodium plated treatment Omega has been using in Speedmasters for years. We’ll have to take their word for it, though, because the Apollo 11 Speedy hides the movement behind a closed case back. The 3861 remains unique in Omega’s lineup as a hand wound movement that is also Master Chronometer certified, taking on all the challenges of Omega’s METAS testing. It’s highly resistant to magnetism, keeps time to +5 seconds per day, and was engineered to have a footprint the same size as its predecessor (the NASA-certified 1861) while containing more components and a higher jewel count. It’s a thoroughly impressive, modern movement in line with the best technology Omega offers. 

This Apollo 11 Limited Edition is meant to commemorate the exact moment a Speedmaster worn by Buzz Aldrin (now an Omega ambassador) made its debut on the lunar surface (nevermind the fact that the Speedmaster worn by Buzz would have been a very different animal, with a very different movement, than the edition we’re presented with today). The moment is immortalized on the running seconds register at 9:00 with a laser engraved portrait of Buzz stepping down the ladder of the lunar lander. Yes, it’s from a low angle. And, yes, it’s predominantly of his backside. But it’s an iconic moment in the history of the space program, for sure, and as far as I know, Neil Armstrong wasn’t trained in the principles of photography. Individual consumers will need to decide if this is the view they want when checking the time. 

The rest of the dial has touches of Omega’s Moonshine Gold throughout, although I’d say this stops just short of being a full fledged two-tone design. The chronograph layout does take on a unique panda-esque effect, however, with the sub-dials and outer ring in a deep black, and the interior in a varnished grey. The familiar bezel insert with tachymeter scale is polished black ceramic, and the bezel itself is solid Moonshine Gold. A careful inspection of the dial furniture reveals that at 11:00, in place of the normal hour index, Omega has fitted the numeral “11,” again, in Moonshine Gold. A not so subtle reminder that this watch celebrates the eleventh Apollo mission. Did we mention there’s a lot of Moonshine Gold on this thing?


The case back features an engraving of Neil Armstrong’s lunar footprint, along with his famous “One small step…” quote. Each watch will be engraved with its unique limited edition number, which will go all the way to 6,969. Naturally, Omega has gone all out on the presentation box, which opens to reveal a representation of the Sea of Tranquility, and a model of the Lunar Module that appears to double as a sort of stand for your Speedmaster. Mission patches, a strap changing tool, and a special cork strap round out the contents of the LE package.

It will be interesting to see the response from Omega’s customers to this watch. These Limited Editions have become something of their own story over the past several years, as they’ve been turned out at a clip that makes one wonder what “limited” really means. Tell us in the comments if you think this particular limited edition is over the top and on the nose, or a fitting tribute to an important piece of American, space, and horological history. Omega

Images from this post:
Zach is a native of New Hampshire, and he has been interested in watches since the age of 13, when he walked into Macy’s and bought a gaudy, quartz, two-tone Citizen chronograph with his hard earned Bar Mitzvah money. It was lost in a move years ago, but he continues to hunt for a similar piece on eBay. Zach loves a wide variety of watches, but leans toward classic designs and proportions that have stood the test of time. He is currently obsessed with Grand Seiko.
Article / Featured

The Speedmaster Professional Goes Master Co-Axial with the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary LE

The non-stop production of Omega limited editions is already an …
Article / Featured

From the Archives: Summer Reading with the Omega Speedmaster

With summer winding down to a sad close, we imagine …