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 old joke in the watch world.  It seems like every month there’s a new limited edition release to gawk over, celebrating everything from their network of boutiques to anniversaries of their heritage references.  This year, however, even the most jaded among us wait with bated breath for well-deserved releases to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, an event that truly changed the world, and is of great importance to Omega as a company.

In what is almost certainly just a first dip in the limited edition pool for the Omega Speedmaster this year, we have a solid gold Speedmaster Professional in honor of the golden anniversary of Apollo 11, dubbed the Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Limited Edition.  This new edition, limited to 1,014 pieces, is modeled after reference BA145.022, a solid gold Speedmaster produced between 1969 and 1973 in limited quantities, and presented to astronauts and other dignitaries (including President Richard Nixon) at the “Astronaut’s Appreciation Dinner” in November of 1969, to pay tribute to all that NASA’s finest had accomplished in that historic year.

Introducing the Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Limited Edition. The new caliber marks one of the most important mechanical changes to the Speedmaster Professional since the 861 replaced the 321. 

So, this release is essentially a limited edition based on the very first Omega limited edition, and it’s a dead ringer for the original, at least at first glance.  This watch is opulent, with a case and bracelet in what Omega is calling “Moonshine Gold,” an 18K alloy.  The bezel, in a rich burgundy, is now in ceramic as opposed to the traditional anodized aluminum (and, to the sure delight of Speedmaster enthusiasts, includes the “dot over 90” layout that is so sought after in vintage references).  The dial is solid gold, naturally, and the indexes are black onyx.  This is perhaps the most maximalist interpretation of the Speedmaster yet.


What’s new in this watch?  The movement is a legitimate first for a Speedmaster.  The Master Chronometer 3861 is manually wound and features Omega’s co-axial escapement.  While we’ve seen Omega use manually wound co-axial movements in other watches, including the recently announced De Ville Tresor celebrating the manufacture’s 125th anniversary, the co-axial escapement in a Speedmaster that isn’t automatic is a new twist.  This move is sure to please Speedmaster fans who love the classic design of the Moonwatch, but yearn for a thoroughly modern movement that takes advantage of all of Omega’s best technology, Master Chronometer certification and all.

The open caseback shows off the new movement, and the outer ring has its own flourishes.  Representations of the moon and the earth appear to orbit one another in the inner case-back ring, and have even been sized to appear in true proportion — a nice touch.  The movement is Moonshine Gold plated, and, honestly, this watch just wouldn’t work with the more traditionally industrial finishing of the 861 movement.

The original reference BA145.022.

This is not a Speedmaster for the masses, but it calls back to an exciting time in the history of the space program when there was something huge and monumental to celebrate.  Considering this watch, one can’t help but wonder what kinds of achievements in space exploration we’ll be honoring fifty years from now.  Hopefully something in red gold will be a fitting way to celebrate. The Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Limited Edition is priced at CHF 32,000. Omega

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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.