“The Moon. July 20, 1969. The rest, as they say, is history.”
The smartphone or computer you’re reading this on has more computing power than the ones NASA used to run the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon. Let that statement sink in for a bit before we move on.
Yes, that’s all of us summed up in that gif.
And to think we, hooomans, did this with far less processing power in the late 60s. Unbelievable.
Fast forward 50 years (and a month) later and we’re all gathered in the middle of Kuala Lumpur to celebrate the 50th anniversary of what is, arguably, mankind’s greatest achievement. For this event, Omega Malaysia has gone full on Lunar with their ‘Golden Moments’ event in Pavilion KL. Evidently, you only get one shot to turn 50 in well… ever, so it’s Speedy galore for this evening.
To further ram home the point that Omega meant business, they brought in astronauts who were well versed in interpretive dance. You know things are about to get serious when astronauts rock down to Electric Avenue before taking it higher.
Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch ‘First Omega In Space’
On this variant, the case is a Sedna gold unit that spans 39.7 mm across. Elsewhere, the watch comes with a ceramic bezel ring and a matte chromium nitride tachymeter scale. In addition, the applied indexes and hands are also fashioned out of Sedna™ gold. Moving on, the rear features a solid caseback with Omega’s traditional Seahorse emblem and engraved details. Texts like ‘The First Omega In Space’, ‘October 3, 1962’ and a numbered sequence are to be found.
Note that it says “numbered” and not “limited” so if you want one, there’s still time. So, how much and what’s the reference? The former is RM64,500 and the latter, 318.104.22.168.02.001. Other bits of detail include a water resistance rating of 50 m and a lug width of 19 mm. A brown leather strap with contrasting beige stitching fills that gap. Within it beats Omega’s rhodium-plated Caliber 1861. The 18-jeweled, manually-wound movement beats at a rate of 3 Hz, has a power reserve of 48 hours and, of course, features a chronograph function in addition to the time.
Omega Speedmaster Apollo 50th Anniversary Limited Edition
Now, this one is a tad special. Issued in a series of 6,969 pieces worldwide, this watch directly pays tribute to that momentous incident on July 20 1969. The 42 mm case comes in stainless steel this time but the bezel ring has a black ceramic insert with Omega’s CeragoldTM in the tachymeter scale. On the surface of the dial, Omega has opted for 18K Moonshine™ Gold for the hands, the Omega emblem and the indexes. Said material, according to Omega, “is a paler hue than traditional yellow gold and offers high resistance to fading.”
Look closer on the dial and you’ll realize that the only Arabic numeral is the one at the 11 o’clock position – a reference to Apollo 11. The 9 o’clock subdial features an 18K Moonshine™ Gold laser-engraved image of Buzz Aldrin climbing down onto the surface. Turn the watch around and you’ll see a laser-engraved footprint copy of the astronaut’s footprint on the Moon. Of course, Armstrong’s immortal words are etched across in 18K Moonshine™ Gold-plated lettering.
Within the case beats the Caliber 3861. The 26-jeweled, hand-wound movement beats at 3 Hz and has a power reserve of 50 hours. Where it differs from the 1861 is the inclusion of the METAS-certified err… Certified Master Chronometer rating and a 15,000-gauss magnetic resistance capability. Also, the watch comes with a polished-brushed 20 mm steel bracelet and an additional Velcro strap with black-coated cork. Water resistance? That’ll be rated at 50 m. Lastly, the reference number is 310.20.42.50.01.001 with a price tag of RM38,250.
Omega Speedmaster ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ Apollo 8
Ah, this is a personal favourite of mine out of all the ones displayed. I’ve got a soft spot for watches with a pop of colour and this one is no different. With the ‘Dark Side’, the 44.25 mm case is made out of ceramic and features a skeletonised dial. The latter offers a view to the blackened Caliber 1869 – a “Moon-relief textured” and darkened version of the 1861. Moving on, the watch comes with a 21 mm perforated black leather strap with a yellow rubber interior.
Obviously, the highlight of this piece is the dial. In this case, we’ve got hints of yellow on the chronograph hands and on the text. Elsewhere, white Super-LumiNova fill the indexes, hands, tachymeter scale and crown. Then, there’s what Omega calls the ‘Near Side’, otherwise known as the dial side. Here, Omega has worked to create a “landscape” of sorts that resembles the Moon’s surface as seen from Earth. On the other side (teehee!), the ‘Far Side’ reveals a transparent caseback with Jim Lovell’s final words spoken to ground control just before Apollo 8 travelled to the far side of the moon, “We’ll see you on the other side.”
As far as tech specs go, it’s the same as the Caliber 1861 so it’s hand-wound only with a power reserve of 48 hours. The ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ Apollo 8 (ref. no 322.214.171.124.01.001) goes for RM38,700.
Ohmaygah Speedmaster ‘Blue Side Of The Moon’ Master Chronometer Moonphase Chronograph
Now, you must be wondering with this one, “Why the name?” According to Omega, the model “takes its name from the colour of the dark blue sky.”
Wowzers. Much deep, many art.
Aside from the slightly odd name, this piece was perhaps the most complicated Speedy on display. For starters, moon phase complication anyone? Said complication features a blue enamel aventurine glass Moonphase disc replete with “near and far sides of the moon” display in Sedna™ gold. In this case, the 44.25 mm case is fashioned out of blue ceramic. Also, the bezel ring is made of the same material and contains OMEGA Ceragold™ inserts within the tachymeter scale. For the strap, you get a 21 mm blue leather strap with a blue ceramic and ceramised titanium foldover clasp.
As for the dial itself, it’s a blue aventurine (a form of quartz) glass base with 18K Sedna™ gold indexes and hands. Additionally, the date hand and tip of the chronograph hand are finished in a shade of red. Flip the watch on its back and you’re greeted by the Caliber 9904, visible through the exhibition caseback. Unlike the other movements, this 54-jeweled caliber is an automatic and beats at a rate of 4 Hz. Power reserve is also a notch above at 60 hours while water resistance remains at 50 m. Finally, the ‘Blue Side Of The Moon’ (ref. no 304.93.44.52.03.002) is priced at RM54,600.
Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional
The real OG but also not the real OG, this. Why? I’ve always seen the Speedy Moonwatch with the Hesalite crystal to be the real OG. Also, as much as I love to witness the Caliber 1863 beneath that exhibition caseback that comes with the sapphire model, nothing is gonna’ beat the words “Flight-Qualified by NASA for All Manned Space Missions.” Also, it’s a tad more affordable and that’s always a plus point in my books. The 3126.96.36.199.01.005 (Hesalite) retails for RM19,800.
Now, I’m sure this piece has been covered to the Moon and back so here’s the link to the technical specifications for this Speedy.
So, with 50 years done and dusted, what’s next? First watch on Mars, Omega?