A Closer Look: All Three Speedmaster Professional Watches In Moonshine Gold
Omega introduced the Moonshine Gold alloy in 2019 in the Speedmaster Professional Apollo XI 50th Anniversary Limited Edition. This alloy, which is a bit paler than yellow gold, contains less copper and adds silver and palladium to the mix.
In combination with the brushed surfaces on the case (and bracelet), I find the Speedmaster Professional in Moonshine Gold to have a more toned-down look than previous Speedmasters in traditional 18K yellow gold. I purchased the Speedmaster Apollo XI 50th Anniversary Limited Edition in Moonshine Gold back in 2019, and it has become one of my absolute favorite watches to wear. Therefore, I was quite happy to see the two new Speedmaster Professional models in Moonshine Gold introduced a few months ago.
The Speedmaster Professional in gold
Before the Moonshine Gold Speedmaster Professional came out in 2019, it had been a while since there was a Moonwatch available in gold. Even though the movie Money Monster (2016) features George Clooney wearing a gold Speedmaster Professional, that watch was already out of production by 2012. The full-gold Speedmaster was just not in demand. Most people seemed to think a Speedmaster should be in stainless steel, and for a long time, so did I. The only exception to that “rule” was the 1969 Tribute to the Astronauts reference BA145.022-69, limited to 1014 pieces.
But over the last 10 years or so, as the Speedmaster became more popular (and general interest in mechanical and luxury watches also increased), feelings about gold Speedmasters started to shift. I bought my first (vintage) gold Speedmaster Professional back in 2014, and the more I found myself wearing it, the more I thought it was about time that a modern gold Speedmaster should make a comeback. In 2017, Omega very carefully introduced the Speedmaster Apollo 17 45th Anniversary Limited Edition in yellow gold. I say “carefully”, as Omega first introduced it as a limited series of 72 pieces, but after its initial announcement, decided to make it a run of 272 pieces. The demand was greater than expected.
The 50th anniversary of the Apollo XI Moon landing (and thus, the Moonwatch) in 2019 was the perfect opportunity for a new gold Speedmaster, and Omega grabbed it. This Speedmaster was also the first to use the fourth-generation case design and the new caliber 3861. Two years later, Omega introduced the 3861-powered Speedmaster Professional in Sedna and Canopus Gold. Meanwhile, Omega also used Moonshine Gold in the De Ville Trésor line.
Now, three years after the debut of this alloy, Omega introduces two more Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch models in Moonshine Gold. Like the Apollo XI, one has a solid gold dial but with a “Panda” design. The other variation has a green dial and a green bezel. Here at the Fratello office, I noticed that each version has its fans. After a few weeks of wearing them on and off, however, I have developed a clear preference.
Speedmaster Professional Moonshine Gold 310.63.42.50.10.001
Let me start with the one that does the least for me. This is relative, of course, as it’s a great watch, and gold and green work really well together, generally speaking. This PVD-green-dialed Speedmaster Moonshine comes on a green leather strap, but it is also available on a gold bracelet. Unfortunately, it wasn’t available on the bracelet for review. Of all three Moonshine Speedmasters, I found this model the toughest to read. The dial is very dark green, and the gold applied indices are almost invisible except when the light catches them. The color is a bit too dark for my taste, as it needs a lot of light to appear green. The hour markers, the hour and minute hands, and the small chronograph hands are made of 18K Moonshine gold.
As we discussed here at the office, before this watch debuted, Omega had never made a green-dialed Speedmaster Professional. But is that a reason not to? If so, that would mean there’s no place and time for a new design or color for the Speedmaster. I partially get the sentiment, though, as the Speedmaster Professional should perhaps not become a victim of fashion. Anyway, green and gold make for a nice combination, and it works here.
The 3861 movement inside of this watch is identical to the one used in the regular Moonwatch Master Chronometer. The 2019 Moonshine limited edition is slightly different, though, as its movement also has a Moonshine Gold finish. Some say it’s a shame that the two new Moonshine Gold models do not have the same gold movement finishing. I think it makes the 2019 anniversary version even more special.
However, I say that from an owner’s perspective, and I am sure someone who’s after one of the new ones wouldn’t mind having a bit of gold on the caliber 3861. The same applies to the Sedna Gold version from 2021. That version also has the standard rhodium plating.
Last but certainly not least, I think that the green leather strap looks great on this edition. Although I am a fan of the “Nixon” bracelet, the green strap matches nicely with the dial and bezel. The strap comes on a Moonshine Gold folding clasp.
The retail price of the green Speedmaster Professional Moonshine Gold on a leather strap is €28,400. On a bracelet (reference 310.60.42.50.10.001), it is €40,100.
Speedmaster Professional Moonshine Gold “Panda” 310.62.42.50.99.001
The Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonshine Gold with the “panda dial” got me a bit more enthusiastic than the green version. At first, I wasn’t convinced about the rubber strap, but once it landed on my wrist, I made a 180° turn. It wears incredibly comfortable, and it does look good.
Just like the 2019 Moonshine Gold edition, this Speedmaster has a dial made of solid gold. Dials are normally made of brass, but for these two versions, Omega decided to go all out. What’s different from the 2019 edition, however, is that the “panda dial” (aside from the sub-dials), has a sunburst effect instead of a vertically brushed finish. We also don’t find black onyx hour markers here but applied stick indices instead. To provide even more contrast to the dial, the central hands on this model are also black. The hour and minute hands are made of 18K Moonshine Gold with a black PVD treatment. The small hands in the black sub-dials are diamond-polished Moonshine Gold
As indicated above, the movement inside the “Panda” is identical to the one used in the green-dialed version. Caliber 3861 is, as you probably know, a Master Chronometer-certified movement. It’s an evolution of caliber 1861 and uses approximately 50% of the same parts. Among the upgrades, however, are a Co-Axial escapement and an anti-magnetic silicon balance spring. It’s quite a step forward from the previous hand-wound chronograph caliber, especially in terms of accuracy. Whereas Omega used to guarantee an accuracy of -1/+10 seconds per day for caliber 1861, the movements certified by METAS are -0/+5 seconds per day on average.
Moonshine Gold bracelet
When I was at Omega HQ in Bienne, I also saw the “Panda” version on a gold bracelet. It looked beautiful, but alas, it was also not available for review. In contrast to the 2019 edition, the bracelets on these two models feature polished intermediate links and a micro-adjustable clasp. This clasp is also 1mm wider than the one from 2019 Moonshine Gold version.
Anyway, I wanted to try a bracelet with the “Panda”, so I removed the gold bracelet from my 2019 edition and attempted to fit it. I wasn’t able to, though, and upon closer inspection, it looks like the area between the lugs is different between these watches. The cavity where the little lip of the end link should mount differs from the one on my 2019 version. The end links wouldn’t align properly to let the spring bar click into place.
Although I think the Speedmaster Moonshine Gold “Panda” is incredibly handsome on the gold bracelet, it also works fine with the rubber strap. This strap, with the cratered lunar surface on the inside, is also available separately. This means you can also try to order it for your steel Speedmaster Professional and use a steel folding clasp.
The price of the Speedmaster Moonshine Gold “Panda” is €30,400 for the version on a rubber strap. On the Moonshine Gold bracelet (reference 310.60.42.50.99.002), it will set you back €42,000.
I have to say that I like these new versions. Every bit of criticism is marginal in this case, but I have a slight preference for the “Panda” edition. Regardless of the price, I would opt for this model on the gold bracelet. This opinion is also a result of owning the 2019 model. The gold bracelet is a huge part of the fun of wearing this watch.
But it is tough to talk about these watches without mentioning the price. I’ve noticed that trying to rationalize the price of gold watches compared to steel editions is pointless. There’s a “luxury factor” worked into the price that contributes to the exclusiveness of these watches. A gold watch will never be cheap, and the cost of gold versus steel or the additional costs for manufacturing gold cases are only part of the reason. These costs never justify the entire markup. It is basically up to us, the consumers, whether we’re willing to pay such an amount for a gold watch.
That said, I have found it to be worth it. I bought the Speedmaster Professional Apollo XI 50th Anniversary Limited Edition in Moonshine Gold in 2019, and it has become one of my absolute favorite watches. I love this piece dearly, and it gets a lot of wrist time. The new Moonshine Gold models didn’t make me greedy, luckily, as I still prefer the 2019 edition. The “Panda” comes close, but I love the vertically brushed gold dial on the Apollo XI 50th Anniversary and the black onyx hour markers. Nerdy details like the piece of lunar meteorite in the case back and the Moonshine Gold finish on the movement make it a little bit more interesting too. If it weren’t for my Apollo XI edition, though, I think I’d already be saving up for the Moonshine Gold “Panda”.