In March 2019, Omega introduced the Speedmaster Professional Apollo 11 50th Anniversary edition in Moonshine Gold. This watch is a modern reproduction of the 1969 gold Moonwatch presented to US President Nixon, Vice President Agnew, and all active NASA astronauts at the time. That watch also became available to the general market, with a slightly different case back engraving. In total, 1,014 examples were produced and sold. This month marks the 55th anniversary of the Moon landing as well as my fifth year owning the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary model. It’s time for a long-term review of this watch.

Omega Speedmaster Professional Apollo 11 50th Anniversary in Moonshine Gold

The 2019 Speedmaster Apollo 11 in Moonshine Gold was a limited edition of 1,014 pieces, just like the original gold 1969 Speedmaster (ref. BA145.022-69). This 2019 Speedmaster in Moonshine Gold was one of the very last limited editions to come out of Omega’s manufacture in Biel. Although you could debate that the Speedmaster Calibre 321 and Silver Snoopy Award 50th Anniversary are limited editions, they’re not numbered, and no clear maximum production number has been decided upon (or communicated).

Speedmaster Professional 145.012-67

My first Speedmaster Professional that I purchased in 1999

I bought my first Speedmaster in 1999 and still have it in my collection. In theory, that could have been the most worn watch in my collection, but it isn’t. I acquired (many) other watches after 1999 and rotated them quite a bit. Whenever I acquired another watch, I wore it extensively until I got the next one or got fed up with it. Some watches in my collection get more wrist time than others, a phenomenon you probably recognize.

The original model (left) and the 2019 50th Anniversary model

Fast-forward to 2019. The moment I laid my eyes upon the Speedmaster Professional Apollo 11 50th Anniversary, I was smitten by it. I knew the 1969 edition all too well as it was one of the first Moonwatch variations I came across when I started collecting watches in the late 1990s and early 2000s. My watchmaker had one at the time, and he wore it a lot. He even had the original crater box that came with that specific watch. The new 2019 edition of this watch had a lot of extras to offer, as described in detail in this introduction article.

The Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 ref. 310. in its crater box

I wanted to discuss this purchase with my significant other

As a Speedmaster enthusiast and collector, this watch ticked so many boxes for me that I just had to have it. It wouldn’t be my first full-gold Speedmaster Professional because I purchased the 18K gold model from 1980 a few years earlier, in 2014. This Moonshine Gold version felt much more solid, though, had the new caliber 3861 (with Moonshine Gold elements) on board, and offered a solid gold dial with onyx markers and a burgundy Ceragold bezel.

Another fun element is the piece of lunar meteorite in the bezel of the case back in an image that represents the Moon. Additionally, this Speedmaster Professional Apollo 11 50th Anniversary came in a reproduction of the crater box that my watchmaker had. Though his box fell apart because the sides were all glued, the new crater box is ceramic, so it’s not likely to fall apart.

Speedmaster GTG

The crater box of the gold Speedmaster Apollo 11 from 1969 — Image: NielsZ

Originally, this watch cost €32,800, which was a sum that I had never spent on one watch. Therefore, this was the first time that I decided I should discuss it with my wife. To my elation, I got the green light and proceeded with the order without any issues or critical questions. I requested number 13 (of 1,014) as that’s my lucky number. Coincidentally, I noticed that number 13 of the original gold 1969 Speedmaster Apollo 11 model went to NASA astronaut Thomas P. Stafford. I was fortunate enough to meet with Mr. Stafford several times, and he was such an interesting and nice person that, to me, owning the identical number he received is the cherry on the cake.

Wearing it nearly every day since 2019

Due to the price point and the fact that gold is a relatively soft material, I decided to wear this watch only on special occasions. But if you happen to follow me on my Instagram account or have bumped into me somewhere at an event or some occasion in the past five years, chances are pretty high that you caught me wearing this gold Speedmaster Professional Apollo 11 50th Anniversary edition.

Wearing my Moonshine Gold Speedmaster in Hong Kong

I’ve worn no other watch in my collection more often than this Speedmaster in Moonshine Gold. I have worn it during my travels for all the Speedy Tuesday events we’ve held between 2019 and today, but it’s also the watch I wear most often to the office, to restaurants, when visiting friends, etc. It has become my daily watch, so to speak. Is that wise? I don’t know, but it’s the watch I love and want to create personal stories with. It’s the one that my daughter will inherit at some point, and I feel it’s nice that she will receive the watch she remembers me wearing often, including all the battle scars it has.

To many people, this watch is probably far from perfect. It has limited water resistance, no quick-adjustment system in the clasp, and no lume on the dial or hands. In all honesty, though, I don’t care about those things for myself. It just looks ace to me, wears great, and comes with a neat story.

Omega Speedmaster Professional Apollo 11 50th Annivesary in Moonshine gold (ref. 310.

Signs of a life well lived

This watch has certainly picked up its share of battle scars! In particular, the bracelet and clasp show more signs of wear than any other watch I own. Gold is a soft material, and scratches appear quickly during daily use. On one hand, I don’t mind as I could have them easily buffed out or get the case restored (one of the advantages of gold). However, as I wrote above, they’re also evidence of me wearing and loving this watch.

Besides wearing a watch made of a softer material, one of the other concerns I originally had was the small clasp width. It’s true to the original Speedmaster BA145.022-69, which also had a 14mm clasp width, but it’s much narrower than the 20mm-wide clasp that the regular Speedmaster Professional had at the time. The current Moonwatch models have a 15mm clasp width, so they are only slightly bigger. In reality, the clasp looks and feels just fine. Plus, it brings some refinement or elegance to the bracelet.

Omega Speedmaster Professional Apollo 11 50th Annivesary in Moonshine gold (ref. 310.

The first watch with Omega’s caliber 3861

This watch was also the first model, along with the steel and gold Apollo 11 edition from 2019, to have the new caliber 3861. While heavily based on the previous 1861, 50% of its components are new (and can’t be swapped with 1861 parts). It contains a Co-Axial escapement, a silicon balance spring, and nonmagnetic components to withstand magnetic fields of up to 15,000 gauss. In terms of accuracy, like all other Master Chronometer watches, this one should be accurate to between 0 and +5 seconds per day on average.

Well, I never seriously paid any attention to it, but the accessible Master Chronometer certificate showed that it passed all the tests. When I put it on our timing device in the Fratello office, it shows a +2 seconds per day with the dial facing up and a flat line (0 seconds per day) with the crown down.

Omega Speedmaster Professional Apollo 11 50th Annivesary in Moonshine gold (ref. 310.

In the end, the precision of this Speedmaster doesn’t matter that much to me. If it had been minutes off per day, I’d have probably gotten fed up with it and had it regulated, but I never checked before writing this article as there was no need.

Omega Speedmaster Professional Apollo 11 50th Annivesary in Moonshine gold (ref. 310.

A prized possession

Although I have acquired several watches, including gold ones, the 2019 Speedmaster Professional Apollo 11 50th Anniversary is the one I have worn the most, making it one of the most meaningful watches in my collection. Of course, there are the watches I inherited or received as gifts from my family or friends. The Speedy Tuesday “Tribute to Alaska III” and “Ultraman” models also mean a lot to me. But this Moonshine Gold watch most certainly belongs on that list of prized possessions as well.

Omega Speedmaster Professional Apollo 11 50th Annivesary in Moonshine gold (ref. 310.

In my five years of ownership, my appreciation or love for this watch has not decreased one bit. Every time I put it on, I get the same sensation I did just after purchasing it. It’s also safe to say that my enthusiasm for this watch was infectious because some friends and acquaintances also bought theirs at some point. Those who did not order theirs at the time of introduction had to put in some effort to find one on the pre-owned market, which also worked out fine for them. Without exception, they have similar sentiments and appreciation for this watch even if they have even heavier hitters in their collections.

Besides the good chronometric performance after five years of ownership and wearing, I have to say that the bracelet is also holding up quite well. Some gold bracelets, especially older ones with hollow links, tend to stretch a bit over time, but my bracelet still feels tight.

The other Moonshine Gold Speedmasters

When Omega started introducing the other Moonshine models with a panda dial and green dial, the brand decided to upgrade the bracelet with a quick-adjustment system in the clasp. The narrow intermediate links of the bracelet received a polished finish as well. Although I like them a lot, especially the panda version, they don’t have the same effect on me as what this Apollo 11 50th Anniversary model had and still has. I wouldn’t swap mine for one of them, for example, if that were an option.

Interestingly, Omega decided to use the standard caliber 3861 for the gold Moonwatch models and limit the caliber 3861 with Moonshine Gold components (dubbed 3861M) to this edition from 2019.

Omega Speedmaster Professional Apollo 11 50th Annivesary in Moonshine gold (ref. 310.

The Omega Speedmaster in Moonshine Gold could be an “exit watch”

“Hobbykiller” is a word I’ve picked up from a (Dutch) watch forum, and this Speedmaster Apollo 11 in Moonshine Gold could be just that. To me, this translates into the fact that there is not another watch out there that I’d rather have. Also, this Moonshine Gold Speedmaster made me appreciate gold watches even more than I already did.

We only live once, and you should always wear the watches you like best, even if they’re made of precious metals. Of course, there’s the risk of damage, but making a watch your daily wearer doesn’t mean you should be reckless. I can also see that you might want to keep a particular watch special by only wearing it on certain occasions, as I do with one of the watches I inherited.

The brushed finish on the top of the bracelet and the brushed case sides help keep this watch from drawing too much attention. It’s perhaps also a model that doesn’t ring a bell for the non-watch-enthusiast crowd. For example, I receive many more looks and comments from regular people when I wear my yellow gold Rolex Day-Date. One of the perks of this watch is that it somehow remains under the radar unless someone also loves or wears a Speedmaster. In that case, this watch has proven to be quite the conversation starter. Many of those who comment on it assume it’s the 1969 version, even those people who know watches well.

Omega Speedmaster Professional Apollo 11 50th Annivesary in Moonshine gold (ref. 310.

Here’s to the next five years and many more

I look forward to spending the next five years with this Moonwatch in 18K Moonshine Gold on my wrist. It will be interesting to monitor how the watch holds up, and at some point, it will be due for a service, I guess. At that time, I’ll decide if I want to have the case and bracelet worked on. As it stands now, though, I think I will ask Omega not to touch them.

Omega Speedmaster Professional Apollo 11 50th Annivesary in Moonshine gold (ref. 310.

Needless to add, I am aware it’s a full-gold (and expensive) watch, so I don’t take unnecessary risks. I don’t take this (or any gold watch) with me to all places, at least not those that seem too risky to me.

You can find more information about this watch on the official Omega website.

Watch specifications

Omega Speedmaster Professional Apollo 11 50th Annivesary
Solid gold with onyx hour markers
Case Material
18K Moonshine (yellow) Gold with Ceragold bezel
Case Dimensions
42mm (diameter) × 47.5mm (lug-to-lug) × 13.2mm (thickness)
Domed sapphire
Case Back
18K Moonshine Gold with sapphire crystal and lunar meteorite
Omega 3861M: manual winding, 21,600vph frequency, 50-hour power reserve, 26 jewels, certified Master Chronometer, antimagnetic to 15,000 gauss, Moonshine Gold-plated bridges, silicon hairspring
Water Resistance
50 meters
18K Moonshine Gold five-row bracelet (20/14mm) with folding clasp
Time (hours, minutes, small seconds), chronograph (12-hour and 30-minute counters, central seconds), and tachymeter bezel
€32,800 at the time of introduction (discontinued)
Special Note(s)
Limited edition of 1,014 pieces with special crater box