Speedy Tuesday – Hands-On Omega Speedmaster Apollo 17 Reference 3220.127.116.11.03.001
Late March, we introduced the gold Omega Speedmaster Apollo 17 ‘Tribute to Gene Cernan’ to you, limited to 272 pieces. We received a couple of requests to also cover the stainless steel version, the reference 318.104.22.168.03.001 (limited to 1972 pieces). Let’s have a closer look.
Omega Speedmaster Apollo 17 322.214.171.124.03.001
As a tribute to Gene Cernan (who passed away on January 16th of this year) and commemorating the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 17 mission. Gene Cernan was the astronaut to set the last foot on the Moon, which was exactly at 05:34 GMT. That explains the writing on the dial, just below ‘Speedmaster Professional’.
The gold piece (limited to 272 pieces) is something we wrote about at the end of March, you can find it here. It was initially limited to 72 pieces (and sold out), but the demand was so high for these gold Speedmaster Apollo 17 watches, that Omega increased it 272 pieces. It is perhaps not the best strategy to do so (especially for those who have a confirmed order), but on the other hand, if the demand is so high, Omega made 200 extra people very happy.
Well, for 1972 other people, Omega made the stainless steel version of the Speedmaster Professional Apollo 17, with reference 3126.96.36.199.03.001. Based on the regular Moonwatch, the Apollo 17 edition has a 42mm case made of stainless steel and features the Lemania based caliber 1861 movement (Lemania 1873). Unlike the original Moonwatch, the Apollo 17 is being delivered with a sapphire crystal. Just like some of the previous limited editions (like the Silver Snoopy Award for example), Omega seems to prefer a sapphire crystal for these instead of Hesalite (plexi crystal).
Omega is keen on using ceramics for most of their new sports watches. The original Moonwatch is one of the few models that is (still) without ceramics and hopefully they keep it that way. This Speedmaster Apollo 17 though, uses blue ceramic for its dial and bezel. The blue bezel uses Ceragold for its tachymeter scale, which is a patented process to create a seamless integration of ceramics and gold.
The blue dial of the watch combines nicely with the gold applied hour markers and sub dial rims. The hands that indicate the time are also made of gold while the chronograph hands are white baton hands. The Omega logo and writing are also in gold, to match the other gold accents.
On the 9 o’clock sub dial you’ll find the Apollo 17 patch. The gold Speedmaster Apollo 17 has a gold applied mission patch. It would have perhaps been a bit too much to apply that to the stainless steel Speedmaster Apollo 17 as well. So instead, you’ll find a white patch. The caseback of the Speedmaster Apollo 17 also shows the mission patch, embossed in steel.
The bezel of the caseback shows that this watch is commemorating the 45th anniversary of the Last Man on the Moon mission and that it is a tribute to Gene Cernan. The unique number of each watch is engraved here as well. There is no mention of ‘Professional Moonwatch’ on the caseback, like all the new 2017 regular Speedmaster Professional ‘Moonwatch’ models have.
Above you see clearly that the watch uses a sapphire crystal instead of the plexi crystal. You can also see that the Speedmaster bracelets are using screws since a couple of years. Something that we’ve seen in an early stage on the Apollo 15 limited edition 40th anniversary from 2011 and was later on adopted in the regular Speedmaster Professional collection as well.
To be brutally honest with you, when I first saw this watch it scared me quite a bit. The press images that popped up on some places before the official release showed a very (very!) blue dial. I also mentioned this in our coverage of the gold edition of this Omega Speedmaster Apollo 17 watch. However, in the flesh the blue dial is very attractive and not having the slightest resemblance with the hard blue tone it had on the rendered PR images. The gold and blue is a very attractive combination on both the dial and the Ceragold blue bezel. The only somewhat strange thing is the racing-like minute track on the watch. I am not sure why this was done on this Moonwatch variation, where there is no link with the racing models of the past. Reasons aside, it does look nice.
The list price of this Speedmaster Apollo 17 in stainless steel is 6500 USD (or 6000 Euro). More information via Omega online.