The Speedmaster World Cup Group Stage is in the books. It’s time for the head-to-head contests to begin. Over the next two weeks, we will run two quarter-final match-ups each weekend. One on Saturday; one on Sunday. Our intrepid warriors made it through blood baths of their own making, but now they need your help to fight another day. Only one man can progress from each quarter-final to the next stage. The choice of who receives that honor rests with you. Let battle commence…

This quarter-final is defined by adding a bit of color to the trusted Moonwatch. Red and white to be more precise. From reading the comments and looking at the number of votes, you guys like a Speedmaster with a colorful twist. That’s why this will be one hell of a match up.

The winners of group C and D

The first is the glorious winner in Mike’s Group C, the Speedmaster Tintin. the Tintin secured victory over its closest contender, the Speedmaster 60th Anniversary with a total of 36% of the votes. And who knows, this might be the success story of our Speedmaster LE World Cup. From back alley camera stores in Japan to the glorious winner in our World Cup. Considering the enthusiasm of our readers, the Tintin might have a shot at eternal glory.

The second contender is the winner in Jorg’s Group D, the Speedmaster Alaska Project 2008. The Alaska Project clinched victory with a total of 34% of the votes. Although the Apollo XI 35th Anniversary gave it a run for its money, in the end, the Alaska Project 2008’s secured the second spot in this quarter-final quite comfortably. And this one could also go far.  The out of this world aesthetic is legendary amongst Speedmaster fans and the incredible backstory reads like a spy novel. This will be a tough one!

Speedmaster Tintin

Group C winner — Omega Speedmaster Professional Tintin

I must say that I’m pleased with the results of my group. You just never know what will happen when four great watches come together, but the Tintin triumphed in the end. As my buddy “Papa J” comments below, this is a tough one because both of us like each other’s candidate as well. In the end, though, there can only be one winner and, for me, that’s the red and white. Let me tell you why your vote should head in that direction.

Look, I really dig the Alaska Project 2008. It’s a super package and what I like about it is that it’s one of the few limited edition Speedmaster models that’s actually a reissue. There are no canines on the dial, no spaceships, or space booties either. It has meaning. However, here’s the main problem with the Alaska Project: it’s more than a tad gimmicky and pretty unwearable day-to-day. It makes for a great curio. Additionally, the big aluminum “case” is a well-made toy, but it’s purely a conversation piece. Oh, and while these watches enjoy high prices today, they languished in showcases like grapes in the sun when they were new. People just couldn’t come to grips with paying for such an unusable watch. Thankfully, the Tintin provides a very different experience.

Omega Speedmaster Tintin Watch 2

A wearable regular production model

This contest is full of all kinds of Speedmaster watches, but very few provide the everyday wearability of the Tintin. After all, it was a regular issue watch that just happened to come off as extraordinarily unpopular when it first debuted. Maybe people just didn’t know how to take it after getting used to an annual cadence of limited edition models. I mean, when was the last time Omega made a proper regular production Moonwatch and didn’t release it under the guise of a “special edition”? Exactly. As a collector and one who loves an oddball model, the Tintin ticks that box perfectly.

Omega Speedmaster Tintin Watch 1

Now, the fact that we have an exceedingly rare (trust us, it truly is rarer than you think) regular production out of production model on our hands is cool. Yet, would it be cool if it weren’t good looking? Absolutely not and this is where the Tintin scores again. It definitely has color, but it doesn’t have so much color that it screams. It’s just different enough from the normal Moonwatch due to its lovely minute track.

Omega Speedmaster Tintin Watch 3

The minute track is where it’s at

I love that red and white ring around the dial on the Tintin. I adore it because, under a loupe, it’s imperfect. Indeed, the red and white edges look somewhat hand done and that’s a rare thing in this day and age. And because of this artisanal look, it has a nice connection with those uber-pricey racing models from the ’60s and ’70s. The track also helps sell the illusion of a step dial (it’s not). And again, because of this pop of color, it feels a little like the watch version of a noticeable, yet classy, tie against a really serious gray suit.

Omega Speedmaster Tintin Watch 4

The Speedmaster Tintin is the watch for those who appreciate Omega and its history in space and racing, but wish for something just a little bit different from the norm. For me personally, the Tintin is the exact reason why I’ve never bought a modern standard Moonwatch. I just don’t need it despite it ranking as an all-time classic. Somehow, if I were to line up a handful of “standards” watches, this watch would fit the bill for me next to other icons. I don’t think I could quite say the same about the Alaska Project, much less the bulk of the remaining watches in this World Cup.

Group D winner — Omega Speedmaster Professional Alaska Project 2008

It’s tough to battle another Speedmaster you love. To use some well-known words from our beloved world of hip-hop Mike, “I gots mad love for the Tintin, I ain’t no hater”. But despite my love for the quirky looks and the “zero-to-hero” story of the Tintin, my love for the Alaska Project 2008 is much greater.

It was no real surprise to see the Alaska Project clinch victory in my group D. But I will add this, it does feel weird that the grandfather of all the Speedmaster Limited Editions only came in third in the group. If you ask me the Speedmaster Professional Apollo XI BA145.022-69 should at least have battled for the top spot. But as Robert-Jan said yesterday, it seems not everyone is into gold Speedmasters.

Having said that, I am very pleased to see the Alaska Project 2008 win in group D of our World Cup. It’s my favorite limited edition Speedmaster and if you would like to know why I initially picked it for my group, you can read the story here.

Speedmaster Alaska Project

Why people love the Alaska Project 2008?

Something I haven’t touched upon the first time around is why people love this extraordinary Speedmaster. Probably the main reason you will hear from enthusiasts is aesthetics. The Alaska Project 2008 looks completely different from any other Speedmaster out there. And while we have seen a number of white dialed Speedmasters, this one looks unique and is the most spectacular out of all of them.

The icy white dial in combination with the white nylon velcro straps it comes with creates a spectacular watch. Add the red anodized aluminum outer case to top it off and you not only have a watch that looks bonkers. You can feel the story of the secret Alaska Project burst into life in all its glory.

A great storyteller

It’s the amazing story of the secret Alaska Project and the Omega prototypes that were developed for it. From the iconic rocket hands to the mentioning of temperature range it was able to withstand on the strap, to the red outer case with all its details. For many, this is amongst the best storytelling Speedmaster models out there.

And finally, there is the availability of both the original Alaska prototypes and this 2008 re-edition. Starting with the first: it is virtually impossible to get your hands on any of the original Alaska prototype watches. It is believed that only three pieces of the Alaska II prototype were actually produced as Robert-Jan described in this extensive article about the Alaska Project watches.

So your only way of owning part of the Alaska Project legacy is to get your hands on one of the 1970 pieces of the 2008 re-editions that were produced. And once you own a Speedmaster like this one, you are one of the very few lucky people that own a part of this very special story.

The perfect Speedmaster Limited Edition?

I love the Alaska Project 2008 for all the reasons that Speedmaster enthusiasts love it. But the one extra reason for me is that the Alaska Project 2008 is the ultimate proof of the iconic power of the Speedmaster’s design. Put a regular Moonwatch next to this Alaska Project 2008 and visually the watches could not be further apart within the Moonwatch universe. And still, without any hesitation, it looks and feels 100% like a Speedmaster Professional. That’s a powerful statement.

And the best thing is, it’s not a statement for the sake of making a statement. The watch is not white because it simply wants to be different. It is white because it needed to be able to withstand solar radiation. It has a red outer case because it needed to be able to withstand extreme temperatures. And it comes with a white nylon velcro strap because it needed to be worn over a spacesuit.

This Alaska Project 2008 might be lightyears away from the regular Moonwatch when it comes to looks. But those looks serve exactly the same purpose that made the Speedmaster the legend it is today. And that is a much stronger story than the Tintin could ever tell. And it’s exactly why the Alaska Project 2008 deserves a spot in the semi-finals of our World Cup.

But it’s not up to us to decide who wins. We can’t wait for what our readers have to say about these two iconic Speedmasters. Now the ball is in your court. Who is progressing to the semi-finals of the Speedmaster LE World Cup? Vote below and let us know your choice in the comments section.

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