Speedy Tuesday – Omega Speedmaster Professional Apollo 11 45th Anniversary 318.104.22.168.06.001
It’s Speedy Tuesday! Every 5 years, Omega introduces a commemorative edition of the Speedmaster Pro with regards to the Apollo 11 mission in 1969. In 2009, the 40th Anniversary edition of this Speedmaster Pro Apollo 11 was a slightly modified version of the standard Speedmaster Pro 3570.50 model. A beautiful silver medal patch on the sub dial on 9 o’clock and a big Eagle on the case back. We covered it in one of our Speedy Tuesday articles, of course (click here).
Omega Speedmaster Pro 322.214.171.124.06.001
It wasn’t a surprise to anyone that Omega introduced the 45th Anniversary Edition of the Speedmaster Professional Apollo 11 this year. However, I guess that nobody expected the watch to be like this. A titanium case, PVD dial, a Sedna gold bezel with matt black ceramic tachymeter ring and a NATO strap.
Black PVD Dial
One of the first things to notice is the dial. The logo and wording have not been printed like we are used to, but it is all made of 1 piece and treated with black PVD. The dial was created using a special laser which created the nice looking dial by removing all material surrounding the logo, model name, sub dial numerals, minute and hour markers.
This results in a dial that has a grey-ish look with appears to be a grained structure. The use of 18 carat red gold for the indexes and hands (one exception – the chronograph second-hand is red gold plated) is very well-chosen by Omega as it gives a great contrast with the black PVD dial.
The use of Sedna gold was quite a surprise as well. Sedna gold being Omega’s answer to Rolex’ Everose gold, both are rose gold alloys that are long lasting. The Sedna gold alloy blends in gold, copper and palladium and has a minimum gold content of 75%. The result is a unique rose color mainly due to the right amount of copper. Palladium ensures the long-lasting effect of the reddish hue on the Sedna gold.
The case of this new Omega Speedmaster Professional is from titanium. Although titanium has been used before on a Speedmaster Professional, it wasn’t done before on this typical a-symmterical Speedmaster (Professional) case. Omega decided to use Grade-2 titanium and give it a brushed finish. Normally, watch brands tend to use the Grade-5 titanium type, which almost looks like stainless steel when it has been given a polish treatment. The Grade-2 titanium is bound to become darker over time, which will give the watch its own unique look I guess. The rose Sedna gold bezel contrasts nicely with the case and dial.
The dimensions of the case are equal to those of the stainless steel ‘Moonwatch’ (3570.50) model, 42mm in diameter measured from side to side. Omega decided to put a sapphire crystal on this watch instead of the plexi Hesalite crystal, which makes sense in a way, since it was designed to be a sturdy watch (hence the titanium case). The case back has the typical inscription used by Omega to show this watch as part of the Moonwatch-family. On top of that, it has the Apollo 11 45th Anniversary Limited Edition engraving and an individual number (of 1969 pieces in total).
Underneath the case back is the good ol’ hand-wound Lemania based caliber 1861 movement. Although I respect the Co-Axial movements from Omega a lot, especially the caliber 84xx, 85xx and 930x families, I don’t think they should ever change this winning combination of the Speedmaster Professional and the hand-wound movement. Unless they come up with a way to use the Lemania 2310 column wheel movement again, which is now at Breguet. Collectors of the Speedmaster might be able to forgive them if they’d put a Co-Axial escapement in a new version of the caliber 321 and Omega has a valid reason to increase the price on the Speedmaster (a bit!!!). Compared to the rest of the collection, the Omega Speedmaster Professional 3570.50 ranks among the cheaper watches. On the other hand, perhaps they should keep it affordable. It is cool that one of the most iconic watches is accessible to almost everyone.
One of Omega’s novelties this year in Basel was their offering of NATO straps. Beautiful finished NATO straps that really stand out compared to the cheap $20 USD straps you can order on-line about everywhere. Thick NATO’s that will not scratch the case back of your watch and with a nice Omega clasp as well. The Apollo 11 Anniversary Limited Edition Speedmaster comes with such a NATO strap, in green. A wonderful combination.
On the photo above you’ll see some of the variations that will be available. On the left, the 2009 Apollo 11 40th Anniversary limited edition Speedmaster and on the right the new 45th Anniversary Limited Edition Speedmaster. Missing on this picture is the leather NATO strap that also will become available soon. The NATO straps will have a 150 Swiss Francs price tag, except for the leather NATO strap. More information soon.
We’ve heard that the titanium Speedmaster Professional X-33 bracelet will fit this watch as well. So if you really want to wear it on a metal (titanium) bracelet that matches, you might want to order one separately.
The price tag on this reference 3126.96.36.199.06.001 Speedmaster Professional is approx 5000 Euro (CHF 6400 Excluding 8% VAT). Higher than the normal Speedmaster Professional ‘Moonwatch’ (3410 Euro including 21% VAT) but somehow it doesn’t seem out of proportion given the Sedna gold bezel, use of gold on the dial, the lasered black PVD dial and the titanium case.
More information can be found on the official novelties page of the Omega website, click here.