It is December 14th, 1972, and Apollo 17 astronaut Gene Cernan is about to set foot on the ladder of the Lunar Module. Before he does so, he kneels and writes the initials of his daughter Tracy in the Moon dust. On his wrist is an Omega Speedmaster 105.003 with caliber 321.

Gene Cernan and his daughter Teresa “Tracy” Dawn — Image courtesy of NASA

His watch is on display at the Omega Museum in Biel and was used to recreate the Speedmaster Calibre 321 model in 2020. Cernan’s Speedmaster 105.003 with NASA serial number 28 and product code CF55033 was the last worn on the Moon. As you can see in the following pictures, it has seen intensive use. The bezel fell off, and the Hesalite crystal is damaged. Cernan wore his Speedmaster 105.003 on a JB Champion bracelet, of which Deke Slayton (NASA’s director of Flight Crew Operations) ordered several for his crew. These bracelets tended to snap off the wrist when encountering too much resistance. This was useful for any astronaut who didn’t want to risk losing a hand if it got stuck behind something. It’s amazing to think that something normally considered a weakness became a unique selling point for a product.

Anyway, 2022 marks exactly 50 years since Cernan was the last man on the Moon and scribbled his daughter’s initials in the dust (they are still there). Together with Don Davis, Cernan wrote his story in the 1999 book The Last Man on the Moon. In it, he also mentions the use of his watch on the lunar surface (fun fact: some customers who bought an Omega Speedmaster Professional received this book as a complimentary gift). The other Apollo 17 astronauts were Ron Evans and Harrison Schmitt.

Omega Speedmaster Apollo 17 editions

Although Cernan wore the Speedmaster 105.003 during the Apollo 17 mission, the limited editions dedicated to him are all Speedmaster Professional models. The difference is that the Speedmaster 105.003 had a straight-lug case with a diameter of 39.7mm. All the Speedmasters dedicated to the Apollo 17 mission are 42mm “Professional” models with lyre lugs and crown guards. But the 105.003 was not the only watch that Cernan wore. It has been reported that he also wore a Speedmaster Professional 105.012-66 (caliber 321). His fellow astronauts Ron Evans and Harrison Schmitt both wore a Speedmaster Professional 105.012-66. While aboard the module, Ron Evans used a 145.022 (caliber 861) for specific experiments. This was the only caliber 861 that was close to the Moon.

The first watch dedicated to the Apollo 17 mission was introduced as part of the famous white Mission Cases with 23 watches inside. They included 22 Speedmasters with mission patches for the Gemini, Apollo, and Skylab missions, as well as one Speedmaster ’57 Broad Arrow model with caliber 1861. After producing 50 of these Mission Cases with 23 watches each, Omega produced between 100 and 150 watches per mission patch model separately. The only exception was the Apollo 13 edition, which was released as a limited edition of 999 pieces in 1995.

Speedmaster Apollo 17

2002 Apollo 17 limited edition of 3,000 pieces

The next Apollo 17 commemorative Speedmaster Professional was the 30th-anniversary model introduced in 2002. This 3,000-piece limited edition was based on the then-current Moonwatch ref. 3570.50 but featured a special “Last Man on the Moon” engraving on the case back. It also came with a special box and a certificate. This Speedmaster Professional 3574.51 was fitted with the ref. 1998 bracelet with ref. 849 end links. We had one in our shop a while ago.

Apollo XVII 40th Apollo 17

2012 Apollo 17 limited edition of 1,972 pieces

One of the most hated Speedmaster models is probably this Apollo 17 edition from 2012. It has a sterling silver coin as a dial and the Omega Speedmaster Professional wording printed on the sapphire crystal. This particular model (ref. 311. wasn’t an instant seller, as Gerard wrote here, but I think it has gained some appreciation in the last few years. On the wrist, this silver-coin-dial watch can actually look very intriguing.

2017 Apollo 17 limited editions in gold and steel

For the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 17 mission, Omega introduced two Speedmaster Professional limited editions. One was in 18K yellow gold and the other was a similar-looking model in stainless steel. The stainless steel version was limited to 1972 pieces to commemorate the year of the mission. Omega capped the production of the gold model at 272 pieces.

Apollo 17

A specific feature of this limited-edition Speedmaster Professional Apollo 17 is the blue ceramic dial and bezel in combination with gold. The bezel uses Omega’s Ceragold for the tachymeter scale, and the time-telling hands and applied hour markers are also in 18K gold. The full-gold version of the watch has an interpretation of the Apollo mission patch in gold on the seconds sub-dial, while this is in a chrome color on the stainless steel version. The steel Speedmaster Apollo 17 45th-anniversary edition (ref. 311. came with a stainless steel bracelet. In contrast, the gold version (ref. 311. was only available on a brown alligator strap with a gold folding clasp.

Apollo 17 Ronald Evans — Image courtesy of NASA

No new model for the 50th anniversary

Many Speedmaster fans expected to see a Speedmaster Apollo 17 edition this year for the 50th anniversary of the mission. It would make it the fifth (or sixth, depending if you include the 1997 mission-patch model as a separate version) limited edition to celebrate an Apollo 17 anniversary. Omega decided not to release a new watch for this occasion. Instead, the brand sent a press release and created a separate landing page on the Omega website (click here) with nice images and a video.

Which of the past editions is your favorite? Or would you rather see a new 50th-anniversary edition? Let us know in the comments.