Yesterday Omega finally released the much-anticipated Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary 310.20.42.50.01.001, a limited edition Speedmaster created in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission.
As we’ve come to expect from Omega, the watch is chockfull of details that refer to its raison d’être, new technical wizardry, and hints to the deep history of the Speedmaster in general. Now that the dust has settled a bit, let’s go over a couple;
First seen (again) on the Ultraman, back for the Moonshine 310.60.42.50.99.001, and now on the 310.20.42.50.01.001: the Dot Over Ninety (DON) tachymeter inlay. The DON bezels were found, in various guises, on Speedies produced up to approx. 1970, which explains the historical significance. On this latest Speedmaster it is done in black ceramic.
Buzz Aldrin & the Lunar Module
At 9:00 we find an image of Buzz Aldrin stepping out of the lunar module, based on a photograph taken by astronaut Neil A. Armstrong, commander, with a 70mm lunar surface camera during the Apollo 11 extravehicular activity (EVA).
The engraving, done by laser on a plate of Moonshine gold, is particularly finely done – as shown in this close-up by Omega;
Another reference to Apollo 11 is found at 11:00, where the stick markers sees itself replaced by an Arabic eleven. I must shamefully admit that I only noticed this today!
More interesting bits are found on the back.
The Footstep – of A Man?
The case back does not offer a view of the new rhodium-plated caliber 3861. Rather it shows an image of an astronaut’s bootprint in the lunar soil, photographed with a 70mm lunar surface camera during the Apollo 11 extravehicular activity (EVA) on the moon. It is done on a brass base.
Then of course there’s the A man versus Man debate. I’ll stick to a Wikipedia quote here;
Armstrong intended to say “That’s one small step for a man”, but the word “a” is not audible in the transmission, and thus was not initially reported by most observers of the live broadcast. When later asked about his quote, Armstrong said he believed he said “for a man”, and subsequent printed versions of the quote included the “a” in square brackets. One explanation for the absence may be that his accent caused him to slur the words “for a” together; another is the intermittent nature of the audio and video links to Earth, partly because of storms near Parkes Observatory. More recent digital analysis of the tape claims to reveal the “a” may have been spoken but obscured by static.
Last-but-not-least: the NAIAD-locked case back. Omega introduced this tech on the Deep Black version of the Planet Ocean back in 2016. It basically ensures that the engravings on the case back are always properly aligned. It is similar, if not the same, to what used to be known as a bayonet case back. This is the first Speedmaster Professional to be fitted with such a back.
The Omega Speedmaster 310.20.42.50.01.001 is a tribute to the Apollo 11 mission, but it also very much feels like an exercise in seeing what can be improved on the template that the classic Speedmaster Pro offers – in terms of both tech as well as finish. I suppose in time we’ll see our beloved Moonwatch updated with things such as a ceramic bezel insert, the METAS-certified 3861, and a nice NAIAD-locked case back – plus the price tag to match.
The Omega Speedmaster Professional Apollo 11 50th Anniversary 310.20.42.50.01.001 is available for pre-order at Ace Jewelers.
More information is available on WatchBase.