The legendary Omega Speedmaster. A watch that has played a huge role in the history of horology, a true icon for the devotees.
It was first launched in 1957 and chronographs were not a thing back then. Not until 12 years later, where 2 humans, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin made history by taking their first steps on the Moon.
As they took pleasure in exploring the extraterritorial planet, they were equipped with seemingly an obligatory tool during their Apollo 11 mission.
Many years later, this tool embraced its fabled title as the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch.
Since then, Omega began producing many tributes in recognition of the Moonwatch. Some of it, as I shall say, took an interesting design approach which not many have heard of.
Here are my top 5 variations of this remarkable work of history.
Omega Speedmaster Alaska Project
Omega made this watch as a prototype in view of the requests from astronauts who wanted a more solidified timepiece to bring into space. NASA was also planning to go on a mission where they would explore the darker side of the moon where the temperature is much cooler.
This very reason inspired the name Alaska Project as the watch was developed with an aluminium housing that is capable of withstanding temperature of new extremes.
To be exact, the housing of the Alaska Project stated that it can withstand temperatures up to 260 degrees Celsius to as low as -148 degrees Celsius. The material used was clearly intentional as well due to aluminium’s high thermal retention to heat and cold.
Interestingly, the choice of the colour plays a part in the development of the housing as red actually shields the watch from ambient radiation and sunlight. Thoughtful.
Take the casing off and you are presented with a fine looking timepiece with delicate details of the dial.
The clean looking white dial, interesting hands of the sub-dials and a striking red chronograph marker complements the whole watch in a very legible manner, making this watch a league on its own.
Fortunately, if your riches allows you to, you can find a number of new and pre-owned offers here.
Omega Speedmaster Oreo
The Oreo or aka White Side of the Moon is another snowy looking watch which signifies the illuminated portion of the moon as seen from earth.
In comparison to the Alaska Project, the White Side of the Moon will feature a white zirconium oxide ceramic on the dial and the case.
The WSOTM provides excellent legibility albeit being white due to its alluring contrast between the black markings of the watch and Omega’s signature Speedmaster in red.
It houses Omega’s Co-Axial caliber 9300 with a 44.25 mm case which does not wear as bad as you think.
This beauty comes in 2 options, one which we have covered and the other, might just replace your wedding ring.
The other WSOTM consists of 74 diamonds set in Pt850 platinum Liquid metal™. How much more luxurious do you want your wrist to look?
Well, that’s for you to decide. You can visit Omega’s website for more information.
Omega Speedmaster 125
Before we continue looking at more contemporary Speedys, let’s take a step back to 1973 and show some appreciation to what Omega did back then.
As you may already know, each Speedmaster that we have talked about are coupled with a story, exuding that bit of nostalgia for its owners. The Speedmaster 125 is of no exception and you just might understand the history of Omega a little better.
The 125 utilises a double-case design which helps with additional protection and when the time comes, it eases the strain of servicing.
The movement used in the 125 bears some interesting history as it is the world’s first automatic chronograph-chronometer.
The calibre 1041 consists of a date, a 24-hour indicator which reads the day/night and a rapid date-setting device. With a frequency of 28,800 vph it just might be an exceptionally precise watch back in the day.
Another interesting fact about this watch is in its design. Omega had already considered using ceramic in its watches back in 1973 and the 125 was the lucky candidate. Unfortunately, it did not make the cut.
You can sport this piece of history on your wrist here.
Omega Speedmaster Meteorite
Yes. The Speedmaster came in a meteorite dial.
The Swiss giant surely fell in love with the relation of its products with the Moon. The Speedmaster Meteorite or with its extended moniker, Grey Side Of The Moon Meteorite, was Omega’s way of introducing the meteorite side of the moon.
With the enthralling Widmanstätten pattern on the meteorite dial alongside the rose gold accents on the markings, hands and bezel-this is my personal favourite on the list.
If you are unsure what the Widmanstätten pattern is, you can check out this article where we talked about Zelos’s Hammerhead II, another stunning piece.
We’ve visited the white side of the Moon and apparently, the dimensions on the grey side does not differ. With the same case dimension of 44.25 mm it sure does look dramatically different.
Watches embracing the meteorite dial often give rise to controversy in terms of the legibility of the watch. The way Omega gets around with this? By using a darker meteorite and providing a contrast with its proprietary Sedna™ gold alloy which contains Super-LumiNova. The Speedmaster logo stays red though.
Prices are around $19,000 SGD which is roughly $3,500 more than the original GSOTM. Take a look here for more information.
Omega Speedmaster Apollo 17 40th Anniversary
We’ve come to the end of this list and I must say, your knowledge of the Moon must’ve improved a tad bit. Well, at least you’ve discovered the white, grey and meteorite side of the moon.
Now lets go on a last mission to the Moon (again!?), I promise this will be the last one.
The Apollo 17 is the last Apollo mission to the Moon back in 1972 and Omega commemorated this mission by producing 2 Speedmasters.
The one we’ll be talking about will be reference 318.104.22.168.99.002, the one with the silver coin dial.
This may just be the most unique Speedmaster dials you have ever seen, embossed with the Apollo 17’s mission patch.
Certainly, the Swiss giant had to come out with something special paying tribute to NASA’s last manned mission to the Moon.
The dial is made out of sterling silver with the logo and the word Speedmaster Professional being imprinted on the sapphire crystal leaving the dial untouched.
Just by its design aspects and appearance, you know this must be something which Omega holds dearly.
The movement used is the hand-wound Lemania based caliber 1861 which has been around for a while but do not get mixed up with the caliber 861 which was the one that made it to the moon together with the calibre 321.
The difference between calibers 861 and 1861 is an extra jewel and the use of materials.
Amigos, we’ve not only gone through some of the most noteworthy Speedmasters that the Swiss giant has made. It essentially feels like we’ve been to the moon and back.
It is mesmerising just by the thought of the amount of history a watch can be associated with, which in this case, associated with a giant leap for mankind as spoken by Neil Armstrong where humans took exploration into the depths of an unknown realm.
The stories of these watches isn’t only inspiring but goes to show the unfathomable ability of our mankind. Let’s all stay united and go through this catastrophe we’re facing, together.