Basel 2014: Not Your Usual Omega Speedmaster

Posted on April 7, 2014

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There’s a very short list when it comes to famous chronographs: Universal’s Compax, Zenith’s El Primero, Rolex’s Daytona (also powered, previously, by El Primero) and Cosmograph, Heuer’s Carrera (before TAG acquisition) and Breitling’s Navitimer BUT head above them all, resting before on the moon itself is one chronograph- the Omega Speedmaster Professional.

BASEL2014 Speedmaster Apollo 11 45th Anniversary Limited EditionAfter exhaustive tests in 1965, it was the Speedmaster to the exclusion of all other contenders that came out tops. In July 1969, NASA astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon in answer to President Kennedy’s challenge. It was a crowning achievement with two of Earth’s space-facing pioneers wearing Speedmaster Professional chronographs. This event goes beyond mere “fame by association” marketing, the Speedmaster was used aboard the Lunar Landing Module as a reliable backup to the electronic timekeeping system.

In 1975, international space exploration found our intrepid explorers (Cosmonaut crew included) of the Apollo-Soyuz rendezvous similarly armed with the reliable chronograph. Indeed, it’s rare that a wrist chronograph launched in 1957 (same year of release as the Seamaster 300) would stand both test of time and rigors of pre-spaceflight testing to become so iconic that the timepiece with tri-compax aesthetic would become synonymous with performance under pressure.

The original engine driving the Speedmaster Professional was a calibre 321, a column wheel chronograph designed by Lemania’s Albert Piguet and look how far we’ve come.

Omega Speedmaster Professional Apollo 11

Celebrating the 45th anniversary of our landing on the moon is not your usual Omega Speedmaster. The Limited Edition timepiece recalls the tones and textures of the Apollo 11 lunar and command modules. It receives a complete facelift, featuring a completely brushed 42mm grade-2 titanium case with gold touches on the bezel periphery and indexes.

BASEL2014 Speedmaster Apollo 11 45th Anniversary Limited Edition 2The Speedmaster Professional Apollo 11 45th Anniversary Limited Edition (Omega seriously should rethink naming conventions) uses a special laser, removing material, creating the unique look for the name, sub-dial numerals and hour markers on the watch’s PVD dial. The gold touches by way of indexes and hour, minute, seconds and sub-dial hands are crafted from 18K red gold and the central chronograph hand is red gold-plated. Super-LumiNova coating the hour, minute and chronograph seconds hands as well as the hour markers and two dots at 12 o’clock emits a green light. The bezel ring, a matt black ceramic ring with tachymeter scale and bordered with gold is made with 18K Sedna™.

Limited to 1969 editions, this iteration of the Speedmaster eschews standard bracelet and leather straps opting instead for a NATO fabric strap inspired by the original NATO straps were created by the British Ministry of Defence in 1973. The Apollo 11 45th Anniversary Limited Edition wristwatch is fitted with the calibre 1861 manual-winding chronograph.

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Posted in: watches