Although there is a feeling of something not being “right” when you look at a luxury watch, which is supposed to be a sort of homage to the timekeeper Neil Armstrong has worn when setting his foot at Moon’s dusty surface, the new limited edition Omega Speedmaster Professional Apollo 11 (Ref. 318.104.22.168.06.001) looks absolutely stunning with its chocolate-colored nylon strap matching the color of the dial. The latter, by the way, looks especially grand thanks to its rose gold hour markers and hands that provide the timekeeper with an even better sense of depth and dimension. And although 45 years ago there were not so many military watches featuring rose gold bezels with ceramic inserts, this new device will probably make an incredibly strong impression on any person fascinated by timekeepers designed for space travel. After all, who said that a “military” watch must always be black?
The Swiss watchmaking brand just couldn’t find a worse time to introduce yet another expensive model to the market.
With a rapidly escalating trade war between Russia and West threatening to derail the timid economic recovery both in Europe and the US, and also a prospect of a real war on the continent, there is a possibility of Omega having a hard time selling all 1969 individually numbered pieces that it has prepared to commemorate the 45th anniversary of the legendary Apollo 11 mission. Which is a shame, since it is a beautiful timekeeper that, despite its vintage-styled appearance, actually looks like a breath of fresh air thanks to a well-chosen combination of high-tech finishing process and some traditional design elements.
I am talking, of course, about the timekeeper’s three-dimensional dial, which is matched by a brown nylon strap that makes the gadget look decisively masculine. Finished with the PVD process, the dial was sculpted using the special laser-cut technique. While hour markers and minute tracks on most timepieces are usually either printed or applied to, this particular model has them as integral parts of the face with all the unneeded material carved around them with laser beams. Although the process may not look as cool as 3D-printing, it never fails to produce impressive results.
To make the effect even more stunning, Omega has also applied to the 12 hour markers thin sheets or 18-carat red gold that better match the six hands (including the three chronograph indicators). As usual, the markings are accompanied by glowing dots of Superluminova that emits a soothing greenish glow.
Like their another limited edition model, the sporty Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch “Apollo 15” that was released back in 2011 when the times were a lot calmer, this new Speedmaster Professional Apollo 11 is equipped with a rare Caliber 1861 movement. Based on a hand-wound Lemania 1873 design, this relatively slow-beating mechanism is quite accurate and will deliver whole two days of continuous operation: nothing to be impressed with, but still enough for those who plan to wear the timekeeper on a daily basis.
While, unlike movements created by A. Lange & Sohne, the mechanism doesn’t offer any fancy finishing techniques, it is still a shame that Omega has decided to hind it behind a solid case back cover: the tiny engine with its vintage layout looks cool enough even without the usual Geneva strips.
On the other hand, there is at least one major country that plans to keep sitting peacefully by the river watching bodies of its trade partners floating by, so there is a good chance that all of these beautiful watches will find their customers.
See also: Omega Speedmaster 57 Two-Tone Automatic
Photos: Omega, Wikipedia
Build quality: 5/5
Value for money: 4/5
Omega Speedmaster Professional Apollo 11 (Ref. 322.214.171.124.06.001) specification
Price: $6400 (MSRP)
Movement: Hand-wound, Caliber 1861 (based on a Lemania 1873 design), Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 18
Movement frequency: 21,600 vph
Power reserve: 48 hours
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, chronograph
Case and Crown: Titanium, grade 2
Bezel: Rose gold, with black ceramic ring insert
Size: 42.00 mm
Case height: 14.60 mm
Dial: Chocolate brown PVD
Hour markers: Rose gold
Hands: Rose gold
Water resistance: 50 meters
Strap: Brown nylon strap on a titanium tang buckle
Back: Solid, embossed Seahorse emblem