Speedy Tuesday — The Speedmaster Professional Apollo 15 35th Anniversary A Touch of Gold by Robert-Jan BroerJanuary 21, 2020 MIN READSpeedy Tuesday — The Speedmaster Professional Apollo 15 35th Anniversary
Omega likes to celebrate some of the Apollo missions. Although you might think this is a recently-adopted practice of the last few years, it started in 1969 with the gold Speedmaster commemorating Apollo XI. Here we pick-up on a lesser-known animal — The Omega Speedmaster Professional Apollo 15 35th Anniversary model.
Omega likes to celebrate some of the Apollo missions. Although you might think this is a recently-adopted practice of the last few years, it started in 1969 with the gold Speedmaster commemorating Apollo XI.
Then, in 1976, Omega celebrated the 1975 Apollo/Soyuz rendezvous with a special Speedmaster, limited to just 500 pieces. Apart from some Apollo XI commemorative editions in the 1980s, it wasn’t until the ’90s that Omega started to create a higher number of limited edition Speedmaster watches to celebrate missions. Was that move a bad thing?
I try to look at it like this: Either you like the watch, or you don’t.
That is and has been a hot topic for some time now. But I try to look at it like this: Either you like the watch, or you don’t. It’s all well and good having a philosophical position on the subject, but if it goes so far as to cloud your analysis of each watch that is, perhaps in your opinion, diluting the Speedmaster range, it has gone too far. What if you already have your Moonwatch and want to collect them? I like that there’s a bit of choice and exciting additions that are slightly different from the standard Moonwatch. If you don’t like the special or limited editions, settle for the core classic is ready and waiting to call your wrist home.
Speedmaster Professional Apollo 15
Every collector is different. I have developed a way of collecting that works for me. I’m happy to decide for myself what I like or don’t like, and what I buy or don’t buy. For example, the Apollo 17 30th anniversary is so close to the standard Moonwatch, that I don’t really fancy one. But perhaps others do because it is so close to the Speedmaster Moonwatch 3570.50 (or its current 40 digit reference number).
It has the Apollo 15 mission patch on the case back — that’s an elegant touch that I’m sure few would find unappealing.
That’s why I find this Omega Speedmaster Professional Apollo 15 35th anniversary edition from 2006 so fascinating. It is a bi-color watch, which is somewhat more divisive, to begin with. Less controversially, however, it has the Apollo 15 mission patch on the case back — that’s an elegant touch that I’m sure few would find unappealing. I have never seen this watch on the wrist of any collector or Speedmaster enthusiast in the flesh. That’s including the hundreds of people I met last year during our Speedy Tuesday Event world tour. It is rare for sure. And that’s despite 1,971 pieces (commemorating the year of the Apollo 15 mission) floating around the world.
The later Apollo 15 40th anniversary edition, with the colors of the mission patch on the dial, is a more often seen variant. The all-steel case surely helps, but perhaps also because the limited editions in 2006 were not exposed as much on the internet (let alone social media, which was pretty non-existent at the time) as they are today.
Anyway, I like the Omega Speedmaster Professional Apollo 15 35th edition because it is so different from most of the others. Or was, as Omega introduced 5 Speedmasters to commemorate the Tokyo 2020 games this year, including a bi-color model. However, that one uses yellow gold, not rose gold — a subtle difference. Not only are the pushers and crown crafted from 18-karat rose gold, but also the bezel is rose gold with a black aluminum inlay. These were the pre-ceramic days at Omega, of course. On the dial, there’s a lot of rose gold. The hour markers, the rims around the sub-dials, and the handset all tie-in with the bezel. The Omega logo and wordmark are also in rose gold, which makes for a lovely contrast with black, as you can see.
The Speedmaster Professional Apollo 15 anniversary edition ref. 3366.51 isn’t the first bi-color Speedmaster Professional, of course. The first bi-color Speedmaster Pro was introduced in 1982, for the German market and a slightly different one a few years later for the Italian market.
The Speedmaster Reduced had several bi-color variations available, as did the Speedmaster Teutonic model in the 1980s. That said, a bi-color Speedmaster Professional is still a rarity, but I like it.
Behind the three birds (that presumably represent the crewmen), we can see the lunar surface of the landing site.
The case back shows the Apollo 15 mission patch. It was Italian dress designer Emilio Pucci who contributed the basic idea for this patch. The crew of Scott, Worden, and Irwin, modified Pucci’s design and colors a bit. Behind the three birds (that presumably represent the crewmen), we can see the lunar surface of the landing site. Underneath this case back, we’ll find the reliable manual wound caliber 1861. The movement that is still in use today by Omega. It is a small upgrade from the 861 that Omega had been using since 1968. On the case back, you will also find the Apollo 15 limited edition engraving as well as the unique number of the watch (out of 1,971 pieces).
Also special about this limited edition from 2006 is the box it came in. It wasn’t the standard red leather box or the black leather box that was quite common for limited editions. Rather, it came in a special wooden box painted in gray with the Apollo 15 mission patch on the lid. The box was accompanied by the warranty card and a black (with gold printing) Certificate of Authenticity.
Depending on the condition and whether they are complete with box and papers, today’s prices start at around €6,500 and go up rapidly for the ones that are perfect. The supply on this Speedmaster Professional Apollo 15 3366.51.00 is low though, so if you find one wandering aimlessly around a pre-loved store, it might be a good idea to give it a place to call home.
All our Speedy Tuesday articles can be found here on Fratello Magazine.
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About the author
Ever since he was a young child, Robert-Jan was drawn to watches, even though it were digital Casio and quartz Swatch models at the time. In the mid-1990s, his interest increased when he started to read about mechanical watches in… read more
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