The Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Moonshine Gold LE A year on the wrist with Omega's all-gold stunner by Robert-Jan Broer April 21, 2020 MIN READThe Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Moonshine Gold LE
I’ve had the Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th anniversary Moonshine Gold limited edition watch, in my collection for a little more than one year. It’s time to share some takeaways now the dust has settled.
Last year in March, right before Baselworld (when that was still a thing), I was invited to Biel. I was promised something special. On the 12th of March, which happened to be a Tuesday, I was about to witness the launch of a very special gold Speedmaster. Reference 310.60.42.50.99.001 commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission. The result of this mission? Man’s first steps on the moon. On their wrists at the time was the Omega Speedmaster Professional. You know the story, I am sure.
Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Moonshine Gold
The new Moonshine gold Speedmaster 310.60.42.50.99.001 was a tribute to the watch worn on the Moon, but also to the gold watch that was given to the Apollo astronauts in November 1969. The astronauts received their watches with a special engraving, and Omega made the same watch for the public with the “First Watch Worn on the Moon” engraving instead. It was a numbered edition of 1,014 pieces. The Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Moonshine Gold watch was also limited to 1,014 pieces.
I remember being at the Omega HQ in Biel, looking at the prototype watch in front of me. It is the watch that celebrates the Speedmaster and the role it had (and still has) during space missions. It is the watch based on the 1969 gold Speedmaster, a watch that I already had the pleasure to see in person when I just started collecting watches (my watchmaker owned one of those at the time). My brain started to transform into a realtime Excel sheet, doing the math. How can I come up with the necessary funds for this watch?
Before I was done calculating, my order was in. I checked with the other team members. Mike and Berti also made up their minds very quickly. Without even seeing the watch, but based on my enthusiasm (and up to today, I don’t think it has disappointed them). Seeing the watch in front of me, trying it on further convinced me that this is the watch I really want to have.
I wanted this watch more than any watch in the world, and that includes any high-end piece.
I wanted this watch more than any watch in the world, and that includes any high-end piece, period. Number 13, that’s the number I always try to go for. Sometimes I am more successful in that pursuit than in others. It is my lucky number and therefore always worth a shot. This time, blessedly, I was quick enough. A few months after the introduction, I received the number 13 of 1,014 pieces.
It is the first time I consulted my wife whether it was OK to get a watch like this. The watch comes with a €32,800 price tag and although I am not sure if her objection would have influenced my decision and action (I already ordered it anyway), I felt it was the right thing to do. She knew how I felt about it, and she didn’t require an explanation.
Stafford wearing his no 13. Photo by NASA
The number 13
The number 13 is even more special to me when it comes to this particular watch. The original 18K gold Speedmaster BA145.022-69 with number 13 engraved in the case back was presented to astronaut Thomas P. Stafford. He is my favorite Apollo astronaut. I have had the pleasure to meet (and have diner with) him on two occasions. The first time was in Sochi, during the Olympic Winter Games in 2014 where he was a special guest together with his friend and cosmonaut Alexey Leonov.
The second time, was one year later during the Speedmaster event in Houston. I sat next to Mr. Stafford and he remembered me because I was wearing the gold watch (a 1980 Speedmaster Professional BA345.0802) that he has as well, which he showed me in Sochi. Stafford was amiable, and he visibly enjoyed both events hosted by Omega. I also noticed he is (or at least at the time) was still very sharp and had a clear memory of things.
…once I started wearing the Speedmaster Apollo 11 Moonshine Gold, I simply could not take it off.
The other reason for number 13 is my birthday, the 13th of April (1977). The number 13 took on an even greater significance when my daughter was born in 2013. The collection of 13s had begun by then, but since it has intensified.
When I picked up my Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th anniversary, I thought about the (precious) moments for which I’d be wearing this watch. Perhaps on Christmas, definitely on my birthday, during the Speedy Tuesday event that we were doing in 2019.
However, I was really doubtful I would watch on my wrist too often. Gold scratches easily. And although I am always kind of careful with my watches, it does occasionally happen that my watches get scratched.
With gold, the results of daily use would become evident at some point. The gold bracelet might also show some stretch over time, due to the softness of gold — definitely a watch for special occasions. But, once I started wearing the Speedmaster Apollo 11 Moonshine Gold, I just couldn’t take it off. The watch is simply stunning. The burgundy red ceramic bezel provides a beautiful contrast to the pale gold color of the Moonshine alloy, and the black Onyx markers are just amazing on the solid gold dial.
…the first thing I did when I returned home was to go to the bank safe to get the Moonshine.
As I’ve said in the in-depth comparison article between the original 1969 gold Speedmaster and this new model, to me the new one is like the Godfather II movie — better than the original. To each their own, and I get the significance of the original. Still, this modern version is suitable for daily wear and has all the modern watch technology on board, such as the Master Chronometer movement, a ceramic bezel, and has a more solid feel to it.
On my wrist
I wore this watch almost every day since the day I received it. I make exceptions when I need to do a watch review, and I will wear that watch for a while, but all my other watches feel quite lonely these days. During my holiday last year, I wore a Ploprof for three weeks in a row, which was perfect as well, but the first thing I did when I returned home was to go to the bank safe to get the Moonshine.
Even now, a year later, the gold Speedmaster Apollo 11 Moonshine Gold is almost always on my wrist. The gold has this pale tone, which makes it not too obtrusive, yet it has this beautiful gold glow, of course. I don’t care what others think, but I haven’t received a single (negative) remark on wearing a full gold watch. I noticed other people noticing, especially when they are into watches, but otherwise, it is still relatively a low profile watch.
It isn’t uncommon for me to wear the Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 Moonshine Gold watch with a shirt, sweater, polo, or t-shirt. They all look fine with it. And I stopped caring about getting scratches. That said, the only scratches it has sustained so far, are on the clasp. It is a watch for daily use, and I don’t mind if that will show at some point. The watch gets a bit of character this way.
What I noticed during the year of ownership and wearing it so much, is the accuracy of the movement. Normally, I wasn’t really bothered by it, as I wore different watches all the time. So you don’t really notice when a watch is off, or even slightly off. When you start to wear the same watch all the time, it becomes a little more visible and thus important. On my timing device, I noticed a little +2 seconds a day on average, which is simply very good. The new caliber 3861 is not only a joy to look at, but it also very accurate and well within the strict specifications of a Master Chronometer.
…for a daily watch, a bit of lume is very welcome…
The winding is smooth as butter and the pushers are easy to operate. The winding has become a little easier over time, and the buttons are functioning as they did on day 1. If there’s one point to make, it is the bad visibility under low light conditions. I don’t care much for lume on hands and dials, especially when it is a watch I don’t wear every day. But for a daily watch, a bit of lume is very welcome I’ve noticed. On the other hand, it is a very small issue as my iPhone will light up an entire room once I touch the screen. The clasp is very nicely done, even though its width is only 14mm (without the pushers). The bracelet and clasp never failed on me.
A lifetime companion
Now, last but not least, the interesting thing about this Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Moonshine Gold watch is that it made my jealousy of people who own just one good watch completely disappear. I could always be jealous of people that just had one good watch, that they would wear all of their lives. I have a few friends who just bought a watch they really liked, and wear them every single day. Not only for your peace of mind but also for the fact that this really is your watch.
A lifetime companion, like the watch my grandfather wore for 42 years in a row. Or my dad’s Omega Geneve he wore for 40 years in a row. But with this Moonshine gold Speedmaster Professional, I am pretty convinced that this is the watch that my daughter will remember me wearing all the time. It makes it more special, for me, but hopefully also for her when it is time to pass it down. Nothing beats getting a watch with a story. Visit the official website here.
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Brand Omega ModelSpeedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Moonshine Gold Limited EditionReference310.60.42.50.99.001DialSold gold, with Onyx hour markers (set in gold) and gold handsCase Material18K Moonshine gold, ceramic bezelCase Dimensions42mm diameter, 47mm lug to lug, 14mm thicknessCrystalSapphireCase BackSapphireMovementOmega Master Chronometer Cal. 3861, manual winding, Co-Axial escapement with Silicon (Si14) balance spring, 21600vph, min. 50 hours power-reserveWater Resistance50 MetersStrap18K "Moonshine" gold, folding clasp with pushersFunctionsTime, Chronograph, TachymeterPrice€32.800Warranty5 yearsSpecial Note(s)Limited edition of 1014 pieces, comes with a special crater box. Sold out. Watch of the Week
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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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