fbpx

Introducing the Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer Tourbillon

That takes "chronometer" seriously.

Of the slew of new launches at Swatch Group’s Time to Move event, arguably most notable watch from a chronometric perspective – surprisingly – is the Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer Tourbillon.

Drawing on features found in the Senator Chronometer, the Senator Chronometer Tourbillon is a flying tourbillon with three useful and smart features: a hacking tourbillon carriage, zero-reset seconds, and most notably, a minute detent that ensures the minute hand is always in sync with the seconds.

It’s all packaged in a 42mm platinum case that has a dark metallic blue sub-dial for the time.

glashutte original Senator Chronometer Tourbillon 5

Built in the traditional Glashütte style with the signature cage – the flying tourbillon was invented by local watchmaker Alfred Helwig in 1920 – the tourbillon has one arm of the cage doubling up as a seconds hand, travelling along a raised, sapphire crystal seconds track.

glashutte original Senator Chronometer Tourbillon 3

Pulling the crown out first stops the seconds, via a lever driven by a vertical clutch that touches the tourbillon cage, stopping both the cage and balance wheel. Then as the crown as pulled to its maximum, the seconds hand flies forward in clockwise direction, returning to zero and stops there.

glashutte original Senator Chronometer Tourbillon 4

The hacking and zero-reset mechanism to the right of the tourbillon

But crucially, at the same time this happens, the minute hand jumps forward to the next minute hashmark, so both the seconds and minute hands are synchronised.

The time can then be set correctly, and thanks to a rotational damper, the movement of both the minute and seconds hand are smooth and in sync. Then the crown is pressed back in, which restarts the tourbillon and balance wheel.

glashutte original Senator Chronometer Tourbillon 1

The mirror image of “Chronometer Tourbillon” is engraved on the flank of the sub-dial, so it reflects the right way up on the polished dial flange

Certified

The Senator Chronometer Tourbillon is also a bona fide chronometer, having been tested to DIN 8319, a German technical chronometer standard, by the Deutscher Kalibrierdienst (DKD), or German Calibration Service.

Testing in done in the former astronomical observatory in Glashütte, and a handful of other local brands, including Nomos and Wempe Chronometerwerke, also test their watches in the facility. It entails a 15 day test with the watch in five positions, and at three different temperatures.

The cal. 58-05

The movement is hand-wound with a longish 70-hour power reserve that’s indicated by the power reserve display at seven o’clock.

glashutte original Senator Chronometer Tourbillon 2

While the bridges and plates are finished traditional Glashütte ribbing, the base plate around the flying tourbillon is engraved by hand with a floral motif.

And as is the case with most watches from sister brands in the Swatch Group, this is equipped with a silicon hairspring.

glashutte original Senator Chronometer Tourbillon Calibre-58-05

Key Facts

Diameter: 42mm
Height: 12mm
Material: Platinum
Water resistance: 50m

Movement: Hand-wound cal. 58-05
Frequency: 21,600bph, or 3Hz
Power reserve: 70 hours

Strap: Dark blue alligator with platinum folding clasp

Price and availability

The Senator Chronometer Tourbillon in platinum (ref. 1-58-05-01-03-30) is a 25-piece limited edition, priced at €150,000 including 19% VAT.

In Singapore it’ll cost 237,400 Singapore dollars including taxes.


 

Back to top.

You may also enjoy these.

Business News: Richemont Online Sales Erode Margins

And the watch business perks up.

Richemont, the Swiss luxury group that owns Cartier and IWC, reported positive results for the full year to March 31, 2019, with revenue up 27% and profit rising 5%.

But the behind the numbers lay a sharp fall in operating margin to 13.9%, compared to 16.7% the year before.

That’s the lowest in over a decade, according to Bloomberg, a consequence of the consolidation of its twin online businesses, fashion retailer Yoox Net-a-Porter (YNAP) and preowned watch merchant Watchfinder, which account for 16.2% of sales. Excluding both online platforms, the margin would have been 19.5%.

Those numbers indicate Richemont is facing an issue common to many other online retailers – high volumes but narrow margins, or at least thinner than the typical cushy margins enjoyed by luxury goods firms.

Cartier Santos Large gradient blue 5

Yes please, but not so much online

Watchmaking

The group’s watchmaking division, which includes brands like A. Lange & Söhne, Piaget, and Panerai, posted a 10% increase in sales, alongside a 44% uptick in operating profit and operating margin of 12.7%.

Much of the increase was due to the non-recurrence of inventory buybacks executed in past years to reduce the amount of slow moving inventory in boutiques and third party retailers.

Asia, Japan and the Americas recorded the best performance, with boutiques operated by Vacheron Constantin, Jaeger-LeCoultre and IWC singled out for their strong double-digit growth.

The jewellery division, which includes Cartier and its watchmaking business, saw a 10% rise in sales and 16% rise in margins.

Wholesale and retail

Notably, Richemont’s wholesale business – the sale of goods to third party retailers – rose 7%.

Asia, including Japan, saw double digit increases in wholesale revenue, though it dipped in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

This number is particularly relevant for watches, since that division has the highest proportion of wholesale, as compared to jewellery or fashion, which is primarily sold through retail, or Richemont’s own stores.

Vacheron Constantin Overseas Tourbillon steel 2

Selling well at boutiques

The future

Richemont chairman Johann Rupert’s commentary accompanying the annual results pointed the way forward for its watch division.

“By shifting to a business model in which supply is matched to end-customer demand and sales are increasingly generated in mono-brand stores, online or with fewer but stronger multi-brand retail partners, we are confident that our Specialist Watchmakers are laying a solid foundation for sound and sustainable growth.”

In essence, he is saying that watchmakers will reduce inventory levels by moving towards just-in-time production, and concentrate on selling through their own boutiques or in-house online channels, while working with only a handful of third party retailers.

For the full announcement, click here.


 

Back to top.

You may also enjoy these.

Introducing the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Barakuda

Remaking a 1960s Fifty Fathoms.

The first true, purpose-built scuba diving watch (though the Rolex Submariner contends it came first), the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms was introduced in 1953 and named after the depth then considered to be the safe maximum for divers.

Designed by a pair of French navy divers Bob Maloubier and Claude Riffaud for the French navy, the Fifty Fathoms had a unidirectional, elapsed time bezel, luminous dial, and screw-down crown – crucial elements that would set the template for dive watches to come.

Blancpain produced the Fifty Fathoms in a variety of iterations, including the Barakuda of the 1960s, originally issued to the German military through Barakuda – a specialist supplier of diving equipment – before it was made available to the civilian market.

Unique to the model were the oversized, block-shaped, two-toned hour markers that are typical of the late 1960s and 1970s..

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Barakuda Limited Edition 2

The new Fifty Fathoms Barakuda Limited Edition is a reissue of the original, preserving many of its characteristic features.

Depth-rated to 300m, the stainless-steel case is 40mm – large, but in fact slightly smaller than the original. The two distinguishing features of the watch – the red and white hours indices as well as a date at three – remain intact, complete with faux-aged “lume”.

And as with all modern-day Fifty Fathoms, the watch features a luminous unidirectional bezel that is coated in scratch-resistant sapphire – an signature of Blancpain that first appeared in 2003 with the 50thanniversary Fifty Fathoms.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Barakuda Limited Edition 3

The watch is powered by the self-winding Frederic Piguet cal. 1151, which is equipped with double barrels for a 95-hour power reserve.

Visible through the sapphire caseback, it features an 18k gold rotor with a cut-out in the middle, a feature that can be found on several vintage Fifty Fathoms models (albeit ones that were equipped with a basic, no-frills movement).

Lastly, it is paired with a perforated, “tropic” style rubber strap that is a replica of the vintage original.

Key Facts

Diameter: 40mm
Material: Stainless steel
Water resistance: 300m

Movement: Self-winding cal. 1151
Power reserve: 95 hours

Strap: “Tropic” rubber with pin buckle

Price and Availability 

The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Barakuda (ref. 5008B-1130-B52A) is priced at 13,200 Swiss francs inclusive of VAT, or S$19,500. It is limited to 500 pieces.


 

Back to top.

You may also enjoy these.

Introducing the Omega De Ville Trésor

Powered by hand-wound, Master Chronometer movements.

Following the launch of the De Ville Trésor 125th Anniversary limited edition earlier in the year, Omega has now unveiled two similar regular production models, both equipped with the same hand-wound Master Chronometer Co-Axial movement.

While the limited edition was in yellow gold paired with a red enamel dial, the new models are in either Sedna gold – a proprietary blend of gold, copper, and palladium – coupled with a fired grey enamel dial, or in stainless steel with a blue, stamped brass dial.

Omega De Ville Trésor 2019

As is characteristic of Trésor line, the watches are a blend of mid-century aesthetics and modern dimensions.

The case is 40mm in diameter with a slim bezel and a box-type sapphire crystal, which is further enhanced by domed indexes.

Omega De Ville Trésor 2019 Sedna gold 2

On the Sedna gold version, the applied indexes are all made of the same gold alloy, while the logo and text are painted in fired enamel achieved using the Petit Feu technique.

The steel version, on the other hand, features applied, 18k white gold indexes and printed markings.

The stainless steel model is equipped with the hand-wound cal. 8910, which has a date display at six o’clock.

The gold model is powered by essentially the same movement, but upgraded with a balance bridge in 18k Sedna gold. It’s known as the cal. 8929, the same movement found in the 125th Anniversary limited edition.

Their features include a free-sprung balance wheel and a Si14 silicon hairspring. But most crucially, various parts of the escapement are made from proprietary alloys that boost magnetism resistance to over 15,000 Gauss – a level matched by no other watch on the market.

Omega De Ville Trésor 2019 Sedna gold caseback

Importantly, both movements are METAS-certified Master Chronometers, furnished with all of Omega’s cutting-edge tech. An initiative started by Omega and the Swiss Federal Institute of Meteorology (METAS), the Master Chronometer certification adds tangible value to a watch, as it tests finished watches comprehensively for functionality, and not just timekeeping.

Key Facts

Diameter: 40mm
Material: Stainless steel, or 18k Sedna gold
Water resistance: 30m

Movement: hand-wound cal. 8910, cal. 8929 for gold model
Power reserve: 72 hours

Price and Availability

The De Ville Trésor in stainless steel (ref. 435.13.40.21.03.001) is priced at 6000 Swiss francs, or S$9000.

And the 18k Sedna gold model (ref. 435.53.40.21.06.001) is priced at 13,900 Swiss francs, or S$20,850.


 

Back to top.

You may also enjoy these.

Blancpain (Re)Introduces the Air Command Chronograph

Vintage remake, modern movement.

While Blancpain is best known for its Fifty Fathoms dive watch, one of its rarest and most valuable vintage sports watches is actually a pilot’s chronograph.

Produced in the late 1950s, the Air Command was conceived for US Air Force pilots but never met with much success. According to Blancpain, perhaps a dozen prototypes were made.

Consequently, an original Air Command is an exceedingly rare watch, with one example having been sold at Phillips in 2016 for 100,000 Swiss francs, or about US$99,000. At the same time, the modern reinterpretation is priced less like a sports watch remake than a high-end sports chronograph.

Blancpain air command chronograph remake 1

The remake (left) and the original

But now Blancpain has recreated the Air Command in a manner faithful to the original, albeit with a top of the line, modern movement.

The remake is slightly larger at 42.5mm, compared to 42mm for the original. It’s equipped with a bidirectional, ratcheted bezel with a ceramic insert. And the bezel is a domed, “box type” sapphire that approximates the look of the Plexiglas crystal on the original.

Despite being larger, the dial is pretty much a dead ringer for the original. All the luminous markings on the dial and bezel are in faux vintage Super-Luminova that recreates the look of the aged radium on the originals.

Blancpain air command chronograph remake 2

Inside is the F388B movement that’s derived from the Frederic Piguet 1185. Equipped with both a vertical clutch and column wheel, it’s a high frequency chronograph, beating at 5Hz, or 36,000 beats per hour. And like all other Blancpain movements, it has a silicon hairspring.

And as with the original Air Command that was powered by a Valjoux 222, the remake is also equipped with a flyback function.

Blancpain air command chronograph remake 3

The movement is fitted with a propellor-shaped rotor in 18k red gold

Key Facts

Diameter: 42.5mm
Height: 13.77mm
Material: Steel
Water resistance: 30m

Movement: automatic F388B
Power reserve: 50 hours

Strap: Calf leather

Price and availability

The Blancpain Air Command (ref. AC01-1130-63A) is a 500-piece limited edition, priced at 18,500 Swiss francs inclusive of VAT, or 27,400 Singapore dollars.


 

Back to top.

You may also enjoy these.

Introducing the Longines Avigation BigEye Chronograph Pilot's Chronograph

A classic, mid-20th century military pilot's stopwatch remade for a modest price.

Introducing the Corniche Heritage Chronograph

Classical, meca-quartz and affordable.

Introducing the Blancpain Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph BOC II Entirely in Blue Ceramic

Blancpain reveals its first all-blue ceramic watch case for the limited edition Bathyscaphe Chronograph that supports marine conservation.

Jaquet Droz Introduces the Magic Lotus Automaton

A zen garden on the wrist.

The kinetic art that is Jaquet Droz’s automatons have to be appreciated up close and personal. Many watchmakers blur the line between watchmaking and mechanical art but automatons, especially those that decorated in metiers d’art, arguably cross the line.

Like many of its earlier mechanical marvels watches, Jaquet Droz took inspiration from nature for the new Magic Lotus Automaton.

Inspired by the concept of the circle of life, the dial depicts a gently flowing lake that circles the dial with representations of the seasons, a symbol of the stages of life.

Jaquet Droz Magic Lotus Automaton (10)

The automaton process of the Magic Lotus is fairly complex. Engage the pusher and the peripheral disc that’s painted to resemble flowing water starts to rotate, mimicking a lake.

In this lake a koi carp swims with its tail swishing back and forth. Its movement is one of the more obvious automaton on the Magic Lotus.

What may not be obvious until the second or third time observing the automata, is that not only does the koi’s tail move from side to side, the koi itself dips below the “surface” of the water to pass under the lotus leaves. The best way to observe this is to view the dial from its sides.

In order to achieve the delicate motion, the watchmakers at Jaquet Droz built racks for both the up and down movement, as well as the side to side movement of the fish. Below the koi is a gear train that propels the creature along its path.

Jaquet Droz Magic Lotus Automaton (3)

Another subtle motion during the four-minute long automaton process is the colour-changing lotus flower that has “fallen into the lake”. It’s visible above at nine o’clock with the ruby in its centre.

As the flower passes around the dial, the gemstone in its centre changes from a blue to a yellow sapphire, and then to a ruby each time it passes below the dial or the lotus leaves.

What’s even more fascinating about the animation is the fact that the gemstones appear at random each time the flower disappears and reemerges.

Jaquet Droz Magic Lotus Automaton (5)

The rest of the watch is simply exquisite, with Jaquet Droz’s “ateliers d’art” department have applied its intricate arts to the dial. Jaquet Droz estimates 210 hours is needed to decorate the dial.

Each lotus leaf is in 18k red gold tat’s engraved and enamelled by hand. The unopened lotus bud at nine o’clock is mother-of-pearl while the lotus flower in full bloom just next to it has its petals carved from mother-of-pearl coated thin coat of translucent paint.

The yellow sapphire in the centre of that flower is set with gold prongs, symbolising the pistil and stamens of a flower in bloom.

Jaquet Droz Magic Lotus Automaton (6)

The Magic Lotus Automaton is powered by the cal. 2653 AT2. The movement is powered by two barrels, one for the automaton, and the other for the timekeeping with a power reserve of 68 hours.

Each activation of the automaton plays the entire animation for more than four minutes. The rotating disc that simulates the river makes eight revolutions of roughly 30 seconds each, one of the longest animations for a Jaquet Droz automaton.

Jaquet Droz Magic Lotus Automaton

Pricing and availability

The Jaquet Droz Magic Lotus Automaton is limited to just 28 pieces each in 18k white gold (ref. J032634270) and rose gold (ref. J032633270). Both are priced at 334,000 Singapore dollars, or about US$243,000.


Update May 18, 2019: Image added of caseback.

Back to top.

You may also enjoy these.

Jaquet Droz Introduces the Parrot Repeater Pocket Watch with Automata

A million dollar marvel.

Jaquet Droz Introduces Paillonnée Enamel "Gold Arabesques" Editions

Six different timepieces featuring hand-made enamel dials inlaid with intricate gold foil.

Baselworld 2017: Jaquet Droz Introduces the Grande Seconde Tourbillon Mother-of-Pearl

Decorated in white mother of pearl on both sides, the ladies' tourbillon features an automatic movement with tourbillon and seven-day power reserve.

Breguet Introduces the Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Squelette

Airily and elegantly flat.

The most elegant tourbillon in Breguet’s line-up, the Tourbillon Extra-Plat is just 7.45mm high. Introduced in 2017 with a sublime fired enamel dial, it’s been transformed into an open-worked watch as the Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Squelette 5395.

The new tourbillon is not merely a skeletonised version of the earlier watch, although Breguet says some 50% of the mass of the movement has been removed.

To start with, the bridges and base plate are in 18k gold that’s been grained, chamfered, and engine-turned by hand.

Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Squelette 5395-6

Even though the watch has no dial, the face is still decorated with Breguet’s signature guilloche. Sections of the base plate have been engraved with Clous de Paris, or hobnail, guilloche. And the brand name and serial number on the front, as well as the logo on the rotor, are engraved by hand (while the rest of the engraving is mechanically done).

The Roman hour markers are galvanically deposited on the clear sapphire chapter ring that also has a blued gold hobnail to indicate each hour.

Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Squelette 5395-4

And to maximise visibility of the movement, the watch is fitted with a domed, “glass box” sapphire crystal, instead of the usual flat crystal found in most Breguet watches.

But being a Breguet, the movement has a significant degree of technology. Just 3mm high, the cal. 581 is automatic, thanks to a barely-there peripheral rotor that helps minimise its thickness.

Breguet-Classique-Tourbillon-Extra-Plat-Squelette-5395 back

The lightweight tourbillon carriage is titanium, while the escape wheel and flat hairspring are in silicon. That explains why the power reserve is a long 80 hours, despite the relatively high frequency of the balance wheel, which runs at 28,800 beats per hour, or 4Hz, a third faster than the typical tourbillon.

Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Squelette 5395-1

Constructed in typical Breguet style with screwed lug bars and decorated with a fluting band, the case is 41mm in diameter, and 7.7mm wide. It’s available in 18k pink gold or platinum, each equipped with a movement in a contrasting colour of gold.

Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Squelette 5395-2

Key Facts

Diameter: 41m
Height: 7.7mm
Material: 18k pink gold or platinum
Water resistance: 30m

Movement: Automatic cal. 581SQ
Power reserve: 80 hours

Strap: Alligator with folding clasp

Price and availability

The Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Squelette 5395 is available in 18k rose gold (ref. 5395BR/1S/9WU), priced at at 220,000 Swiss francs, or 323,700 Singapore dollars.

And it is also available in platinum (ref. 5395PT/RS/9WU), priced at 235,000 Swiss francs, or 345,700 Singapore dollars.


 

Back to top.

You may also enjoy these.

News: Breguet Tourbillon exhibition in Singapore

Ralph Lauren Introduces RL Automotive Tourbillon & Double Tourbillon

A pair of tourbillon wristwatches with burl wood bezels, inspired by a 1938 Bugatti coupe.

TAG Heuer Introduces Connected Smartwatch in 18k Rose Gold

The watchmaker goes where Apple tried and failed, with a smartwatch in solid gold priced at just under US$10,000.

Omega Introduces the Seamaster Diver 300m Chronograph

Updated and improved.

After having refreshed the Seamaster Diver 300m collection last year with Master Chronometer movements and the classic wave pattern dial – a throwback to the watch made famous by Pierce Brosnan’s James Bond – Omega has applied the facelift to the chronographs of the series.

Three variants of the updated Seamaster Diver 300m Chronograph were recently unveiled at Omega headquarters in Bienne, slated to replace the older Diver 300m Co-Axial Chronographs.

Omega Seamaster Diver 300M Chronograph Steel and Blue ceramic 2

The primary updates to the new models include ceramic pushers on all of the 44mm watches that match the ceramic dials and bezels. And all the chronographs have applied hour indices on the are made of the same metal as the bezel (namely gold or steel) and filled with Super-LumiNova.

Base model in steel

The new steel Diver 300m Chronograph with a blue ceramic bezel and dial is perhaps the most traditional, given its resemblance to Seamaster chronographs of the 1990s that were powered by the Valjoux 7750.

The blue ceramic bezel insert features a white enamel diving scale, just like the time-and-date model from last year.

Omega Seamaster Diver 300M Chronograph Steel and Blue ceramic 1

Steel and gold

In a similar vein, the two-tone Seamaster 300m Diver Chronograph in stainless steel with a bezel in Omega’s proprietary Sedna gold was an expected novelty.

However, given the inclusion of the chronograph counters on the dial, the watch seemed more balanced, with good contrast from the additional pops of colour.

Omega Seamaster Diver 300M Chronograph Sedna Steel 4

That contrast of black against gold makes for a handsome, albeit slightly frilly watch.

Unlike the rhodium-plated steel hands on the steel and blue ceramic Diver 300m Chronograph, the bi-colour version has its hands in 18k Sedna gold, with the exception of the gold-coated central chronograph seconds hand.

Omega Seamaster Diver 300M Chronograph Sedna Steel 3

And no-compromise gold

The highlight of the range this year, however, is the Diver 300m Chronograph in 18k Sedna gold.

Omega has gone to great lengths to ensure that the opulence of the watch doesn’t go unnoticed; this top of the line model is instantly distinguishable from from the bi-coloured version.

Unlike the ceramic bezels on the other models, this is laser-engraved, leaving it matte black with polished, relief markings. This laser engraving is done using the same process that produces wave-like pattern on the ceramic dial of the Seamaster Diver 300m.

Omega Seamaster Diver 300M Chronograph Sedna and Black Ceramic (2)

Unlike the other watches in the range however, the dial of the 18k Sedna gold Chronograph is done in positive relief, just like the bezel. Instead of the waves being cut into the dial, the rest of the dial has been cut out to raise the waves from the surface.

In addition, the chronograph counters for the watch are ringed in 18k Sedna gold, further enhancing the sheer gold-ness of the watch.

The Master Co-Axial

The internal update to the model the most important aspect of the facelift, with with the movement now becoming a certified Master Chronometer, which means passing both COSC and METAS testing for timekeeping, functionality, and even magnetism resistance.

The steel and two-tone models are powered by the Cal. 9900. It features a column wheel, vertical clutch, and C0-Axial escapement.

Omega Seamaster Diver 300m Cal 9900

Omega Seamaster Diver 300M Chronograph Sedna and Black Ceramic (4)

The model entirely in 18k Sedna gold is powered by the automatic Cal. 9901, essentially a Cal. 9900 with the rotor and balance bridge in 18k Sedna gold. The Cal. 9901 found only in watches with Sedna gold cases.

Key Facts

Diameter: 44mm
Material: Stainless steel, 18k Sedna gold
Water resistance: 300m

Movement: Cal. 9900, Cal. 9901 for 18k Sedna gold model
Power reserve: 60 hours

Strap: Bracelet for the steel model, rubber for the others

Pricing and availability

The stainless steel Seamaster Diver 300m Chronograph with blue ceramic bezel ring (ref. 210.30.44.51.03.001) is priced at 6,600 Swiss francs on a rubber strap and 6,900 Swiss francs, or S$10,350 on a bracelet.

The steel and gold Seamaster Diver 300m Chronograph (ref. 210.22.44.51.01.001) is priced at 8,600 Swiss francs, or S$12,900 on a rubber strap.

And the Seamaster Diver 300m Chronograph in Sedna gold on rubber strap (ref. 210.62.44.51.01.001) is priced at 24,000 Swiss francs, or S$36,000.


Update May 18, 2019: Added image of Cal. 9900

Back to top.

You may also enjoy these.

Only Watch 2011 full results

Louis Vuitton Tambour Diving II Chronograph Only Watch 2011

Girard-Perregaux Introduces its 1966 Gentleman's Wristwatch in Affordable Stainless Steel (with Pricing)

Available in steel for the first time, the Girard-Perregaux 1966 automatic is the brand's most affordable wristwatch, but still equipped with a self-winding, in-house movement. 

Introducing the Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary

Two-tone, steel and gold Moonwatch.

Omega has just taken the covers off the second, and more affordable, of the commemorative Speedmasters made to mark the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing in 1969.

While the first edition was entirely resplendent in 18k gold, the new Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary is essentially a two-tone Moonwatch in steel with several Moonshine gold accents. The overall look is a blend of new and old; it’s based on the vintage Speedmaster Professional ref. 105.012, but with tweaks and additions for the occasion.

Made in a somewhat large edition of 6,969 pieces, the new Speedmaster boasts several notable technical improvements, including the new Co-Axial cal. 3861 and a revised case construction.

Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary 6

Moonshine on the front…

The 42mm case is steel, with a bezel in 18k Moonshine gold, Omega’s proprietary alloy of pale yellow gold. And like most current Speedmasters, the bezel insert is scratch-resistant ceramic, instead of anodised aluminium as on the historical Moonwatch.

The dial is stepped, as with vintage Speedmasters, but also two-tone, with a dark grey centre and black chapter ring. As is traditional for the Speedmaster, the hour markers are batons, save for an “11” that’s a nod to the Apollo mission number.

Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary 8

All the hour markers, the applied Omega logo, as well as the hands, are 18k Moonshine gold, save for the central seconds hand. That’s gold-plated brass since it has to be lightweight to survive the chronograph reset.

And the constant seconds register at nine o’clock is a medallion of blackened, 18k Moonshine gold, featuring a relief of Buzz Aldrin disembarking from the Apollo Lunar Module.

Footprint on the back

Over on the back, the lunar references continue with an engraving of Neil Armstrong’s footprint on the surface of the Moon, along with his famous line as he set foot on the moon.

Notably, the case back engraving is always the right way up because the case back is secured with Omega’s Naiad Lock, used for the first time in a Moonwatch. It is essentially a bayonet mount like that for a camera lens.

Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary 7

The calibre 3861

Under the case back is probably the most important element of the watch: the Master Co-Axial Calibre 3861. The updated movement will only be utilised in the two Apollo 11 50th Anniversary timepieces from this year while the stock Moonwatch will rely on the cal. 1861.

It’s the most significant upgrade to the Moonwatch movement since, well, forever.

Since 1969, the Moonwatch has been powered by the cal. 861, based on the Lemania 1873, and then upgraded to the cal. 1861 in 1996. The new cal. 3861 takes the movement into the 21st century with several upgrades.

Omega speedmaster cal 3861-2

The first is the Co-Axial escapement, the lubrication-free invention of George Daniels that’s now Omega’s de facto escapement. It’s paired with a new, free-sprung, adjustable mass balance wheel and silicon Si14 hairspring. They help increase the power reserve to 50 hours.

Second is Omega’s magnetism-resistance technology that relies on patented alloys for the escapement. That allows the movement to resist magnetic fields of over 15,000 Gauss.

And the last is a hacking seconds, an elementary feature that was surprisingly missing from the Moonwatch for decades.

Omega speedmaster cal 3861-1

Bits and bobs

The watch is accompanied by two strap options: a steel bracelet with flat links modelled on that used on the Speedmaster ref. 105.012-65, and a second black cork strap inspired by the heat-protection layer made of cork that covered the Apollo 11 Command Module.

Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary 3

And like all Speedmaster limited editions, this is sold in a large presentation box with several accessories, including two mission patches and a strap removal tool.

Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary 1

The watch itself sits on a miniature model of the Lunar Module.

Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary 2

Key Facts

Diameter: 42mm
Material: Steel with 18k Moonshine gold bezel
Water resistance: 50m

Movement: Manual-winding cal. 3861
Power reserve: 50 hours

Strap: Steel bracelet, and cork strap

Price and availability

Limited to 6,969 watches, the Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary (ref. 310.20.42.50.01.001) will be delivered starting autumn 2019, with a retail price of 8,900 Swiss francs.


Update May 22, 2019: The stock Moonwatch will be equipped with the cal. 1861, and not the updated cal. 3861. 

Back to top.

You may also enjoy these.

Introducing the Omega Speedmaster Moonphase Master Co-Axial

Introducing the Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Limited Edition

A new gold alloy and a hand-wound Master Chronometer movement.

Introducing The Breitling Navitimer Cosmonaute 50th Anniversary

50 years ago Lt Commander Scott Carpenter orbited the Earth in the Aurora 7 spacecraft with a Breitling Cosmonaute ref. 809 on his wrist. It was Lt Cmdr Carpenter who first mooted the idea of a 24 hour version of the classic ref. 806 Navitimer in the late fifties because it enabled him to keep track of the time while in space. 

Welcome to the new Watches By SJX.

Subscribe to get the latest articles and reviews delivered to your inbox.