[Sponsored Article] Half a century after OMEGA’s Speedmaster accompanied astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on their historic Moon Landing in July 1969, the iconic ‘Moonwatch’ has been gloriously updated for the next space chapter. A space odyssey The Swiss watchmaker’s first venture beyond planet Earth took place in 1962 when astronaut Walter Schirra wore his personal OMEGA Speedmaster on the Sigma 7 mission of the Mercury programme in October 1962. So, it came as no surprise that the Speedmaster got on the shortlist when NASA started searching for a watch for its the upcoming Apollo programme to the moon. James Ragan, aerospace engineer and NASA’s man behind the Moonwatch, subjected the Speedmaster ST 105.003 to 11 extreme tests before giving it his stamp of approval. On March 1, 1965, NASA declared the Speedmaster “Flight Qualified for all Manned Space Missions”. From then on, OMEGA remains the only supplier of watches for NASA’s Human Space Flight Program with the Speedmaster still in use for space flight today. The Moonwatch lives on The legendary Speedmaster has been on an extraordinary journey over the past 50 years with constant upgrades to add to its space worthiness. The ST 105.012 model introduced in 1964 marked a significant milestone with twisted lugs and a new asymmetrical case designed to provide added protection for the crown and pushers. The word “Professional” was printed on the dial for the first time. It was this model, and the ST 145.012 launched in 1967, that bore witness to the “one giant leap for mankind” and other Apollo missions. A significant internal upgrade came in 1968 with the ST 145.022 featuring the new Calibre 861 that offered greater consistency and precision, paving the way for future variations. Moonshine™ gold for a golden anniversary With gold customary for 50 th anniversaries, OMEGA pulled out all the stops to create special limited editions to celebrate the golden birthday of the Moonwatch. Speedmaster aficionados would love the modern iteration updated in Moonshine™ gold. On November 25, 1969, just months after the historic Moon Landing, OMEGA presented a unique numbered edition Speedmaster in 18K yellow gold to NASA’s serving astronauts at an “Astronaut Appreciation Dinner”. Only 1,014 pieces of the commemorative watch were produced, with the first two presented to US President Richard Nixon and Vice President Spiro Agnew. The Speedmaster Apollo 11 Moonshine™ Gold 50 th Anniversary Limited Edition is a glittering tribute to a golden era in exploration and the race to the moon. It more than re-creates the 1969 model, bringing with it some pioneering features such as a new proprietary case material and manual-winding movement. The 42mm case, bracelet and dial come in 18K solid Moonshine™ gold - a unique new alloy exclusive to OMEGA. Paler in hue than the 18K yellow gold used for the vintage model, Moonshine™ gold is notable for its high resistance to fading in colour and lustre over time. A burgundy bezel is a direct nod to the original but now rendered in ceramic, while the tachymeter scale is freshly executed in OMEGA Ceragold™. The elegant vertically-brushed dial features gold markers set with black onyx and black chronograph hands. A technical upgrade comes in the form of the OMEGA Calibre 3861, the new METAS certified Master Chronometer movement with a Co-Axial escapement and a silicon balance spring that can be viewed through the open caseback. The commemorative value of the timepiece is enhanced by the inscriptions “APOLLO 11 – 50th ANNIVERSARY” and “THE FIRST WATCH WORN ON THE MOON”. Like its predecessor, it comes in 1,014 pieces, exactly the same quantity that was produced in 1969, and a stunning lunar-inspired 3D presentation crater box. Subtle in stainless steel Connoisseurs who prefer a less glitzy alternative would find the newly launched stainless steel timepiece a must-have collector’s item. Limited to 6,969 pieces, the commemorative watch is powered by the same Calibre 3861 movement. Touches of Moonshine™ gold highlight the 42mm case, decorating the bezel, vintage OMEGA vintage logo, indexes and hands. The grey dial features black sub-dials and track for the hours and minutes. Inspired by the first historic steps on the moon, a Moonshine™ gold laser-engraved image of astronaut Buzz Aldrin stepping down onto the lunar surface recalls Apollo 11’s landing in 1969, with the two “1” markings at 11 o’clock adding to the tribute. Completing the moon landing vibe is the caseback with a laser-engraved footprint and 18K Moonshine™ gold-plated lettering of Neil Armstrong’s legendary quote: "THAT’S ONE SMALL STEP FOR A MAN, ONE GIANT LEAP FOR MANKIND". Equally collectable is the NASA-style presentation box which includes an additional Velcro strap with a strap-changing tool, two mission patches, two engraved plates and the ultimate display stand - a Lunar Module. Both limited editions tap right into the historical event that catapulted the Omega Speedmaster into the stratosphere.