In the fifth chapter in our series of features articles on the 60th anniversary of the iconic Omega Speedmaster, going decade by decade, we present the 13 most noteworthy Speedmasters from the early 2000s, including the famous Snoopy Speedmaster and a collectible model with a dial and subdials made from slices of meteorite.
2000: Apollo-Soyuz Limited Edition
With their spacecraft docking together in space back in 1975, the commanders of the U.S.A.’s Apollo and the Soviet Union’s Soyuz shook hands through an open hatch, signaling a hopeful future of cooperation for the two rival superpowers. This gold Omega watch, limited to 50 pieces, was created to mark the 25th anniversary of that landmark event. The mission name appears in both English and Cyrillic in the subdial at 6 o’clock and a special dedication inscription is engraved on the caseback.
2003: The Snoopy Watch
This highly collectible Speedmaster commemorates the “Silver Snoopy Award” that Omega received in 1970 for its role in helping the beleaguered crew of the Apollo 13 mission get safely back to Earth. The watch has a representation of the “Eyes on the Stars” patch on the small seconds subdial; this emblem is also reverse-printed on the watch’s sapphire crystal caseback. It was limited to 5,441 pieces — a number that referenced the length of the mission – 142 hours, 54 minutes and 41 seconds.
2003: From the Moon to Mars
This Omega Speedmaster model coincided with that year’s announcement that the United States planned to build a permanent space station on the moon before 2020 to act as a launch site for future manned missions to Mars. Accordingly, the watch celebrates all three celestial bodies with subdial counters printed with images of the moon, Earth and Mars.
2004: Apollo 11 35th Anniversary
Created to mark the 35th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission — as you may recall, the mission during which the Omega Speedmaster became the first watch worn on the moon — this watch was produced in a limited edition of 3,500 pieces. It features the famous mission date — July 20, 1969 — printed in red in the upper half of the dial, and the Apollo 11 patch reverse-printed on the sapphire caseback.
2005: Gemini IV 40th Anniversary
In 1965, on NASA’s Gemini IV mission, Edward White became the first American astronaut to walk in space. The mission, during which White wore a Speedmaster on his wrist, also marked the first time that an Omega watch ventured outside the spacecraft. This Speedmaster was created in a limited edition of 2,005 pieces to mark the 40th anniversary of White’s historic spacewalk. The dial and tachymeter bezel of the watch are in blue, and the Gemini IV mission patch is printed on the sapphire caseback.
2005: First Speedmaster with Co-Axial Escapement
Omega, which had introduced its innovative co-axial escapement in a watch as early as 1999, finally incorporated it into the movement of its iconic Speedmaster in 2005. This model, equipped with a GMT function as well as a chronograph, was the first to include a co-axial escapement, which enhanced its precision and reliability. Also notably, the watch brought back the original Speedy’s famous “Broad Arrow” hands, along with a red-tipped GMT hand, and a 1–23 GMT hour ring that fit between the 1-12 hour markers.
2006: Apollo 15 35th Anniversary
Created in a limited edition of 1,971 pieces, this Speedmaster marked the 35th anniversary of Apollo 15 — the mission during which the Lunar Rover Vehicle was used for the first time. Among its notable details are the 18k rose-gold push-buttons and the mission patch etched on the sapphire crystal caseback with three birds representing the astronauts.
2007: 50 Years of the Speedmaster
This limited edition of 5,957 pieces was released to celebrate the birth of the Omega Speedmaster in 1957. The golden seahorse emblem printed on the dial is a visual element long associated with historical Speedmaster watches. The Omega logo is printed on the black dial in contrasting bright red. The watch was presented in a black wooden box with a painted 50th Anniversary badge.
2008: Celebrating the XXIX Olympiad
As the Official Timekeeper of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, Omega offered this unusual Speedmaster 5-Counters Chronograph. For the first time ever on a Speedmaster, five chronograph subdials were displayed on the dial, arranged in the design of the five Olympic rings. The functions displayed in these subdials included a small seconds counter, a 7-day chronograph recorder, a day indicator, a 12-hour chronograph recorder, and a 30-minute chronograph recorder.
2008: Alaska Project
In this unconventional timepiece, one of Omega’s most innovative dreams became reality. Created in a limited edition of 1,970 pieces, the watch is based on the “Alaska II” project, which used a “standard” Speedmaster with a modified dial and hands in conjunction with an outer anodized aluminum “thermal shield”. This allowed the watch to withstand temperatures, in lunar or spatial atmospheres, ranging from -148º C to +260º C.
2008: Omega Speedmaster “HB-SIA” GMT
Omega was a partner in 2008’s Solar Impulse project, whose ambitious aim was a flight around the Earth in an airplane powered only by the sun. This watch, named after the “HB-SIA” prototype plane, took design cues from the aircraft and its materials, with a case made of titanium and a dial made of black carbon fiber, similar to the HB-SIA’s composite covering. The central GMT hand, which completes one rotation every 24 hours, enables the wearer to read the time in a second time zone.
2009: Apollo 11 40th Anniversary
Made in a limited edition of 69 examples to mark the 40th anniversary of man landing on the moon, this Speedmaster model has a rare platinum case and a yellow-gold medallion at the small seconds subdial at 9 o’clock representing, in high relief, the mission patch of Apollo 11. Another gold medallion of the same image appears on the caseback.
2010: First Speedmaster with Meteorite Dial
With a dial and subdials made from slices of meteorite, this Speedmaster can truly be said to feature real pieces of outer space. Like the Apollo-Soyuz model from 2000, this timepiece commemorates the historic moment when American astronaut Thomas P. Stafford and Russian cosmonaut Alexei A. Leonov shook hands in space in 1975. The caseback features engravings of spacecraft from both the USA and the Soviet Union and the names of the cosmonauts and astronauts involved.
Next week: We wrap up with important Speedmasters from 2011 up to Baselworld 2017. Click here to read the first chapters from our 60 Years of Omega Speedmaster series: