Moonwatch Only a book review

William Massena

Moonwatch Only review, Moonwatch Only, Grégoire Rossier, Anthony Marquié

Once upon a time, in a faraway land called Switzerland, lived watchmakers who created a watch called the Omega Speedmaster. The NASA fairies selected the watch to go to the moon and the myth around it became legendary.

The new book Moonwatch Only written by Grégoire Rossier and Anthony Marquié with forewords from Omega CEO Stephen Urquhart and NASA astronaut Captain Eugene Cernan is exactly the opposite of a fairy tale. Instead, the authors, a Swiss biologist and a French Aeronautical engineer used their scientific skills to write what is certainly the most definitive work about the Speedmaster.

The authors faced a huge challenge to classify and codify a watch that has been in continuous production since 1957 with 125 different models. They created a methodology which not only makes this book an important reference for Speedmaster collectors around the world, but also for future watch book writers who could use Moonwatch Only as a template for other important watches with a multitude of models that may deserve the same recognition as the Speedmaster Professional.

After an introduction to the history of the Speedmaster and a presentation of the watch, we learn to decipher the watch reference codes. The two main chapters of the book follow.

The first main chapter entitled, “Main Components and Accessories” is an analysis of the multiple component of the watches such as the movement, case, dial, bezel, caseback, etc. and their respective modifications. This is a very detailed chapter and each component is beautifully photographed and compared. Each subchapter for every component concludes with recommendations from the authors about what to do before buying.

The second main chapter entitled “The Models” is a chronological presentation of each model in standard production, followed by special and limited series, and concluding with projects and prototypes The authors present each watch a similar way starting with productions years, movement numbers and list each and every modification for each component. This can easily be cross referenced with the preceding chapter.

The book concludes with a chapter dedicated to purchasing your perfect Moonwatch. There is a one page recap for each of the components featured and finally an identification tree that could be used as a tool to identify a Moonwatch.

Moonwatch Only review, Moonwatch Only contents, Grégoire Rossier Moonwatch, Anthony Marquié Moonwatch

The book has an extremely short bibliography listing mostly books about watchmaking and the Omega saga and I am skeptical that the authors wrote such a compelling work without looking at other important contributions on the Internet, the other Omega books, the Omegamania auction catalogue and, perhaps, most importantly the surprisingly missing book in the bibliography is the Kesaharu Imai reference entitled “A Time Capsule Omega Speedmaster: The Story of the First Watch in Outer Space”. I have a hard time believing that the authors did not have a pick at that book originally written and published in Japanese and later translated by World Photo Press.

Moonwatch Only is certainly one of the best books ever written about a single watch model. The work is schorlaly, and its importance is far reaching in the niche world of watch book writers. We are continuously bombarded by books often written at the express demand of a brand, and these books are more fairy tales glorifying a brand than genuine academic work. Roissier and Marquié gifted us with a wonderful book and a clear framework for more such work to come.

I can only recommend this Great book available at Watchprint for CHF290 or Amazon for $350

William Massena

Excerpts from Moonwatch Only with permission of the publisher:

Moonwatch Only review, Moonwatch book, Grégoire Rossier, Anthony Marquié

Moonwatch Only review, Moonwatch book, Grégoire Rossier , Anthony Marquié

Moonwatch Only review, Moonwatch book, Grégoire Rossier, Anthony Marquié

Moonwatch Only review, Moonwatch book, Grégoire Rossier, Anthony Marquié

Read more

The Odd, the Unusual, and the Uncommon

Paul Delury

Here is an eclectic selection of timepieces that offer something different in design, technology, function or scarcity. Whatever the category, I venture that none are likely to be seen all too often.


THE ODD.

Wyler Incaflex demonstrater.

Here’s a somewhat odd one to start, a Wyler Incaflex demonstration or display piece. It’s quite large, 60mm in diameter, with a chromed case and large acrylic crystals back and front. A wristwatch-sized crown is provided at the 3 o’clock position for winding and setting the hands as per normal. I expect the piece originally fitted into a larger display, but I have yet to see an example.

Incaflex, Paul Wyler, shock-protecting balance

Paul Wyler invented the Incaflex shock-protecting balance in 1896 and it was patented in 1927. The brand name was apparently first applied in 1932 in Switzerland and registered as a US Trademark in 1949. In 1956 a public demonstration of the effectiveness of the Incaflex system was made when two Wyler watches were dropped 300 meters (almost 1000 feet) from the top of the Eiffel Tower and verified to be running afterward. A similar test took place in 1962 when six Wyler watches were dropped 318 feet from the Seattle tower in Washington USA and verified to be running afterward.

The 1957 newspaper ad below from The Star, Washington, refers to the Eiffel Tower demonstration.

Incaflex, Paul Wyler, shock-protecting balance
(Image via http://str.stparchive.com)

Here is the display back. The movement appears to be based on an ETA 12 ligne movement from the cal. 1100 family. You can find movements with Incaflex balances in many of Wyler’s watches, but I’ve yet to see another demonstration piece such as this.

Incaflex

The “Incaflex” name relates to the type of shock protected balance-wheel introduced by Wyler. Below you can see a close-up picture of the balance cock and balance-wheel area of the movement. Note that there is no shock protection unit, such as Incabloc, on the balance cock for the balance-wheel cap jewel as you would expect to find on a 1950/60s wristwatch movement. Wyler transferred the task of shock protection to the balance-wheel itself, and you can see the helical balance-wheel arms which were designed to flex and allow the wheel to move on the staff to a degree without damaging the pivots.

Incaflex

Omega Megasonic.

The oddest of the tuning fork movements – the Omega Megasonic 720 Hz. It’s really a mix of odd and uncommon – odd in its movement design and uncommon in that not all that many were produced. The watches were introduced in 1973 and the movement was designed by Max Hetzel of Accutron reknown. It differed from his previous tuning fork designs in a number of ways. Importantly, the index wheel mechanism has no physical connection to the rest of the movement. The index wheel is a disc of magnetically polarised material that is housed in a separate sealed “micromotor”. This is magnetically connected to a coupling wheel below and movement is thus transmitted to the gear train. The fork vibrated at 720Hz delivering an accuracy of 30 sec per month, twice that of the Accutrons.

Here’s a 1973 Geneve cal. 1220 example.

Geneva 1220
(Photo by Rob B).

I don’t think the Megasonic movement would win too many beauty contests but some very innovative thinking and technology went into this design. You can see the micromotor in the image below, indicated to the right of the movement.

Megasonic, Omega Megasonic, Omega tuning fork

The micromotor was innovative engineering on quite a small scale. Below you can see the micromotor (1) attached to one tine of the tuning fork. The asymmetric design of the tuning fork also used significantly less power than previous Accutron-derived models. That’s not a nail next to the micromotor at (2) in the pic below, it’s a normal size pin for comparison.

Megasonic, Omega Megasonic, Omega tuning fork

Rob B fitted this Geneve cal. 1230 (day/date) with a new old stock case of the correct style, the dial and movement already being in very clean condition. It presents as very close to how such a watch would have left the Omega factory in 1973.


(Photo by Rob B).


(Photo by Rob B).

Bulova Thermatron.

The Bulova Thermatron was a failed venture that used body heat to generate electricity to power a quartz movement. A thermatron is a small thermo-electric generator. As little as 1 degree difference between the body heat and the insulated portion of the movement produced power which was stored in a 1.1V Leclanche storage cell. Bulova touted the Thermatron to last almost indefinitely. Well, it doesn’t look like mine did. The watch is in New Old Stock condition cosmetically, but is not running.

The Thermatron movement was developed in the early 1970s and the watches were first marketed in 1982. This particular watch carries the Bulova date code “P2”, for 1982.

Bulova THermatron, Thermatron

My research indicates that the Thermatron watches proved to be unreliable and were not successful. I have read that the Thermatrons initially sold for $2,000. Bulova sold the technology and equipment to a company called STW who continued to issue the watches with their logo for some time. Power reserve seems to have been an issue with the original Bulova product as STW apparently modified them with the addition of a condenser to permit a longer power reserve and a new caseback with access to the condenser. Wearing the STW version for 6 hours was supposed to store sufficient power for 18 hours of running. Notwithstanding any improvement it apparently wasn’t enough to save the watches.

Seiko also later ventured into the thermoelectric field with their body-heat powered Thermic watches, introduced in 1998. It appears Seiko was more successful with the concept than Bulova.

Voumard 2000 and Bulova Accutron 214.

These watches both share a feature that has been played with by companies over the years but never really caught on – back setting – where the means of setting the hands is transferred from the conventional crown on the side of the wristwatch case to some form of device on the back of the case. There have been design and technological reasons for such placement, it having been used on mechanical as well as electric/electronic and quartz movement watches. It can allow for a cleaner shape to a watch, and there was the belief with the coming of the more consistently accurate technology that re-setting the hands would not be required so frequently and thus this function could be placed out of the way. Whatever the reasons it has been used only infrequently on wristwatches in any major way.

The watches shown are a 1970s Voumard 2000 cal. VM2500 at the top and a 1967 Bulova Accutron cal. 214 at the bottom.

Bulova Accutron 214, Accutron 214

The Accutron cal. 214 tuning fork electronic watches were a notable exception as they were all backset. The Voumard movement is not only backset but also backwound as it is a manual-wind mechanical. The Voumards were also produced in fairly limited numbers compared to watches from major companies.

Accutron, Accutron 214

The image below shows the Accutron crown flipped up for setting, and the screw battery hatch open.

Here you can see the inside portion of the winding and hand-setting mechanism in the rear portion of the Voumard’s case. In the normal position the crown winds the movement. Pulled-out it sets the hands. The 17 jewel cal. 2500 appears to have been of Voumard’s own design.


THE UNUSUAL.

Jaeger LeCoultre 8-day inline clock.

A vintage Jaeger LeCoultre 8-day clock with their interesting 16 jewel cal. 210 baguette inline movement. This movement was introduced in the mid-1930s and JLC made use good of it a wide range of clock designs into the 1990s. That’s an impressively long use for any movement. This clock measures around 10cm x 12cm, and is wound from the rear, (back of the mainspring barrel).

Jaeger LeCoultre 8-day inline clock, JLC inline clock, Jaeger-LeCoultre inline, JLC 210, baguette movement

Jaeger LeCoultre 8-day inline clock, JLC inline clock, Jaeger-LeCoultre inline, JLC 210, baguette movement

Jaeger LeCoultre 8-day inline clock, JLC inline clock, Jaeger-LeCoultre inline, JLC 210, baguette movement

Citizen Ana-Digi Temp.

Circa-1980 Citizen JG200-59E Aaa-Digi Temp, cal. 8980. The Ana-Digi Temp line were the first digital watches with an integrated electronic thermometer. They were made in a variety of models from 1978 up to the early-2000s. The measuring range of the theremometer is -9.9C to +59.9C or (14F to 139F). I don’t know about you, but that covers my climatic needs pretty well 🙂 The watch also features an automatic calender covering the years 1980 to 2019, dual time function, alarm and hourly chimes, 1/1000th sec stopwatch, 12/24 hour display switching, illumination lamp and battery life indicator, all in a case measuring 39mm x 33mm. Not bad for 1980. A geek’s delight.

Zenith 8-day dash clock.

Here’s a Zenith 8-day dashboard clock. These were made from around the mid-1920s up to as late as the 1960s and found service in cars, buses, and other forms of transport. The well-finished 11 jewel movement has a power reserve indicator that displays a red dot on the dial when the reserve has 24 hours left. Winding the clock is achieved by turning the bezel and to set the hands the bezel is pulled up and turned – a convenient method when mounted on a dashboard.

Zenith 8-day clock, Zenith dashboard clock, Zenith 8-day dash clock

Zenith 8-day clock, Zenith dashboard clock, Zenith 8-day dash clock
(Movement photo by TomG).

Seiko Nooka.

This unusual watch was released by Seiko in 1999 but the designer, Matthew Waldman, was apparently not pleased with Seiko’s interpretation of his design and Nooka watches are now offered by a separate company. Seiko didn’t market their Nookas very well and they were discontinued quite quickly. The novel LCD time display consists of a bar display for the hours, large window for minutes, and smaller window for seconds. In this photo the watch is displaying the time 10:12:40pm.

It is quite a large watch, with a stainless steel case measuring 38mm x 36mm, (less lugs and pushers), and is 12mm thick. The leather strap is a hefty 30mm wide with a double tang buckle.

Smiths Sectric tuning fork clock.

This clock had hung on the kitchen wall of my parents’ home for as long as I could remember. It was always there whilst I was growing up and I would occasionally replace the battery in it, and it shows the state of my horological awareness all that time that I never thought twice about it being anything but just another wall clock.

After replacing the battery one time I took a good look at the clock and realised that the seconds hand was moving smoothly, just like an electric clock. However, this was just a battery-powered quartz clock, or so I had thought, and I would have expected it to tick in one-second increments. Then the tuning fork symbol on the dial finally penetrated my thick skull and it dawned on me what this was – a tuning fork clock! Looking closer at the movement, covered in the dust of decades, sure enough there was a big tuning fork humming away. Smiths introduced these Sectric tuning fork clocks in 1971 and over the following years quite a range of different designs were issued. Whilst the movement uses a tuning fork it does not use an indexing system like the Bulova Accutron, but rather has a magnetic escapement.

In the picture below you can see the large tuning fork, the bottom curve indicated at (1). The lower tuning fork tine carries a cylindrical magnet that vibrates within a coil (2). The upper tine carries a horseshoe magnet at the right end that impulses the mu-metal escape wheel, driving it at 300Hz (3). Thus there is no mechanical connection between the magnet and the escapement. As they post-dated Bulova’s patenting of the Accutron there was the need to obtain licensing from Bulova. You can see “Lic. Bulova” on the regulator cover to the right (4).

The movements will not self start but require a slight the movement of the setting mechanism (indicated) to set them in motion. This spins the escape wheel into motion and thereafter it is locked to the vibration of the horseshoe magnet. Obviously, judging from this clock’s sterling performance over so many years (with no servicing), the system works very well.


THE UNCOMMON.

Vacheron Constantin 222.

A very uncommon watch as apparently only 120 of this steel/gold 34mm model of the Vacheron Constantin 222 were produced, (there were only approximately 720 examples of all 222 models made during their production period of 1977 to 1985). The 222 was VC’s entry in to the “sport luxury” market competing with AP’s Royal Oak, Patek’s Nautilus, and IWC’s Ingenieur SL. At the time (1977) VC had been in continuous operation for 222 years and thus they chose to commemorate this with the “222” model reference. The 222 lead to the VC “Overseas” line of watches.

The movement used in this 222 version is the VC cal. 1124, based on the JLC cal. 889. The rotor rim is in 21kt gold.


(Movement photo by TomG).

Although often thought to have been designed by Gérald Genta it has been ascertained that the 222 design was actually developed by Jorg Hysek, with a definite appreciation of Genta’s designs incorporated. Nevertheless, below I have pictured the 222 with stablemates of Genta design – an IWC Ingenieur ref. 3521 and an AP Royal Oak.

Audemars Piguet Jubiläumsuhr 1875 – 1995.

The AP Jubiläumsuhr (“anniversary watch”) 1875 – 1995 cal. 2121/3 was released in 1995 to celebrate the 120th anniversary of the manufacturer. A limited edition of only 120 examples were produced, this one being No. 110 as numbered on the caseback. The stainless steel case is 36 mm in diameter. A very elegant watch with a stunning guilloché work dial.

The cal. 2121/3 is based on an ebauche developed by JLC in 1967, (the cal. 920). It’s a very thin automatic movement, measuring only 3.05mm in this version with date display. The rotor rim is in 21kt gold. You can find an article on this excellent series of movements here.

International Watch Company “Jumbo” Ingenieur.

The 40mm “Jumbo” Ingenieur SL models were introduced in 1976. The “SL” stood for “Steel Line”, often later thought of as “Sport Line” as the watches fell into the sports luxury watch field. The design was by Gérald Genta. This example in steel and gold was manufactured in 1979.

Jumbo Ingenieur, IWC Ingenieur SL

Jumbo Ingenieur, IWC Ingenieur SL

An interesting aspect is that the ref. 3003 was a quartz version, but this particular one carries the cal. 8541ES automatic movement. The cases were the same for both the quartz and automatic versions and IWC converted a number of the quartz models to auto due to market demand.

Jumbo Ingenieur, IWC Ingenieur SL

Jumbo Ingenieur, IWC Ingenieur SL

Bulova Excellency.

What’s this 1973 Bulova Excellency doing here in the “Uncommon” section? Well, I though we needed some light relief 🙂 I have no idea how may of these they pumped out and it’s not an iconic model in any respect. It is, however, quite ugly. It’s also a new old stock example and I reckon you’d probably need to look long and hard to come up with another in this condition. I doubt too many have survived the decades. In fact, this one probably only survived in this state because it was so ugly, (even for the 1970s!) that it didn’t sell when new.

Bulova Excellency

The watch came complete with outer cardboard box (not shown) and this elegantly crafted plastic octagonal box proudly extolling this to be one of the “Excellency Collection”. This was a a long-lived line of watches for Bulova, many significantly more palatable in design than this one.

Inside sits the watch with its original leather strap permanently set into a curve from sitting like that over four decades. The hang tag indicates it the model reference is 11530-W and the price tag shows $70.00, which was around average for a Bulova steel watch of the time.

The cal. 11ANAC automatic movement is nicely finished. A very decent movement hidden away in that homely case for all those years.

Audemars Piguet Ultra-thin.

The cal. 2003 ultra-thin movement was developed by JLC in conjunction with AP and VC and was introduced in 1953. The movement had long usage with AP up to the early-2000s. Whilst there were many watches made using the movement the model shown here is quite uncommon.

Audemars Piguet Ultra-thin

The movement is only 1.65mm thick. The 10 cent piece is roughly the same size as a US dime.


Watches and clocks from the collections of Rob B, TomG, and myself.

Read more

Live Photos: Omega at Baselworld 2014

Jessica

The Omega highlights from Baselworld 2014 include the Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial, the Speedmaster Apollo 11 45th Anniversary, the Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon “Lunar Dust”, the Speedmaster Mark II, a sneak peek at the Seamaster Professional Chronograph GMT and the evolutionary Master Co-Axial calibres that resist magnetic fields greater than 15,000 gauss. For those who prefer branded accessories, Omega will also offer NATO straps in its boutiques.

Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial
As we anticipated a few weeks ago, the original SM300 2913 from 1957 is making a comeback. Although inspired by the original, the new Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial is updated and entirely state-of-the-art.

OMEGA Watches Baselworld 2014, Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial, Seamaster 300, Master Co-Axial 8400

The sandblasted, no-date sandwich dial looks substantially similar to the original SM300 dial, except for the seconds hand and the updated text. The dial is available in blue or black with a matching bezel. Looking at the watch straight on, the hue of the dial matches the bezel; however, since the dial is sandblasted and the bezel ring is ceramic, the dial surface results in colour variations under different light and angle. The result is a lively dial, since at times the overall colour looks uniform, and at others the dial takes on the characteristics of an aged dial.

The transferred dial elements are produced using a combination of gold and palladium. The white gold colour is enhanced by a patented process that involves a high temperature treatment; the curving contour of the indexes is created by the enamel under-layer. The 18K white gold central hour, minute and seconds hands are coated with “vintage” Super-LumiNova. The hour and seconds hands emit a blue light, as do the recessed hour markers. The minute hand is also coated with “vintage” Super-LumiNova, but emits a green light.

For the stainless steel and titanium models, the unidirectional rotating bezel has a polished black or blue ceramic bezel ring insert with a Liquidmetal diving scale. The process of making the ceramic insert is identical to the Planet Ocean, wherein the numbers and scaling are laser carved into the ceramic ring, then filled with Liquidmetal for a perfectly smooth bezel that is resistant to scratching and corrosion. For the 18K Sedna gold model, the diving scale is filled with Ceragold; and for the limited edition platinum model, the diving scale is filled with platinum. The dot on the bezel is coated with a “vintage” Super-LumiNova that emits a green light.

The symmetrical case measures 41mm x 14.65mm and is available in several variations, including stainless steel, grade 5 titanium, 18K Sedna gold and 950 platinum (LE of 357). The two-tone models are either a combination of grade 5 titanium and 18K Sedna gold, or stainless steel and 18K Sedna gold.

With the Seamaster 300, Omega introduces two important calibres in its evolutionary family of anti-magnetic mechanical movements. The Master Co-Axial calibre 8400/8401 has the same accuracy, precision, reliability and 60-hour power reserve as its Co-Axial predecessors, but adds Omega’s anti-magnetic technology to resist magnetic fields greater than 15,000 gauss (1.5 tesla). The staffs and pivots in these upgraded calibres are made of a non-ferrous material Omega calls, “Nivagauss”; the steel plates found in the Co-Axial movement have been replaced with non-magnetic plates; and the spring of the shock absorber has been crafted from an anamorphous material.

When asked why an anti-magnetic movement is important, Omega President Stephen Urquhart provides a pragmatic response,

    Our customer service-professionals have reported that a large percentage of the watches sent in for servicing need to be demagnetised. Previous efforts to combat magnetism relied on protective inner cases, but these meant it was impractical to try to offer a date window and, of course, there was no transparent case back. By making a movement that is itself anti-magnetic, we’ve been able to create watches resistant to any fields they’re likely to be exposed to. And, of course, date windows and transparent case backs are no problem.

The caseback of each Seamaster 300 is engraved with “Si14”, “ANTI-MAGNETIC > 15’000 GAUSS” and, depending on what alloy the diving scale is made of, “Liquidmetal”, “Omega Ceragold” or “Platinum”. The case back is fitted with a domed, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal for an unobstructed view of the movement. The Master Co-Axial calibre 8400 is housed in the two-tone, stainless steel and titanium models, and the specially finished Master Co-Axial calibre 8401 is housed in the 18K Sedna gold and limited edition 950 platinum models. Curiously, however, and somewhat confusing to me is that the new anti-magnetic movements continue to be stamped “Co-Axial” as opposed to “Master Co-Axial”.

The Seamaster 300 is fitted with a patented rack-and-pusher fine adjustment clasp that is adjustable to six different positions, making versatile to wear with anything from a pair of jeans a diving suit. The bracelet is adjusted by releasing the clasp, pressing the “push” button and sliding the inner clasp to the desired fit.

Available in November 2014, pricing for the COSC-certified Seamaster 300 starts at $6,200 in stainless steel.

Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial, Seamaster 300 black dial, Master Co-Axial 8400, OMEGA Baselworld 2014
Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial with sandblasted black dial & stainless steel case

Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial, Seamaster 300 black dial, Master Co-Axial 8400, OMEGA Baselworld 2014

Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial, Seamaster 300 black dial, Master Co-Axial 8400, OMEGA Baselworld 2014

Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial, Seamaster 300 black dial, Master Co-Axial 8400, OMEGA Baselworld 2014

Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial black dial, Seamaster 300, Master Co-Axial 8400, OMEGA Baselworld 2014
Master Co-Axial Calibre 8400 housed in the stainless steel, titanium and two-tone models

Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial, Seamaster 300 blue, Master Co-Axial 8400, OMEGA Baselworld 2014
Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial with sandblasted blue dial & stainless steel case

Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial, Seamaster 300 blue, Master Co-Axial 8400, OMEGA Baselworld 2014

Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial, Seamaster 300 blue, sandwich blue, Master Co-Axial 8400, OMEGA Baselworld 2014
Detail of the sandblasted blue sandwich dial

Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial, Seamaster 300 Sedna gold, Master Co-Axial 8401, OMEGA Baselworld 2014
Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial in 18K Sedna Gold

Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial, Seamaster 300 Sedna gold, Master Co-Axial 8401, OMEGA Baselworld 2014
Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial in 18K Sedna Gold

Speedmaster Professional Apollo 11 45th Anniversary Limited Edition
The new Speedmaster Professional Apollo 11 45th Anniversary commemorates the first lunar landing in July 1969, as well as the recent discovery that the moon is filled with large deposits of titanium ore. To commemorate this recent discovery, Omega crafted the 42mm case from brushed grade 2 titanium that takes on a patina over time. The bezel is made from 18K Sedna gold and has a matte black ceramic bezel ring with a tachymeter scale.

The gray-brown PVD dial has 30-minute and 12-hour recorders and a small seconds subdial. The unique dial is made by a laser that removes the material surrounding the name, subdial numerals and hour markers. The indexes and hour, minute, seconds and subdial hands are crafted from 18K red gold and the central chronograph hand is red gold-plated.

Super-LumiNova coating the hour, minute and chronograph seconds hands, as well as the hour markers and two dots at 12 o’clock, emits a green light. The dial is fitted with a sapphire crystal coated with anti-reflective treatment on both sides.

The screw-in caseback is embossed with the Seahorse emblem and the outer circle is engraved in black with “FLIGHT QUALIFIED BY NASA FOR ALL MANNED SPACE MISSIONS”, “THE FIRST WATCH WORN ON THE MOON” and “APOLLO 11, 45TH ANNIVERSARY, LIMITED EDITION, 0000/1969”. The solid case back protects the calibre 1861, a manual-winding chronograph movement and is water resistant to 5 bar (50 metres / 167 feet). The timepiece is fitted with a brown NATO strap. Limited to 1,969 pieces, the Apollo 11 44th Anniversary LE retails for $7,700.

Speedmaster Professional Apollo 11 45th Anniversary Limited Edition, Speedmaster Apollo 11 45th Anniversary, Apollo 11 45th Anniversary, calibre 1861, OMEGA Baselworld 2014
Speedmaster Professional Apollo 11 45th Anniversary LE

Speedmaster Professional Apollo 11 45th Anniversary Limited Edition, Speedmaster Apollo 11 45th Anniversary, Apollo 11 45th Anniversary, OMEGA Baselworld 2014

Speedmaster Professional Apollo 11 45th Anniversary Limited Edition, Speedmaster Apollo 11 45th Anniversary, Apollo 11 45th Anniversary, OMEGA Baselworld 2014

Speedmaster Professional Apollo 11 45th Anniversary Limited Edition, Speedmaster Apollo 11 45th Anniversary, Apollo 11 45th Anniversary, OMEGA Baselworld 2014
The grey grade 2 titanium case will take on a patina over time

Speedmaster Professional Apollo 11 45th Anniversary Limited Edition, Speedmaster Apollo 11 45th Anniversary, Apollo 11 45th Anniversary, calibre 1861, OMEGA Baselworld 2014
The 18K Sedna gold bezel has a black ceramic bezel with tachymetre scale

Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon Lunar Dust
The Dark Side of the Moon shows its lighter side with a new variant called, “Lunar Dust”. Lunar Dust describes the sleek ceramic case crafted from a solid block of white ceramic treated in a chemical bath to achieve its unique colour. The entire case is ceramic, including the pushers and crown. The platinum dial is fitted with applied indexes and hands in the same “lunar dust” hue. The central chronograph hand is tipped in red. The two dots at 12 o’clock are treated with Super-LumiNova, as well as the hour, minute and chronograph hands.

The ceramic caseback is engraved with “DARK SIDE OF THE MOON” and the sapphire crystal display back reveals the Co-Axial calibre 9300, a 54-jewel self-winding column-wheel chronograph movement with a silicon balance spring. The watch is fitted with a dark grey crocodile strap with platinum-coloured stitching.

The DSOTM Lunar Dust retails for $12,000.

Omega Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon Lunar Dust, Omega Light Side of the Moon, Omega Lunar Dust, OMEGA Baselworld 2014
Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon Lunar Dust

Omega Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon Lunar Dust, Omega Lunar Dust Omega, Omega Light Side of the Moon, Omega Lunar Dust, OMEGA Baselworld 2014

Omega Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon Lunar Dust, Omega Lunar Dust, Omega Light Side of the Moon, Omega Lunar Dust, OMEGA Baselworld 2014
Detail of the platinum dial, discreetly marked “PT950”

Omega Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon Lunar Dust, Omega Lunar Dust, Omega Light Side of the Moon, Omega Lunar Dust, OMEGA Baselworld 2014
Brushed and polished ceramic case, polished ceramic crown and polished ceramic pushers

Omega Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon Lunar Dust, Omega Lunar Dust, Co-Axial calibre 9300, Omega Light Side of the Moon, Omega Lunar Dust, OMEGA Baselworld 2014
Co-Axial calibre 9300 automatic column-wheel chronograph movement with silicon balance spring

Omega Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon Lunar Dust, Omega Lunar Dust, Omega Light Side of the Moon, Omega Lunar Dust, OMEGA Baselworld 2014

Speedmaster Mark II
Last month, Omega pre-announced the re-edition of the Speedmaster Mark XII that is updated with an automatic movement and a new tachymetric scale. The transparent tachymetric scale on the sapphire crystal is illuminated from beneath by an aluminium ring filled with Super-LumiNova. Our forum regular Ruckdee took some amazing photos of his original Mark II together with the re-edition, here.

Omega Speedmaster II, OMEGA Baselworld 2014
Speedmaster Mark II

Omega Speedmaster II, OMEGA Baselworld 2014
The transparent tachymetric scale is illuminated from beneath by an aluminium ring filled with Super-LumiNova

Omega Speedmaster II, OMEGA Baselworld 2014

Omega Speedmaster II, OMEGA Baselworld 2014
Co-Axial caliber 3330 is an automatic column-wheel chronograph movement with a silicon balance spring

Especially for TimeZone, Omega unveils the Speedmaster Mark II Rio that commemorates the Summer Olympics in 2016. This Olympic edition timepiece has silver, bronze and gold rings that frame the subdials. A silver ring frames the small seconds at 9 o’clock, a bronze ring frames the 12-hour register at 6 o’clock and a gold ring frames the 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock.

Both variations of the Mark XII retail for $6,250.

Omega Speedmaster II Rio, OMEGA Baselworld 2014
Speedmaster Mark II Rio

Omega Speedmaster II Rio, OMEGA Baselworld 2014

Omega Speedmaster II Rio, OMEGA Baselworld 2014
Silver, bronze and gold subdial rings are a nod to the Olympic gold medals

Seamaster Professional Chronograph GMT
Exclusive for TimeZone is a sneak peek at an upcoming Seamaster Professional Chronograph GMT.

Seamaster Professional Chronograph GMT, OMEGA Baselworld 2014

Seamaster Professional Chronograph GMT, OMEGA Baselworld 2014

Seamaster Professional Chronograph GMT, OMEGA Baselworld 2014

Seamaster Professional Chronograph GMT, OMEGA Baselworld 2014

Master Co-Axial
The majority of watch service issues is related to magnetism. In response, the new Master Co-Axial anti-magnetic movements are being introduced into all the Omega collections, beginning with the Seamaster and De Ville collections. This new family of movements includes Master Co-Axial calibres 8400/8401, 8500, 8511 and 8520 – all of which are distinguished from their Co-Axial predecessors by their ability to resist magnetic fields greater than 15,000 gauss. To achieve this level of anti-magnetism, the calibres feature a silicon balance spring; the staffs and pivots are made of a non-ferrous material Omega calls, “Nivagauss”; the steel plates in the Co-Axial escapement have now all been been replaced with non-magnetic plates; and the spring of the shock absorber has been crafted from an amorphous material.

Baselworld 2014 Omega Master Co-Axial, Basel Omega Watches, Omega Seamaster Golf Master Co-Axial, OMEGA Baselworld 2014
Seamaster Aqua Terra Terra “Golf” Master Co-Axial

Baselworld 2014 Omega Master Co-Axial, Basel Omega Watches, Omega Seamaster Golf Master Co-Axial, OMEGA Baselworld 2014
Master Co-Axial Calibre 8500 resists magnetic fields greater than 15,000 gauss (1.5 tesla)

Omega NATO straps
Finally, for the those who prefer a branded strap, Omega will offer NATO straps in its boutiques. The straps retail for CHF 200 in leather and CHF 150 in fabric.

Basel Omega Watches, Omega NATO strap, OMEGA Baselworld 2014
A new Omega NATO strap that retails for CHF 150

Basel Omega Watches, Omega NATO strap, OMEGA Baselworld 2014

See also Omega Forum – Live Photos: Omega at Baselworld 2014
Photos: Paul Boutros

Read more

Hi All;

That was the headline which Omega used, over 40 years ago, when they launched the Constellation Megaquartz 2.4. At that time it was guaranteed to one second a month, see the contemporary brochure below:

Knowing how, nowadays, quartz is regarded as ‘disposable’ technology; it is good to know that my watch is still running well within specification, at 0.04 seconds a day.

It achieves this amazing accuracy by vibrating the crystal at 2.4 MILLION vibrations each second; whilst a conventional quartz runs at 32,000 v/second.

Some of these watches were sent to the Bresancon Observatory in France and were certified as Marine Chronometers, the only wristwatches ever to achieve this certification. There has been some discussion that the movements sent off for to Bresancon were finely tuned in order to perform within the tight parameters. However, recent investigations have shown that the movements in the MC and ‘regular’ watches are absolutely identical.

Read more

This Omega Seamaster De Ville cal. 601 is one of my most-worn watches.

Read more

(Watches from the collections of TomG and myself).

Read more