The Speedmaster Moonwatch “Alaska Project”
In the early 1970s OMEGA's Alaska Project team (named in reference to the temperatures in America's 49th state) started to develop an outer case for the Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch to protect it from the extreme temperatures of space. At the time, NASA was considering the practicality of exploring the dark side of the Moon and OMEGA wanted to ensure that the Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch would function well at these temperatures.
NASA, however, declared that the Speedmaster was perfect as it was and already met all of their needs; thus, the Speedmaster “Alaska Project” with its distinctive red-anodised aluminium outer case remained a prototype. Omegamania, a thematic auction dedicated exclusively to OMEGA collectors' timepieces, offered one of the prototypes in April of 2007. The successful bid was CHF 64,900.
Now, the new Speedmaster Moonwatch “Alaska Project” honours its robust namesake with a limited edition of 1,970 pieces. Ideal for the most intrepid of adventurers, it is temperature resistant (in space) between -148° C and +260°C, a range of more than 400 degrees! At the heart of the Speedmaster Moonwatch “Alaska Project” is the legendary OMEGA calibre 1861, which was also used in the iconic Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch. The manual-winding chronograph has a power reserve of 45 hours.
Its 42 mm case is made of polished and brushed stainless steel and the bezel is fitted with a black aluminium ring with a tachymeter scale. The rugged timepiece has central hour and minute hands with the small seconds hand located at 9 o'clock. The Speedmaster Moonwatch “Alaska Project” has a white dial which provides a particularly effective thermal reflection coefficient. The central chronograph seconds hand is bold red; the 30-minute recorder in the 3 o'clock position and the 12-hour recorder at 6 o'clock have large triangular counterweights, the so-called “Apollo hands”.
What sets the Speedmaster Moonwatch “Alaska Project” apart from every other watch in the world, however, is the stunning, red-anodised aluminium outer case. The unusual colour, which is the result of anodic oxidation treatment (eloxage), was not chosen for aesthetic reasons - no other colour offered the same level of protection from temperature shock. The case safely encloses the watch, protecting it from every temperature extreme, while allowing full use of the chronograph function with the ingenious system of “mushroom” pushers.
The remarkable timepiece is delivered with black and white Velcro straps on brushed red - anodised aluminium buckles and with a stainless steel bracelet. The Speedmaster Moonwatch “Alaska Project” comes in a special presentation box along with the red-anodised aluminium outer case and a set of tools - it is the ultimate expression of OMEGA's legendary pioneering spirit.
All info from Omega Watches