In the early 1970s OMEGA’s Alaska Project team 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 the extreme low or high 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.
In 2008 OMEGA launched the Speedmaster Moonwatch “Alaska Project timepiece in a limited edition of 1,970 pieces to honour the original prototype. 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”.
The Speedmaster Moonwatch “Alaska Project features a 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 fitted with black and white Velcro straps on brushed red – anodised aluminium buckles and with a stainless steel bracelet. The Speedmaster Moonwatch “Alaska Project” was delivered in a special presentation box along with the red-anodised aluminium outer case and a set of tools.
Model: Speedmaster Moonwatch “Alaska Project”
OMEGA calibre 1861
Frequency: 21’600 A/h (3 Hz)
Power reserve: 45 hours
Movement used in the famous “Moon Watch”
Diameter: 42.00 mm
Height: 13.55 mm
Water resistant up to: 50 m (167 ft)
Polished and brushed stainless steel casebody, stainless steel bezel, black aluminium ring with tachymeter scale
Stainless steel crown and pushers, Omega logo on crown
Domed hesalite crystal with Omega logo at the centre
Screwed-in stainless steel caseback stamped with seahorse medallion, “Flight-qualified by NASA for all manned space mission”, “Alaska Project” and engraved with limited edition number
Diameter: 58.00 mm (closed)
Height: 26.00 mm (with watch inside)
Surface treatment: red, by “sulphuric decorative anodising” (eloxage)
Velcro strap openings: at 6H and 12H
External chronograph pushers: polished stainless steel, inner protection tip in Delrin
Inner ground for watch holding: 4 stainless steel pistons, protection tip in Delrin
Front inscriptions: “Alaska Project” at 12H, “Outer Space Extreme Temperature Instrument” at 6H, 60-minute track
Back inscriptions: Omega name-logo, “Speedmaster Professional” at the centre; “Limited edition of 1970 watches”; “Temperature resistance [-148°C — +260°C]
Side inscriptions: Omega logo between pushers; “Close” with directional sign between 9H-10H
Central hour-minute hands, small seconds at 9H
Central chronograph seconds hand, 30-minute recorder at 3H
12-hour recorder at 6H
Semi-mat white dial
Transferred Omega name-logo, hour markers coated with Super-LumiNova
Hands Varnished black-and-white hour-minute hands coated with Super-LumiNova, varnished black small seconds hand at 9H
Red central Chronograph seconds hand with Super-LumiNova
Varnished black chronograph recorder hands in shuttle shape, coated with Super-LumiNova
Polished and brushed stainless steel bracelet with safety clasp; Two Velcro straps with brushed red aluminium buckle
Fitting: 20 mm between lugs
Limited edition of 1970 pieces
Special presentation box with a set of tools