The first wristwatch worn on the moon has taken a new giant leap — toward affordability.
Omega, the Swiss watchmaker behind the Speedmaster Professional that was selected by NASA for use on the Apollo lunar landings, has collaborated with its sister company Swatch to create the MoonSwatch, a collection of solar system-inspired watches based on the Moonwatch, but available for a fraction of the price.
"Omega's Moonwatch is legendary and a must-have for collectors. Swatch's witty bioceramic MoonSwatch collection makes the iconic design accessible to fans everywhere," Swatch officials said in statement. "It's a down-to-Earth take on the watch that went to the moon, which is a perfect representation of Swatch's joy of life and innovation philosophy."
The Omega x Swatch MoonSwatch collection includes 11 models, each named for a different body in our solar system. From the sun, with its bright gold palette, to the (dwarf) planet Pluto, featuring gray and burgundy hues, the timepieces render the Speedmaster's iconic look in rarely seen colors. The exception is the model named for the moon, which follows the design of the original Moonwatch, down to the minor details known and looked for by "Speedy" enthusiasts.
Likewise, the Mars model borrows some of its design elements from the "Alaska Project," a NASA-driven 1969 effort by Omega to develop a watch specifically for use in space.
Unlike the Speedmaster Professional, which remains available in various versions from Omega, the MoonSwatch trades the original's steel body for a blend of ceramic and bio-sourced plastic. The chronograph also forgoes Omega's precision mechanical movements for Quartz.
What really separates the MoonSwatch from its inspiration, though, is its price tag. The open-edition watches retail for $260 each. By comparison, the Speedmaster Professional is listed at $6,400.
"The Swatches are perfect for budding Moonwatch fans, and I can't think of a more appropriate icon for our shared project," said Raynald Aeschlimann, president and chief executive officer of Omega. "We went to the moon; now we're exploring the whole Milky Way."
Other models in the collection include watches named for the planets Mercury, Venus, Earth, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Most are distinguished by their colors, though the Saturn MoonSwatch also adds the planet's famous rings to its seconds subdial.
The back of each MoonSwatch features a battery cover decorated with an image of the planet or astronomical body for which the model is named. Each is also inscribed, "Reach for the Planets • Enjoy the Mission • Dream Big • Fly Higher • Explore the Universe" around the edge of the caseback.
Each watch has a 42-mm case, the same as the Speedmaster Professional, and comes with a color-matched Velcro strap, adding an additional nod to the original's space history. A similar strap was used to wear the Omega Speedmaster over the astronauts' spacesuits.
The MoonSwatch collection will go on sale on Saturday (March 26), though at first only at select Swatch stores. The watches will later be offered online, according to Swatch.