A Rejected NASA Prototype Inspired Omega’s White Speedmaster Moonwatch

The first titanium Project Alaska Omega watch had a shielding case of anodized aluminum in bright red.

Photograph: Swatch Group

Omega followed the first Alaska prototype with a second design the following year, cased in the conventional 42-mm Moonwatch case. It retained the oversize red aluminum outer case and white dial, while on this model the steel cases were bead-blasted rather than polished to reduce dazzling reflections. The “capsule” hands also remained, but in black, and the classic Speedmaster’s tachymeter bezel (most useful for tracking speed over a known distance; relatively impossible in space) was replaced by a 60-minute scale.

Despite its more conventional styling and cheaper production costs, NASA decided not to order the watch, preferring to stick with what it knew. The Alaska Project watches did eventually make it into space, however, worn by Soyuz 25 mission cosmonauts between 1977 and 1981.

A white dial would not grace another Speedmaster Moonwatch until 1997, when a commemorative limited edition was produced to mark the 40th anniversary of the Speedmaster, and it was only sold in Italy.

In 2008, a limited-edition Alaska Project homage was released, and others have since followed, including the Silver Snoopy of 2015. In 2021, a white-dial Speedy was released in Omega’s proprietary Canopus white gold.

But this new model in stainless steel (reference 310.30.42.50.04.001) is the most attainable white version so far. Today, Omega says the color scheme is a nod to astronauts’ space suits, which it may be—but for fans of the brand it will always relate back to those Cold War creations.

So important were the Alaska Project watches, they were also immortalized in MoonSwatch form in 2022, as the red-bioceramic-cased Mission to Mars.

There are a number of other touches that cement this new Speedmaster’s place as the spiritual successor to the Alaska Project watches: The red Speedmaster dial text is a subtle nod to the design of both Alaska models; and the glossy lacquer used for the dial (another small first for Omega-kind) is in its own way harking back to the highly reflective capabilities of those top-secret prototypes.

Equipped with a sapphire crystal, water-resistant to 50 meters, and machined to tolerances that engineers of the 1960s could only dream of, this is a thoroughly modern Speedmaster—but like all the best Speedmasters, it has a powerful connection to the past.