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Whatever your opinion on special or limited editions, when it comes to the Omega Speedmaster, Omega has released some that have become almost as desirable as its more traditional iterations. Despite the fact that the Speedmaster's design has become, for lack of a better word, iconic, it is by no means rigid, and adapts well to a variety of special editions. None illustrate this adaptability better than those the brand releases to celebrate the watch's long and fruitful association with NASA--or to commemorate the Speedy itself.
Omega started releasing special editions of the Speedmaster as early as 1969. This example in 18k gold was released in the year of the moon landing, and is the first limited edition of Speedmaster. Its bold gold dial and red tachymeter bezel are a playful take on the Speedy's more traditional color scheme, and examples of this limited edition are highly coveted by collectors.
In 1997, Omega released an edition of Speedmaster in honor of the Speedmaster's 40th anniversary. Limited to 500 pieces, the Reference 3593.20 was only released in Italy. Like the Sapphire or Hesalite Sandwich, the Reference 3593.20 featured a sapphire exhibition case back, through which the Caliber 1863 movement could be viewed. However, the Reference 3593.20 actually predates those two references, and is the first edition of Speedmaster where Omega would put a sapphire crystal on it rather than the traditional acrylic.
The most salient feature of the Reference 3593.20 is the dial. As we saw with the 18k gold Speedmaster, Omega is not afraid to change the color of the dial, and in the Reference 3593.20 the stark black dial of the Moonwatch has been transformed into a mellow cream, causing collectors to give the watch the nickname of "the Italian Albino." Omega experimented with a white dial in the 1980s with an edition commemorating Apollo XI (Reference BC 345.0802) and again in 1994 with the Reference BC 348.0062).
But these editions were in white gold rather than stainless steel, making the 40th Anniversary Speedmaster a slightly sportier--but still unique--alternative.
Omega also experimented with a smaller, but still important, detail. In 1997 all brands owned by the Swatch Group shifted from tritium to SuperLuminova on all of their watches. This Reference, dating from that year, is therefore the first Speedmaster to use SuperLiminova on the hour markers and hands.
This "Italian Albino" comes to us from a close friend of Analog/Shift. It bears a production number of 53 out of 500. Complete with box, papers, and a warranty card dated 1999, it is a worthy addition to the stable of Omega Speedmaster models, a time capsule that cements the Speedmaster in the pantheon of horological greats.
Stainless steel case is approximately 42mm (excluding crown and pushers). Omega Reference 3593.2000. Omega Caliber 1863 Manually-Wound Chronograph Movement. Circa 1997.
Overall Condition: Stainless steel case is in very good condition with sharp bevels on the lugs and no signs of over-polishing. Case does have some signs of careful use and wear. Bezel is in excellent condition. Dial is likewise in excellent condition, as new. Omega crown. Sapphire exhibition case back, numbered 53 of 500.
Includes one 20mm Omega bracelet with Omega clasp. Bracelet has faint "desk diving" scruffs but is in otherwise very good condition. Also includes two 20mm nylon straps from Crown & Buckle
Also includes original inner Omega box, Warranty Cards and paperwork.