To the Moon and Back: Omega Celebrates 45th Anniversary of Lunar Landing

The moon didn’t rise last Wednesday night, but the party I attended in the Hollywood Hills to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing had something better: the man on the moon himself.

Col. Buzz Aldrin, whose journey to the moon on July 20, 1969, is a milestone of human achievement, was the guest of honor at a cocktail shindig at the famed Sheats-Goldstein Residence in the hills overlooking Los Angeles. (Little-known but fantastic fact: The house served as Jackie Treehorn’s space-age abode in one of the best films of all time, The Big Lebowski!)

The party’s sponsors, Vanity Fair and Omega—the watchmaker behind the Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch that Aldrin and fellow astronaut Neil Armstrong wore during the mission—chose the architectural gem, a 1963 home designed by John Lautner, in part, I suspect, because of its stellar views and groovy 60s-modernist aesthetic. They’d even asked the owner of a local telescope shop to bring his equipment to the event, so guests could glimpse the heavens—or the neighbors in the canyon—using the high-powered lenses.

Courtesy Getty Images for Omega

Omega vice president and head of product development Jean-Claude Monachon, Col. Buzz Aldrin, and Omega North America president Gregory Swift at the Omega-Vanity Fair party celebrating the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, held at the Sheats-Goldstein House in Los Angeles.

When my friend Jen and I arrived, we paused at the photo-staging area to admire Aldrin, looking dapper, extremely tan, and quite a bit shorter than I expected, as he posed for photos beside celebrities and Hollywood hangers-on. We then followed a path that led back past the iconic house to a cleared-out space where a bar and lounge chairs had been set up. The back of the clearing was dominated by a wide screen, across which flashed famous Vanity Fair images, most of them Annie Leibovitz originals. In front of the screen stood six spherical display cases, each one devoted to a single vintage Omega timepiece.

Courtesy Getty Images for Omega

The displays at the Omega-Vanity Fair party celebrating the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon

The party, along with a sister event that took place in Orlando, Fla., earlier in the week, marked the debut of Omega’s Speedmaster Apollo 11, a limited edition of 1,969 pieces created to honor the brand’s connection to the historic landing. 

Courtesy Omega

The Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 comes in a 42 mm brushed gray titanium case with gold accents and black PVD dial.

If you’ve listened to the radio over the past few days, you’ve probably heard clips of Aldrin reflecting on the mission, as when he told NPR, “It certainly gave us hope that the big ocean of space could be traversed with degrees of confidence.”

He mentioned the possibility that one day NASA would be able to send astronauts to explore faraway asteroids, perhaps even Mars. It’s pretty cool to imagine a reliable relic of analog technology, like the Speedmaster, going with them.