Written by David Ninobla
Back in 2015, I proposed to the love of my life, little did I know that the journey to our wedding day would also lead me to one of the most cherished pieces in my watch collection.
I've always had a thing for collecting, and while I was relatively new to the world of horology, I already had a vintage Rolex DJ, a gift from my dear uncle. As we delved into wedding preparations, my soon-to-be wife wanted to surprise me with a watch. She asked for my top three choices, and I listed the Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 45th Anniversary in “Sedna Gold”, the Omega Speedmaster Alaska Project, and, as a fallback, the Rolex Milgaus with a black face.
While I had a soft spot for the Apollo 11 45th Anniversary, primarily because of its
captivating color, the Alaska Project however had its unique allure. The sub dials, shaped like a spacecraft, were a nod to the adventurous spirit of space exploration, and they caught my eye every time. But sourcing these watches wasn't going to be easy.
Enter Ben Clymer of Hodinkee. My wife had known him before Hodinkee became the horological giant it is today. Additionally, I had friends in the grey market, dealers with connections that spanned continents.
Ultimately, it was one of these friends who found the Alaska Project in the Netherlands. Through a dealer-to-dealer transfer, the watch made its way home. The best part? My wife secured it for a mere $8k.
Our wedding was set in the picturesque island of Boracay in the Philippines. Knowing we'd be island hopping, I packed my Seiko diver and Tissot T Touch. But on our wedding day, when I finally laid eyes on the Alaska Project, I was charmed. It barely left my wrist that trip, only parting for a swim or a wash.
What was wild was that the Alaska Project came with its original box and papers. Even the iconic red heat shield was included. What a find…
Funny story, a few years later, I had put the white strap and red heat shield on the watch for some photos. I left it on my bedside table, not giving it another thought. The next thing I knew, my dog was running around the house with the watch in her mouth. When I finally got to it, the strap was all chewed up. Thankfully, the watch itself was unharmed. Heartbroken, I thought the strap was irreplaceable given the watch's rarity. However, a friend of mine working at Omega heard about the mishap and wanted to help. He reached out to Omega HQ, and to my surprise, they sourced one of the last straps they had in stock, specially ordered for me.
Looking back, while I might have really wanted Apollo 11 as my top choice, but the Alaska Project holds a special place in my heart. It's not just a watch; it's a testament to love, surprises, and the beautiful journey of marriage.