Omega Speedmaster

First Watch on the Moon

49 years ago today, Apollo 11 was whizzing through space and, in three days time, the landing module, Eagle, touched down on the Sea of Tranquility.

As Neil Armstrong took the small step for a man, on his wrist was this Omega Speedmaster, known ever since by its nickname “The Moon Watch”

The first Speedmaster, Chronograph, was released by Omega as a sports timer in 1957 to compliment Omega’s appointment as the official timer for the Olympic Games.

In 1965 Omega upgraded the Speedmaster with a new movement. This was about the time that NASA was testing watches to be used in their space programme.

Of the six chronographs that NASA tested, the Speedmaster was the only one to withstand all of the severe tests under conditions of zero gravity and magnetic fields, extreme shocks, vibrations and temperatures ranging from -18 to +93 degrees Celsius.

So as the astronauts’ official watch this lead to the most memorable moment in the Speedmaster’s history; 21 July 1969 at 02:56 GMT, when it became the first watch worn on the Moon’s surface.

In another historical event, the Speedmaster was worn on the wrists of both the American astronaut Tom Stafford and the Russian cosmonaut Alexei Leonov during the historic Apollo-Soyuz space rendezvous. This was the first time the cosmonauts also wore the Omega Speedmaster. Ever since, the Speedmaster has been the official chronograph of all Russian manned space missions.

The Speedmaster, along with the space pen (zero gravity pen) are the only two items of the Apollo 11 astronauts’ equipment that is available to the general public.

So this is what I have in common with Neil Armstrong. Actually, I was one up on Neil when he was still with us (RIP). I’ve got one, Neil lost his years before!

I love this watch!


About robswatches

I’m a horoligical “petrol head”! I love classical mechanical watches, not because they tell me the time, I can get the time from cheap quartz watches, my computer, phone, microwave or just about anywhere. I’m interested in the movements of watches, the aesthetics of case design and their construction, the history and the simple thrill of watching tiny, beautifully finished wheels, pinions and other parts turning and oscillating and marvelling at the craftsmanship that created it.
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