The most rigorous NASA testing put The Omega Speedmaster Professional belong the best watches on Earth. However, Speedmaster needed to fly much further to become the only one – The Moonwatch.
Omega Speedmaster booked a ticket for a NASA space missions, even thou it hadn’t been intention of Swiss watchmakers, when a new model had been introduced in 1957. A fact that it was a manual-wind chronograph, from highly reliable company, made it perfect for some of the Mercury missions.
At 1962, when NASA started to look for official timepieces, for its most delicate expeditions, Omega Speedmaster Professional became one of the main candidates. A few watches were tested to extreme environmental conditions, including temperatures from 0° to 200° F, 12g’s of acceleration, extreme humidity, and a violent vibration test. Only Speedmaster have gone trough most of it, and in 1965, became the official watch of the US space program.
Apollo 11 Lunar mission
At a same year, Edward White wore the watch, on the outside of his space suit, on the first space walk by a USA astronaut (Gemini IV). But highlight of Speedmaster history was four years later, when Omega took part in an Apollo 11 Lunar mission. Buzz Aldrin was the first man who stepped on the moon, wearing an Omega Speedmaster Professional, after Neil Armstrong left its watch on board as a backup.
Nowadays, there are several versions of the Speedmaster – the case and movement changes are perhaps most significant. But Omega has never stopped producing almost the same NASA watch from 1965. Moonwatch is so popular because of great back-story, but most of all thanks to its reliability, highest technical standards and elegant sporty look.
High Swiss technology
A 42 mm stainless steel case and bracelet, with push-button release, make Speedmaster looks larger than it actually is. Still, fitted with very shock resistant Hesalite crystal, watch perfectly fits to a hand. Hesalite has a beautiful curve and, on the inside, very small Omega symbol.
The Lemania 1861 manual wind movement hasn’t changed much over the years – even Swiss couldn’t move much further from this great technological achievement. It is now rhodium plated and more resistant to corrosion, with 48-hour power reservoir, 17 jewels and frequency of 21,600 bph.
The Omega Speedmaster Professional has three registers chronograph layout: A 30 minute register at 3 and a 12 hour register at 6 o’clock. Constant seconds sundial is at 9, while the bright white matt painted minute and hour hand and the chronograph sweep seconds are at the center of watch.
Legendary Buzz Aldrin’s Moonwatch didn’t take place in an museum (had been stolen and never found), but definitely disserved a special place in Omega’s hall of fame and worldwide popularity of Speedmaster Professional watches.