Six Things You Didn't Know About The Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch
On the 21st July, 1969 Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin captivated the world when they took the first steps on the surface of the moon.
Staking its claim as one of the most significant watches of the 20th century, the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional took these historic steps with them, and was the first watch to be certified by NASA for manned space flights.
50-years on from a day that made history like no other, we take a look at some little-known facts that make the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch a legend.
1. The first Omega on the moon was worn by Buzz Aldrin
When the astronauts first stepped out of the Apollo 11 Lunar Module on July 21st 1969, six hours after landing on the moon, it was Buzz Aldrin who wore the Omega Moonwatch, not Neil Armstrong.
Neil Armstrong might have been the first man to take a giant leap for Mankind and set foot on the moon, but his own Omega Speedmaster had been left behind on the Eagle to provide back-up for the mission timer which had malfunctioned.
Concerned that they would have nothing to use instead of the critical mission timer if both watches were damaged during the 2 hours and 36 minute moonwalk, Armstrong opted to leave his watch behind so that it could be used as a replacement timer if required.
2. The Omega Speedmaster is the only watch certified by NASA for use on spacewalks
In 1964, NASA embarked on a series of tests that would find a watch that could be relied upon during all future space missions. They selected hand-wound pieces from brands such as Bulova, Longines and Omega and set about trying to destroy them.
Only the Omega survived, and went on to be part of all six lunar missions. It’s one of only 4 watches to be officially certified by NASA, and is the only watch certified for spacewalks.
Today, European Space Agency astronauts such as Tim Peake are issued with the Omega Speedmaster Skywalker X-33. Offering even greater functionality, high-tech features and a digital and analogue display, it’s revolutionary movement is based on an invention by astronaut Jean-Francois Clervoy.
3. The Omega Speedmaster was the only un-modified equipment to be taken to the moon
Of all the equipment that was taken to the moon, the Omega Speedmaster was the only piece of equipment that required no modification to survive its space mission.
In fact, Eugene Cernan still wears the Speedmaster that was on his wrist when he left the last footprints on the moon in 1972.
Despite wearing his Omega Speedmaster on the moon for over three days and using it for space missions since 1966, he says that he can still wind the watch and be confident that it will keep accurate time despite never having been cleaned or repaired.
4. It helped save three lives on the Apollo 13 mission
Although going into space is undoubtedly high-tech, the Omega Speedmaster more than proved the worth of mechanical watches during the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission.
Two days after launch on April 13th 1970, the crew of Apollo 13 had their hopes of landing on the moon crushed when one of their spacecraft’s oxygen tanks burst.
Using lunar gravity to propel the crippled spacecraft back to Earth and without any of their normal navigational equipment, they timed a 14 second engine burn with their Omega watch, correcting their course and enabling them to get home safely.
Apollo 13 made history as a successful failure and, for Omega’s contribution to the safe return of the crew, they were awarded the Silver Snoopy Award, a special honour awarded by NASA for outstanding contribution to the success of the mission.
5. 1969 wasn’t the first time Omega went into space
Omega’s long connection with space began in 1962 when Wally Schirra wore the first Omega in space during the Sigma 7 mission of the Mercury Programme.
In fact, the watch that Schirra wore during his six orbits of Earth was his own personal timepiece - it wasn’t until two and half years later that NASA began the search for a space-qualified watch.
Inspired by Schirra’s watch, this remarkable Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch “First Omega In Space” is a tribute to mankind’s pioneering spirit.
6. The Speedmaster Moonwatch comes in an amazing box!
What better way to pay tribute to a watch that played a part in one of mankind’s most remarkable achievements than to present it in an amazing box?
Containing a tachymeter loupe, NATO and Velcro straps, a strap-changing tool, spare push-pins, a Speedmaster coin and a book which tells the legendary story of the Speedmaster, even the box is a collectors item in its own right.
See for yourself…
A watch for collectors, stargazers, and all those who dreamed of being a spaceman when they grew up, the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch collection starts from £3,640, or from £68.25 per month with 0% Interest Free Credit.
And, if you purchase any Omega watch instore or online before Tuesday 30th July, you’ll be entered into our prize draw to win an Omega moon landing gift set worth £260 - including a special Moon Watch book, a commemorative Omega astronaut pin and an Omega bracelet. Find out more.
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