17/09/2011 Icons of watchmaking history no.12: Omega Speedmaster Professional
This week, watch expert Gisbert L. Brunner explores space… with the Omega Speedmaster Professional.
Any adventurer who travels in uncharted territory needs to be able to rely on tools such as compass and clock. The more hostile the environment, the more reliable the equipment needs to be.
Space travel, therefore, saw NASA specialists making extreme demands of their chosen watchmaker. Before astronauts were to carry a timepiece into this most uncharted of territories, reliability on the ground was established in a series of extremely tough tests. On 29 September 1964, the Swiss watch brand Omega provided some specimens for testing and, in early 1965, the official NASA watch was chosen. On 23 March of that year, the Omega Speedmaster was worn on the Gemini 3 space mission. And, during Apollo 11, it became the first model of watch worn on the moon. In April 1970, the chronograph even saved the life of the crew of Apollo 13.
Today, the so-called ‘Moonwatch’, with hand-wound movement, appears every year as a new edition in limited and unlimited versions.
Next week, our icons of watchmaking series puts the Panerai Luminor Marina into the spotlight.