Omega Speedmaster Professional: 50th Anniversary Models
In a horological industry obsessed with a timepiece’s performance many leagues under the sea, one watch stands out for its presence on the cuff of many a bouncing ‘Moonwalker’ - the Omega Speedmaster that first touched down on the Moon with Apollo 11 astronauts in July 1969.
In actual fact, the first time the Speedmaster Chronograph was officially "flight-qualified by NASA for all manned space missions" was four years earlier and after it had already been to space on the wrist of astronaut Walter Schirra, on board the Sigma 7 in 1962.
During the troubled and dramatic Apollo 13 "Houston, we’ve had a problem here" mission of 1970, the Speedmaster saved the day, when Commander James Lovell relied on his Speedmaster Chronograph to time, within a fraction of a second, the critical firing of the re-entry rockets allowing for the safe return of his crew to planet Earth.
In recognition of the crucial role that its Speedmaster chronograph played on the Apollo 13 mission, Omega received the ‘Snoopy’ Award in October 1970 - the highest honour awarded by NASA astronauts.
The iconic watch was first introduced in 1957 as a manual-winding chronograph with ‘Broad Arrow’ hands (that were replaced in 1963 with slimmer ‘Dauphine’ hands creating more space on the dial for a clearer view of the three counters with 12-hour, 30-minute and 60-second totalisers). Although space-travellers used a space-suit-friendly Velcro strap, the watch was most commonly fitted with a stainless steel bracelet that straps to the wrist with a foldover clasp.
Omega has now introduced a Limited Series Moonwatch, with production capped at just 5957 pieces to celebrate the model’s fiftieth. Each watch will have a seahorse medallion embossed on the stainless steel case back as well as the number of the Limited Series 0000/5957 and the words: "FLIGHT-QUALIFIED BY NASA FOR ALL MANNED SPACE MISSIONS. THE FIRST AND ONLY WATCH WORN ON THE MOON".
Collectors will appreciate that the Limited Series Moonwatch is powered by the same manual-winding Omega Calibre 1861 movement as in the original - the 45-hour power reserve being enough for most interplanetary missions.
For those wanting to explore the outer limits of watch collecting yet further, Omega also offers the Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch Co-Axial Limited Series, limited to just 57 pieces of each of the three gold versions and to 1957 pieces of the stainless steel model. All come in a special wooden box, with a marquetry rendition of the seahorse logo on the lid and adjustment tools and an alligator strap inside.
For further information please visit www.omega.ch.
Text: Classic Driver
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