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Omega Speedmaster: the watch that touched the stars

  • 22 Aug 2019

In April 1961, when Yuri Gagarin is recognized for his flight into space and being the first human being to do so, a close competition between the United States and Russia begins for whom he would first reach the moon, after many attempts and improvements many clocks will fail with the first trip to the Mercury Program space in 1961 and 1963.

For the Program in 1965 in which there would be several trips to space, 5 chronographs were purchased by two engineers and were subjected to extreme temperatures, vacuum, humidity in various degrees, knocks, acceleration, vibrations and noise. All these tests ended in March 65, concluding that the only watch capable of supporting and passing all the tests was the Omega Speedmaster, the watch was awarded the title of “Officially certified watch for all manned missions”. The investigation was carried out without the manufacturers having knowledge of it.

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His first mission in the stars was with Walter M. Schirra and Gordon Cooper, this mission was before the clock was certified, and the Geminis 3 crew is the first to use the Speedmaster.

In the Gemini IV mission, the watch is first worn on the velcro of a suit by Edward White. After this Omega discovers the use that NASA gives to its watches and renamed this model as "Speedmaster Professional". In July 1969 with the mission of Apollo 11 the Speedmaster became the first watch on the moon Buzz Adrin wore it on his wrist while Neil Armstrong left it inside the lunar module due to a failure that the watch had, since it is called "MOONWATCH", currently only the Nail clock is exposed in the National Museum of Air and Space in Washington since Buzz's was stolen during his transfer to the Smithsonian Museum.

In the Apollo 13 mission, astronaut Jim Lovell timed with the Speedmaster the 14 seconds of ignition of the secondary engines to manually re-enter the Earth's atmosphere, because the on-board computer was turned off to save energy. NASA rewarded Omega for the role played in the mission with the Snoopy Award.

Another space milestone occurred during the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project. Not only American astronauts, but also Soviet cosmonauts carried the Speedmaster. Russian cosmonauts had until then carried Russian-made Poljot watches, Sturmanskie and Strela models.

The Omega Speedmaster was once again certified by NASA in 1972 and in 1978. Today, although other watches can be used on NASA's space shuttle, the only watch authorized for extra-vehicular activity remains the Speedmaster.

Omega makes special versions of this watch, which are quite appreciated by collectors. Periodically he releases commemorative versions of the anniversary of the arrival of man on the moon, the last, 40th anniversary in 2009; but it has also released specific versions for Japan, commemorative versions of the 50th anniversary of the Speedmaster, those known as Speedmaster Missions commemorating various Gemini or Apollo missions in which the watch has been used, and even one with a 2003 Snoopy that commemorates the award Snoopy that NASA grants to people and companies that have been especially relevant to the program, and that Omega received when the Speedmaster was used at a critical moment in the dramatic Apollo 13 mission. NASA did not award that award to any other manufacturer or model present on the ship.

Currently there is a wide variety of watches for general use such as wall and anteroom or personal use such as pocket or wrist that today are considered an accessory which you can find in many different designs both in its mechanisms as for your straps which you can find a wide variety of styles and colors in our catalogs with a wide range for all brands of these watches manufacturers. In our store www.kronostraps.com

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