The Omega Speedmaster chosen by NASA
Here is a watch starring among the stars: the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch. Indeed, it was the one to ‘land’ on the Moon. In 2021, the watch switches calibres but not looks. An icon cannot be disfigured! But it can however benefit from the most recent technological innovations to better its performances. Suffice to say, the space watch is still in a crescent phase. Which is why it obviously deserved a Frank Sans C video and a complete article with maximum information.
Only watch officially approved by NASA after extreme testing (high and low temperature, acceleration, humidity, decompression…), the Speedmaster Moonwatch was conceived in 1957 by the Omega manufacture.
Unlike what I said in my Youtube video, it seems that there was no call for tender, but that NASA chose some watches to test without asking anyone. Which is even more insane!
This chronograph is inseparable from the American space conquest. On the 21st of July 1969, it made history with the Apollo 11 mission.
Not at 2h56 a.m (GMT) when Neil Armstrong stepped on the Moon, as we could think, but at 3h15 a.m when Buzz Aldrin joined him: he was the one wearing the watch! Neil Amstrong’s was still onboard the module, to be used as timepiece. Since this planetary event, the Speedmaster became the Moonwatch.
« What could you do in 14 seconds? » can be read on the dial between twelve and three o’clock. The reason is that the chronograph literally saved the Apollo 13 crew by enabling them to precisely time the burn on the engine to correct the trajectory of the Lunar module Aquarius (LEM) during their return trip. Only way to survive since the Service Module had been damaged by the explosion of an oxygen tank – ‘Houston, we have a problem…’ – before even reaching the Moon.
The new Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional Master Chronometer
This year, Omega decided to revisit an icon: a successful bet as much from the aesthetic than mechanical viewpoint. The new Moonwatch draws inspiration from the Speedmaster 4th generation, the one worn by the Apollo 11 astronauts.
Among the small details, while the 42mm case stays slightly asymmetrical, the tachymeter on the bezel is now thinner. Also – and most importantly – it features the famous dot over 90 and one angled under 70, just like the vintage edition. The retro effect is reinforced by a new five-arched-links-per-row bracelet reminding of the historic models.
Extra vintage, the new Speedmaster is equipped with a modern manual winding chronograph movement. Benefitting from the last Omega innovations, this calibre is the greatest evolution of the Moonwatch.
Master Chronometer certified by the METAS (Federal Institute of Metrology), Calibre 3861 resists to extreme magnetic fields up to 15 000 gauss and complies with the COSC requirements (Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute).
Steel on steel, leather or fabric strap, hesalite or sapphire glass, Sedna™ or Canopus™ gold (exclusive gold alloys): eight editions make their entrance in the collection.
Quick precision: the movement is only visible through the back of sapphire glass models. On hesalite glass pieces, a solid case back protects it.
More about the new Speedmaster
After more than 20 years, the former Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional is bowing out.
Worthy successor of the watch that walked on the Moon, the now retired Speedmaster Moonwatch appeared into the collection in 1997. In its 42mm case was housed the manual winding calibre 1863.
Available in an all-steel version or on black leather, with a hesalite or sapphire glass, it was presented in a special Moonwatch box set (since 2014) including a NATO strap, a Velcro strap replicating those worn by astronauts (a tool came in to change them) and a book retracing the adventures of the Speedmaster.
With the arrival of the new generation, this model’s production is coming to an end in 2021. And so is the box set… A future collectible.
Speedmaster Silver Snoopy Award, a true mascot
In 1970, Omega received the prestigious “Silver Snoopy Award” from NASA for the crucial role played by the Speedmaster in saving Apollo 13. On a wider scale, it recognized the unique contributions of the brand to space exploration. After a limited edition sold out in a few hours, the watchmaking house features since the end of 2020 a new heritage model in collection.
This 42mm diameter Speedmaster “Silver Snoopy Award” in steel, with a blue ceramic bezel and silver dial, flaunts a small seconds counter personalized by Snoopy wearing a spacesuit.
The space agency mascot also appears on the amazing case back of the watch. It is animated by an Earth disc – rotating in sync with the small seconds hand – and a small Snoopy in his Module that moves when the chronograph seconds hand is used. He then makes a complete circle in one minute, one half of it hidden behind the Moon.
To discover more, read our detailed data sheet on the Speedmaster Silver Snoopy Award.
The feminine Speedmaster, between elegance and performance
Initially meant for men, the Speedmaster also exist in a feminine version. This variant flaunts a diameter of 38mm, with a slightly different dial featuring oval-shaped counters.
The Speedmaster 38 mm collection plays on colours and materials combinations, some flaunting a diamond-set bezel. Moving away from the purely professional instrument to gain in sophistication.
Which does not prevent them from guaranteeing a water-resistance up to 100 meters and to house an automatic movement (Omega 3330 Co-Axial calibre) which precision is certified by the COSC.
Four new variations of Speedmaster 38 mm have joined the collection in 2020.
Read also: our article on the steel Omega Speedmaster equipped with the reedition of Calibre 321.
In 2017, Omega celebrated in London the 60th anniversary of the Speedmaster, with George Clooney and Buzz Aldrin. Find our article on the event:
When the Omega Speedmaster enters the collection…
Obviously, this watch is prized among collectors. Models linked with space missions and “Snoopy” references are the most sought after. How to find them? In auctions, of course, but also on specialized websites such as Watchfinder & Co.
Always be wary of web opportunities too good to be true and be careful of unknown websites. Since the Omega Speedmaster watches are widely popular, some very good imitations exist…