Omega’s participation in the legendary space race began unofficially on October 3th 1962 when NASA astronaut Wally Schirra wore his own personal Speedmaster on the Mercury-Atlas 8 Sigma 7 mission. NASA saw this and began a research about this timepiece.
Then in 1965, NASA qualified the Speedmaster for manned space missions. The fourth edition Speedmaster outperformed chronographs from three other manufacturers during a bunch of stress tests taken by NASA to determine viability for the space program.On March the 23th 1965, the first manned Gemini flight launched the ‘Molly Brown’ capsule into space, and you know what? The iconic Omega Speedmaster was on board!Then weeks later, astronaut Edward White made a picture of his Speedmaster during the first American spacewalk, and the watch became instantly famous. His extra-vehicular activity was an unbelievable achievement but it was a bit overshadowed by the first lunar landing on July 20 1969. On this historic day, astronaut Buzz Aldrin stepped onto the surface of the Moon. The moon has only one-sixt the Earth’s gravity but his 'Speedmaster' performed flawless. It passed the ultimate test; performing in an environment devoid of atmosphere and foreign to mankind. From that moment on, the Speedmaster was reborn as ‘the Moonwatch’. Only twelve men have set foot on the moon since 1969. And each of them wore a Speedmaster during their respective missions.The Speedmaster gained more fame as the mission of Apollo 13 was aborted at 200,000 miles above earth when a service module oxygen tank exploded. The crew, who wore the famous Speedmaster Professional, used the chronograph to time the fuel burns critical to achieving the proper trajectory for re-entry. Omega became the standard choice for the most of the world’s top space agencies.
This year Omega celebrates the 60th birthday of its iconic ‘moonwatch’. Take a look below for our selection of Omega’s moonwatches.