The “Speedy Pro” as it is affectionately known. The watch that went to the moon.
A watch that has stood the tests of both time and zero gravity still exists today albeit in a slightly updated form. It has become a must have for chronograph collectors and is considered to be one of the building blocks of a watch collection due to its historical significance.
Reference 3188.8.131.52.01.005 is the current model of the Moonwatch and remains faithful bar some modernisation to reference ST105.012 worn by Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong during the Apollo 11 mission.
In 1964 when NASA was procuring a watch for their space mission they sent out a list of requirements written by James H. Ragan, a young engineer at NASA. A sheet of specifications was sent out to several watch manufacturers in combination with Ragan’s brief. Only four brands answered: Rolex, Omega, Longines and Hamilton. All sent in watches to undergo NASA’s vigorous testing, a phase which lasted for 4 months (from 21st October 1964 to 1st March 1965).
The tests were as follows:
James H. Ragan performing some of the NASA tests on the Speedmaster.
The Speedmaster was the only watch to pass the months of rigorous testing and was commissioned by NASA for their space missions. It was was present and clearly able when the first steps on the moon were taken on 21/07/1969 and has accompanied astronauts on the Apollo and Gemini programs.
“One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” … and a definite win for Omega.
Speedmaster very much on display on the extra long Velcro “spacesuit” strap which is still included in the modern box set for those feeling particularly adventurous.
Unfortunately a mystery surrounds Buzz Aldrin’s Moonwatch (ST105.012) as it was stolen in transit to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. where the watch was set to be permanently exhibited. A team of transport carriers were contracted under a special order from NASA to deliver the watch to the museum safely but it never made it to its destination. NASA was rightly furious over this and requested the handover of ALL Speedmaster’s used on the moon landing mission. Aldrin later commented that he was saddened about this as he knew that his team mates were very fond of their watches and enjoyed wearing them as souvenirs of their mission. Armstrong had become particularly attached.
Neil Armstrong’s Speedmaster, Serial number 24002981, c/o the Smithsonian. Further images can be seen here – https://airandspace.si.edu/collection-objects/chronograph-armstrong-apollo-11
Buzz. Still a brand ambassador for Omega and a few of his Speedmasters appear regularly on his Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/drbuzzaldrin/?hl=en
The Moonwatch is an absolute icon, and represents excellent value in an increasingly prohibitive watch market. Here at Official we are able to supply one following this link –
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