OMEGA AND THE WORLD OF SPACE EXPLORATION
It is now 50 years since mankind took its first daring steps onto the moon –a moment that changed history (and the limits of possibility) forever.
HOW OMEGA REACHED THE MOON
Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to walk on the lunar surface onthe 21st of July 1969. Their moonwalk lasted just two and a half hours, but their achievements left a defining footprint on the history of space exploration.
It was during this iconic moment that the OMEGA Speedmaster Professional became the first watch worn on the moon.
The Apollo 11 mission is certainly the mostcelebrated moment in OMEGA’s considerablespace heritage. But the journey toreach that point began more than 10 years earlier, in 1957, when the very first OMEGA Speedmaster was launched.
Thanks to its robust, reliable and easy-to-read design, the Speedmaster became known as the “pilots’ choice” and was adopted bythose in the U.S Air Force. Many of thoseaces became Mercury astronauts in NASA’s first manned space programme and, in 1963, one of those astronauts, Walter Schirra, took his own Speedmaster CK2998 on the Mercury-Atlas 8 mission. Orbiting the Earth six times, his privately-owned model became the first OMEGA watch worn in space.
By 1964, NASA’s space programme was accelerating rapidly and it officially went in searchof one watch that it could rely on for all of itsmanned-missions. Flight Crew Operations Director,Deke Slayton, issued a request for wrist worn chronographs from different watch manufacturersaround the world. Several brands, including OMEGA, submitted their timepieces for the punishing tests – such as thermal, shock, vibration and vacuum examinations amongst others. Only the OMEGA Speedmaster survived these tests and, as a result, it was declared“Flight Qualified for all Manned SpaceMissions” on the 1st of March 1965.