With it’s legendary design that ensures stability in space, OMEGA Speedmaster became an essential for astronauts and space exploration institutions since about half a century. OMEGA Speedmaster’s space compatible design that has been under the spotlight since 1962 has an interesting history behind it’s space ventures. Walter “Wally” Schirra and Leroy Gordon “Gordo” Cooper were the first astronauts who personally bought the second generation Speedmaster. It was also “Wally” Schirra who wore his Speedmaster to the Mercy-Atlas 8 mission, making it the first Speedmaster to go into space.
The series’ story with space thus started. When after the Mercury mission the astronauts asked the Operations Manager to be provided with a watch, it was met with great enthusiasm. It was a great opportunity for the engineers who were looking to advance the systems for the upcoming Gemini and Apollo missions. In 1964, Operations Manager Deke Slayton announced the need for a “highly durable and accurate chronograph to be used by Gemini and Apollo flight crews,” and the test for OMEGA then started.
As one can imagine, these tests aimed to evaluate the watch under different pressure, speed, and temperatures. The tough tests that had four different participating watchmakers proved that OMEGA Speedmaster is the most durable in space conditions and was declared by NASA in 1965 that it is “Flight Qualified for all Manned Space Missions.”
The model used after the Mercury mission had only one modification for the Gemini mission which was the replacement of the steel bracelet with a velcro one. While the NASA astronauts on the Gemini mission didn’t neglect to have their Speedmasters on their wrists, the first American to walk in space Edward White also had this model on. Four years later, NASA’s choice for the Apollo mission led by Neil Armstrong was also for OMEGA Speedmaster. Armstrong’s achievement as the first man to step on the moon allowed the model to become the first watch to be worn in space. Playing a crucial role in the calculations to prevent critical engine burns in the 1970 mission of Apollo 13, Speedmaster proved it’s envelope pushing designs true capabilities in space.
Speedmaster is a classic, and not only on earth…