On this week of Watch of the Week (WOTW), we discuss the Omega Speedmaster, and the rich history it holds, as well as why it was such an important milestone in Omegas journey to success. Not only do we discuss the story of the Moonwatch, but we also talk about Buzz Aldrin, Apollo 11 and the role in which it played throughout the mission.
Looking for an Omega Speedmaster? Well look no further, here we highlight the specialities in which it holds, as well as the features it comes equipped with… you won’t be disappointed
THE WATCH: OMEGA SPEEDMASTER MOONWATCH PROFESSIONAL
What makes the Omega Speedmaster special?
This watch was worn in all 6 lunar missions, and is most commonly seen being worn by the infamous Buzz Aldrin on the Apollo 11 mission, making it the first watch to ever be worn on the Moon. The Omega Speedmaster is one of, if not the best story influenced watches on the planet. The achievement meant that Omega gained huge popularity, and actually received awards such as the silver snoopy award – an award which honours that of human flight safety or mission success.
Having a timekeeping device that can withstand different pressures, and conditions than that on Earth, is something only the best can achieve – and that’s what Omega proved to the world. Not only that, but to create the watch in such style and elegance all whilst holding incredible functionality is a hard challenge to beat. The timepiece will be looked upon as one of the greatest for many decades to come.
What features does the Omega Speedmaster have?
Holding a manual winding calibre 1861 movement allows for unmatched accuracy and reliability when it comes down to the precision as well as the longevity of the movement. Although you might have to wind the watch every now and then, it would be surprising for it, not to last for decades and decades to come.
The stainless steel case and bracelet ensure you of the high quality materials used throughout. Not only that, but it allows you to understand the robustness and durability in which the watch holds – perfect for exploring… I mean it’s been on the moon, I’m sure it can handle a hike or two.
Having a water resistant depth of 50m, leaves you with full confidence that you can take this watch to new depths and explore things you’ve never even seen before. 50m is about 164 feet, which is pretty deep, so unless you’re trying to break records underwater, you’re good to go.
The power reserve of 48 hours, means you don’t have the hassle of winding the watch for at least two days after you’ve wound it. This allows for the sophisticated man who is always on the go… to always be on the go.
WHAT WAS THE APOLLO 11 MISSION?
The Apollo 11 mission was brought to life when John F. Kennedy announced a national goal – which was to perform a lunar landing and return to Earth all whilst a crew was on board. John F. Kennedy announced, what was going to be one of humans greatest achievements on the 25th May, 1961.
There were many flight objectives, as you’d expect on a mission of this status. Some of which, included the gathering of lunar surface material samples, in order to bring back to earth. As well as a television camera that would transmit signals back to Earth. These were just two objectives out of a plethora of others, in which the crew set out to complete.
Apollo 11 launched from Cape Kennedy on July 16th, 1969. The crew which was onboard, totalled to 3 people – Commander Neil Armstrong, Command module pilot Michael Collins and Lunar module pilot ‘Buzz’ Aldrin, who’s real name is Edwin. Buzz is the pilot wearing the Omega Speedmaster in the famous photos, which is displayed widely across the internet.
The flight took around 4 days to reach the lunar surface – at 75 hours during the flight, they had entered the moons orbit. At around 100 hours, Neil Armstrong had to maneuverer their descent, as they were heading towards a crater. After he successfully landed the craft, it was at about 102 hours into the mission, when Armstrong reported “The Eagle has landed”. This was a historic moment for the human race, with over 650 million people watching live.
Moving onward by about 6-7 hours (109 hours into the mission), Neil Armstrong had the pleasure of being the first man to step on the moon, and as he did, he reported back “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind”. Buzz Aldrin followed about 19 minutes later, and was the first man to step foot on the lunar surface, whilst wearing the Omega Speedmaster. A true historic moment, and one which further pushed Omega to break more boundaries down the line.
WHO WAS EDWIN EUGENE ALDRIN JR. (BUZZ ALDRIN)?
Buzz Aldrin was born on January 20th,1930 in Glen Ridge, New Jersey. An astronaut who made three spacewalks as pilot of the Gemini 12 mission, which took place in 1966, and as the Lunar module pilot for the Apollo 11 mission, which took place in 1969.
Edwin graduated third in the class from his United States Military Academy class, in 1951 – he had now secured a degree in mechanical engineering. Following his success from the Academy, he then joined the United States Air Force, and completed 66 combat missions during the Korean War as a jet fight pilot – shooting down two MiG-15 aircraft (developed by Mikoyan-Gurevich, for the Soviet Union).
He then went on to earn a doctor of science in Astronautics, which he completed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. From here, he was chosen to be apart of NASA’s Astronaut group 3, which made him the first astronaut to hold a doctoral degree.
HOW DID THE MOONWATCH HELP DURING APOLLO 13?
Two days into the Apollo 13 mission, an oxygen tank exploded which damaged the service module beyond repair. This module was extremely important, function wise for the command module (which was occupied by the crew). They then had to loop around the moon, which would have been a hard pill to swallow, as they were supposed to make contact with the lunar surface. Although in saying this, I’m sure they just wanted peace of mind that they were going to be safe, as I’m sure anyone would.
Following a loop around the moon, they then had the mission of landing back on Earth safely. After all the complications they had just had, they were then told that they were off course by about 60-80 nautical miles. This meant that the angle that they were projecting would have ended catastrophically.
Being stuck inside the Lunar module made things worse, as it is a pod which is only meant to land on the moon, and could only allow for two people to survive for two days, not three people for four days, so the time was ticking. In order to preserve energy, they shut down nearly everything, including the cabin clock.
Lovell as well as, ‘Jack’ Swigert, Command Module pilot, and Fred W. Haise, Lunar Module pilot had to manually position the course of the module correctly in order to land safely. Each of them had their own task when returning back, and Swigert was in control of the burn intervals of the rockets. However they didn’t have the clock on board, so he used the Omega Speedmaster. Mission control, worked out 14 seconds was the amount of time the fuel needed to be burnt, and so they did exactly that.
You may think that the Moonwatch didn’t really have a big role to play, but in actual fact, it was crucial to time that perfectly, and with it being the only timekeeping device they had available, it’s safe to say that the watch deserved the Silver Snoopy award.