March 10, 2012
Baselworld 2012: Attention all Speedy fans! The First OMEGA in Space has landed. Like so many of my fellow Omega collectors, I love the Speedmaster. It has a glorious history and has the honor of passing the rigorous testing at NASA and being the watch worn on the moon, thus earning the nickname “Moon watch”.
Most watch fans know about the rigorous testing that led to the OMEGA Speedmaster being approved for NASA on all its manned missions from 1 March 1965. Did you know that some two and a half years earlier, astronaut Wally Schirra had already worn his own Speedmaster in space? A new watch commemorates a historic chronograph.
So much has been written about the rigorous testing that led to the OMEGA Speedmaster’s being the only watch qualified for every manned NASA mission that it is easy to forget that the very first OMEGA worn in space was the Speedmaster that astronaut Wally Schirra wore during his Mercury Atlas 8 mission in October of 1962. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first Speedmaster to orbit the earth, OMEGA has created the Speedmaster “First OMEGA in Space” in honour of Wally Schirra and his historic wristwatch.
The Speedmaster “First OMEGA in Space” edition recalls the watch that Schirra bought at a jeweller in Houston more than half a century ago. Inside its 39.70 mm polished, brushed stainless steel case is the legendary self-winding calibre 1861, which earned its reputation as the movement in the legendary OMEGA Speedmaster Moonwatch. It also has the black aluminium bezel ring with a tachymetric scale that has long been associated with the classic Speedmaster.
Visible through its box-form, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal is the classic varnished black dial that for 55 years has made the Speedmaster the world’s definitive chronograph: the 30-minute and 12-hour counters are located at 3 o’clock and 6 o’clock respectively and the small seconds sub-dial is at 9 o’clock. It has white transferred indexes; the hour markers and hour and minute hands are coated with Super-LumiNova.
The watch has a screw-in stainless steel caseback which is embossed with OMEGA’s original seahorse emblem, the words “THE FIRST OMEGA IN SPACE” and “OCTOBER 3, 1962”, the date of the Mercury Atlas 8 mission. The Speedmaster “First OMEGA in Space” is a numbered edition and its number is engraved on the caseback.
The Speedmaster “First OMEGA in Space” chronograph is presented on a brown leather strap with beige stitching. The watch is water resistant to 50 metres / 167 feet / 5 bar. This classic Speedmaster is a fitting way to celebrate the beginning of an adventure that would ultimately lead to six lunar landings and half a century of space exploration.
words by James Bond