WATCH OF THE DAY SPECIAL TRIBUTE
THE OMEGA SPEEDMASTER PROFESSIONAL – A LEGEND IS BORN
On October 3 1962, Astronaut Walter Schirra gave the OMEGA Speedmaster its’ first spaceflight on board Mercury VIII completing six orbits round the Earth following which NASA decided that for future Gemini and Apollo missions, their astronauts would require highly accurate, legible, resistant and reliable wrist chronographs. Thus it was that NASA sent a purchaser to Corrigan’s, a reknown Houston retailer of fine watches who returned with a dozen brands for testing.
When their tests finally concluded, NASA drafted a memorandum on March 1, 1965, stating that because of the Speedmaster’s overwhelmingly superior performance and its’ unanimous preference by its' astronauts, it would therefore type classify the OMEGA Speedmaster for issuance to its’ flight crews. The OMEGA Speedmaster was then taken into NASA's inventory.
Till now of course, OMEGA had no knowledge of NASA’s selection of the Speedmaster for its’ missions. Then on June 4 of the same year, Edward White became the first American to perform a walk in space with the Speedmaster strapped to his forearm thus making the Speedmaster the first watch to be worn into the vacuum and extreme temperatures of space. Before that day, it was not known if a watch could withstand these conditions without malfunctioning or even be destroyed. The Speedmaster therefore proved to be the right watch to ensure the success of the mission. When the photographs of the mission were released, Edward White’s timepiece of choice was instantly recognized and confirmed upon further investigations by OMEGA, following which, changes were made to the dial and the Speedmaster Professional came into being.
Now, 118 space missions later, the OMEGA Speedmaster remains the choice of NASA with its' successful use
on extra vehicular activities
to specialized exercises such as closed-loop rendezvous capabilities and stationkeeping techniques
on board the first space station
to the most famous mission of all
and the greatest escape in the face of disaster
In all these moments of history, the watch on the wrist of the astronauts which has largely remained unchanged, is the same one that still to this day takes 14 months to complete, for the manufacture of the 195 separate parts prior to assembly and the 80 hand-held operations to create the main plate.
There is no shortcut to excellence - the OMEGA Speedmaster Professional
Pictures - omegawatches.com, nasa.gov, expeditionexchange.com