One of the most historical watch models, the Omega Speedmaster is considered a must-have in a versatile watch collection. NASA chose the Speedmaster to accompany the astronauts on the Gemini and Apollo missions to space. The model was amongst six other watch models being considered in 1964 and survived the following rigorous testing:
1. High temperature: 48 hours at a temperature of 160°F (71°C) followed by 30 minutes at 200°F (93°C).
2. Low temperature: 4 hours at a temperature of 0°F (-18°C).
3. Temperature-Pressure: 15 cycles of heating to 71°C for 45 minutes, then cooling to -18°C for 45 minutes at 10−6 atm.
4. Relative humidity: 240 hours at temperatures varying between 68°F and 160°F (20°C and 71°C) in a relative humidity of at least 95%.
5. Oxygen atmosphere: 48 hours in an atmosphere of 100% oxygen at a pressure of 0.35 atm.
6. Shock: Six shocks of 40 G, every 11 milliseconds in duration, in six different directions.
7. Acceleration: From 1 G to 7.25 G within 333 seconds, along an axis parallel to the longitudinal spacecraft axis.
8. Decompression: 90 minutes in a vacuum of 10-6 atm at a temperature of 160°F (71°C) and 30 minutes at 200°F (93°C).
9. High pressure: 1.6 atm for a minimum of one hour.
10. Vibration: Three cycles of 30 minutes vibration varying from 5 to 2000 Hz.
11. Acoustic noise: 130 DB over 40 to 10,000 Hz, duration 30 minutes.
The test results were completed on March 1, 1965, and only the Omega Speedmaster passed. At the time, NASA's testers wrote, "Operational and environmental tests of the six selected chronographs have been completed; and, as a result of the test, Omega chronographs have been calibrated and issued to three members of the Gemini Titan III crews."
But it's essential to include that before the Gemini mission, The Mercury space program was a solo flight completed three years prior by astronaut Wally Schirra. On this flight, Wally wore his Speedmaster ref. CK 2998 on his Mercury flight on October 3, 1962. This is the first instance of the Speedmaster in space before the well-known Apollo and Gemini missions that would make the Omega model famous.
Aside from history, the Speedmaster would become a fashion icon worn by George Clooney, James Corden, Daniel Craig, Ron Howard, and Tom Hanks. And Im pretty sure there are many others that I missed that have also added this Omega to their collection.
But why is the model so crucial to the culture of watches?
It is a treat that a prestigious watch brand like Omega teamed up with Swatch to replicate their most sought-after model at a price point affordable by the mass. Another critical thing to note is the watch is not a limited edition. It will continue to be made for watch enthusiasts and admirers alike, which now levels the field where watch enthusiasts from a luxury standpoint and those from a much lower price point finally meet.
Although we would like to give all the credit to Omega and Swatch for making this happen, this model and shift wouldn't be possible without Bioceramic. The material is a blend of ceramic and bio-sourced plastic. Hence the cheaper price point. As Swatch states on their website:
"What takes this collection into orbit is the fusion of the most innovative Swatch BIOCERAMIC material with the key OMEGA Speedmaster Moonwatch design elements. There's the asymmetrical case, the iconic 'dot over ninety' detail on the tachymetric scaled bezel, and the distinctive Speedmaster subdials."
The big question is, how do you feel about the MoonSwatch? Is it a model you will add to your collection? If so, which colorway are you more in favor of?