When Neil Armstrong became the first human to step on the Moon on July 21, 1969 at 2.56 GMT, the world rejoiced. Buzz Aldrin was 15 minutes behind him and the Speedmaster Professional became the first watch to be worn on the Moon. Story goes that the tests that NASA performed on the chronographs that were submitted to the agency in 1964 were designed to destroy the watches. In the end, only one watch survived: the Speedmaster.
Since then, the Omega Speedmaster has been the choice of astronauts and space agencies for more than half a century. In fact, it has been associated with some of humankind’s greatest extra-terrestrial adventures and has been one of the most famous chronographs in the world ever since it became the first watch worn on the Moon in July of 1969.
Through the years
The Speedmaster was launched in 1957 but its official space legacy started in 1965, when NASA qualified it for use on its piloted missions. Since then, it has been worn on all six lunar landings and earned the nickname ‘the Moonwatch’. In fact, no other piece of equipment-let alone a watch-can claim to have been used during the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, Soyuz, Salyut, Space Shuttle, MIR and International Space Station programmes.
Throughout its legendary history, the Omega Speedmaster has been worn and trusted on all six moon landings. The last of those missions was Apollo 17, which touched down in 1972. For the 45th anniversary, Omega has produced two captivating Limited Edition models which pay tribute to the mission and its Commander, Eugene Cernan. The Apollo 17 mission was commanded by Gene Cernan, who passed away in 2017. Cernan left history’s last footprints on the lunar surface and “05:34 GMT” is printed in red on the dial of each model, indicating the exact time he took the final step.
This Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch ‘Apollo XVII’ is limited to 72 pieces and commemorates the 45th anniversary of the final moon landing in 1972. The 42 mm 18K yellow gold case features a polished blue ceramic bezel with its tachymeter scale in Omega Ceragold™. The dial is also polished blue ceramic with 18K yellow gold indexes and hour-minute ‘Moon’ hands that are coated in Super-LumiNova. The subdial hands are 18K white or yellow gold and the central chronograph hand is rhodium-plated with a red tip.
‘05:34 GMT’ is printed in red indicating the time of the final step made on the moon while the 9 o’clock subdial is distinguished by a gold representation of the God Apollo, the moon and the number 17.
The watch has a brown leather strap with an 18K yellow gold clasp and is driven by the iconic Omega calibre 1861. The caseback is engraved with ‘45th ANNIVERSARY’, ‘Limited Edition’ and a unique number. It is also mounted with a central 18K white gold Apollo XVII medallion with an embossed eagle, ‘APOLLO XVII’ and ‘a tribute to Gene Cernan’.