time & spaceThe Omega Speedmaster Moonphase Co-Axial Master Chronometer and these other beautiful watches were inspired by nothing else than the moon
Omega Speedmaster Moonphase Co-Axial Master Chronometer
Only one mechanical wristwatch took part in the first Apollo moon landing: the Omega Speedmaster Professional. That it got so far can be credited to the Sputnik Crisis – the launch of the first Soviet satellite, Sputnik 1, on October 4, 1957, shook the US into kickstarting the Space Race.
The Speedmaster Professional was a racing chronograph, but when the newly formed NASA needed a standard-issue watch for its space programme, it devised a series of ruthless tests – extreme Gs, severe temperatures, shocks and noise – in pursuit of the right stuff.
On July 20, 1969, Buzz Aldrin was the first man to step out onto the moon wearing one; Neil Armstrong had left his in the lunar module as a back-up to a faulty electronic timer. Ironically, neither featured the inscription seen on subsequent models: ‘The First Watch Worn On The Moon’; and no classic version has ever displayed a moon – until the new Speedmaster Moonphase.
With its Liquidmetal tachymeter, anti-magnetic housing and exacting Master Chronometer movement, it can track the lunar cycle precisely for at least 10 years – surely enough to pass NASA’s requirements with flying colours.
A lunar month isn’t 30 days, but more precisely 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes and 2.8 seconds. Look closely and you’ll see an astronaut’s footprint on the moon phase every cycle.
moonstruck: More lunar-themed timepieces