A MASTER OF THE REALMS
With a history of precision timekeeping that goes back to 160 years, Omega has consistently catered to the distinctive needs of various corporations, professional associations, sports bodies and, of course, the who’s who of the world. Be it the conquest of the highest peaks, or setting of deep-sea diving records, or exploring the unknown realms of the heavens, Omega watches have not just proven themselves worthy of these feats, but have also emerged unscathed from the most gruelling tests and the most challenging environments. This is because all Omega watches go through factory tests far tougher than they are likely to meet in later life. A case in point is the Omega Speedmaster Chronograph, the only watch to be flight-qualified by NASA for use by astronauts on all manned space missions, including the momentous conquest of the moon in 1969.
For the Omega Speedmaster Chronograph, the journey from the factory in Switzerland to the moon meant an intervening six weeks of unrelenting torture at the NASA labs, where the watch was repeatedly plunged from sub-zero temperatures to searing heat, from sudden vibrations to accelerations of 15G, drastic changes in pressure and other such monstrosities. As the only watch among several others to survive these tests, the Omega Speedmaster Chronograph was declared operational for space exploration and chosen by NASA for the ultimate test: the journey to the moon and back. The rest is history.
With the conquest of the moon, the Omega Speedmaster went down the annals of space exploration as ‘the moon watch’ and became a vital part of every Apollo craft, including Apollo 13, where a
life-threatening situation forced the astronauts to depend on their Omegas to time the firing of the re-entry rockets.
Interestingly, all these watches were no special editions built exclusively for space missions, but standard, run-of-themill pieces available at stores—a fact that went on to prove that every Omega was an embodiment of the expertise, the painstaking craftsmanshiphip and sheer reliability that made the brand worthy of spacece missions and other challenges.
Yet another validation of Omega’sa’s seemingly exaggerated claims came when it becameecame a part of the successful docking of the Apolloollo and Soyuz craft in 1975, which brought together American astronauts and Russian cosmonauts osmonauts in space. As a part of this mission, Omega was reassuringly able to meet et the requirements of extreme precision, on, synchronization and reliability that made the mission successful.
Scores of successful space missions ons and several moon landings later, the e Speedmaster line continues to keep its glorious legacy alive by adding new ew members that come as modern renditionsditions of the qualities that once earned it the ‘moon watch’ sobriquet. Among the latest of these are the ‘Speedmaster Master Chronometer ometer Chronograph Moonphase’ and the ‘Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon’ watches.
The Speedmaster Master Chronometerometer reflects the ‘moon watch’ legacy of the line with a detailed, high resolution image of the moon on its blue sun- brushed dial. As a master chronometer, it boasts a Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology (METAS) certification, and, true to its name, displays the phases of the moon with amazing accuracy, thanks to Omega’s obsession for precision mechanisms. Despite the challenges of indicating the 29.5 days of the exact lunar month by means of a gear train, while also taking into account the moon’s wobbles, the Speedmaster Master Chronometer’s moon phase indication requires adjustment once every 10 years. Among the model’s other striking features include a revolutionary 9904 movement, two subdials, a stainless steel case, a ceramic bezel and a Liquidmetal® coated tachymetre scale.
The Dark Side of the Moon timepiece celebrates the first sighting of the dark side of the moon by the Apollo 8 astronauts. The model sports a black zirconium oxide ceramic dial with striking 18-carat white gold ‘Moonwatch’ style hands and two ceramic sub-dials at 3 and 9 o’clock. The most defining feature of the watch, however, is a matt chromium nitride tachymeter scale on a polished ceramic bezel and a ceramic case that houses the OMEGA Co-Axial calibre 9300. A ceramic case-back and a matching coated nylon fabric strap complement the ‘dark side of the moon’ theme of thethe model.
Omega celebrating the 60th anniversary of the iconic Speedmaster watch at a recently held star-filled ‘Lost in Space’ themed evening in London with guests of honour George Clooney and Buzz Aldrin in attendance
From left: Speedmaster Master Chronometer Chronograph Moonphase and Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon watches