FLOWATCHES: “HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEM”
HOW THE OMEGA SPEEDMASTER CHRONOGRAPH SAVED LIVES
two days, seven hours and 55 minutes into Apollo III’s ight to the Fra Mauro crater on the lunar surface, the shuttle’s second oxygen tank exploded. This caused the gradual failure of tank one, which supplied electricity, light and water to the shuttle. In an e ort to put the shuttle back on the right path at the correct angle, Mission ontrol determined a plan that would require 1 seconds of fuel burning for course correction, followed by a free fall return to earth. Since the Alignment Optical Telescope (AOT was out, ommander James Lovell had to use Earth’s horizon and the Sun as an alignment star to guide the cra back on course. Meanwhile, Lunar Module Pilot Fred Haise’s task was to ensure the Lunar Module would not dri sideways, and since the clock on board was not working, John Swigert, the ommand Module Pilot, timed the burn of the rockets using his Omega Speedmaster hronograph. Three hundred and twenty thousand kilometers away from earth, the three astronauts executed this life-saving, precise course correction manually. Although the maneuver was successful, the mission was classi ed as a “successful failure.” Six days into its ight, on April 17 1970, the world watched as the Apollo III crew landed safely in the Paci c Ocean. As a result, in October 1970 ASA presented Omega with the Silver Snoopy Award, a special honor bestowed upon employees and contractors for outstanding achievements related to mission safety and success. In March 2015, paying homage to the 5th anniversary of this historic event, Omega released the “Speedmaster Apollo 13 Silver Snoopy Award” watch in a limited edition of 1,970 pieces. This timepiece tells ust one of the stories of Omega’s dedication to precision and excellence, as well as the brands’ role in space exploration. ith a pricetag of around 7,000 this watch never even made it to the shelves of Omega boutiques; the highly sought a er timepiece was pre-ordered by watch collectors and enthusiasts worldwide before it could be displayed. Let’s take a closer look at the special features of this exceptional wristwatch.