To the Moon and Back

The watch that has spent time on that huge hunk of cheese in space turns sixty.

Esquire (Philippines) - - STYLE - BY CLIF­FORD OLANDAY


Speed­mas­ter a spot in the pan­theon of Great­est Watches Ever. In 1969, as­tro­nauts Neil Arm­strong and Buzz Aldrin ar­rived on the sur­face of the moon, be­com­ing the first men to set foot upon the dusty rock. On their wrists were Speed­mas­ters, the only watch that NASA ap­proved for the his­toric jour­ney. From that mo­ment, the chrono­graph has been linked to ce­les­tial voy­ages, hav­ing been the model worn on many other moon mis­sions, and then some.

This year, the Speedy turns sixty. That’s six decades of ex­plo­ration marked by rare edi­tions, pro­to­types, and trib­ute mod­els. Most of them riffed off the theme of the moon, while oth­ers were fine ex­am­ples of crazy good de­sign and in­no­va­tion, which is what re­ally counts for you, a man who will not jour­ney to space any­time soon.

Be­yond its lu­nar con­nec­tion, the Speed­mas­ter reached iconic sta­tus be­cause of its de­sign, a com­bi­na­tion of twisted lugs, tachymeter scale, domed glass, and baton hands, all of which re­sults in some­thing dis­tinc­tive yet time­less. Here, a few of Speedy’s great­est hits, from the the first Speed­mas­ter in 1957 to its new race-in­spired model from this year.

1957 BROAD AR­ROW The wide ar­rows gave the first Speed­mas­ter a dis­tinct look. This is also the first chrono­graph wrist­watch with its tachymeter scale on the bezel, a fea­ture that makes it eas­ier for race driv­ers to record time.

1959 FIRST OMEGA IN SPACE Even be­fore the moon land­ing, Wal­ter Schirra wore the sec­ond Speed­mas­ter model on the Sigma 7 mis­sion of the Mer­cury pro­gram in 1962. Ob­serve the change of hand style from broad ar­rows to Al­pha and lol­lipop.

1969 COM­MEM­O­RA­TIVE EDI­TION It’s only fit­ting that the watch that cel­e­brates Omega’s space ex­ploits be the first hewn from 18K gold. The bur­gundy bezel is also a rare de­tail.

1965 MOON­WATCH This is the first watch to be worn on the moon and the model that has served on the most lu­nar mis­sions. It’s also the first Speed­mas­ter with an asym­met­ri­cal case.

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