Omega Speedmaster Pro: Celebrating the Moon Watch
Updated: May 24
Fifty years ago man walked on the moon for the very first time.
An estimated 530 million people worldwide watched Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and co as they made the historic landing and took "one small step for man".* As Aldrin set foot on the Moon he also created an indelible place in history for one of the most famous watch brands of all time - Omega.
Like his colleagues, Aldrin was wearing his Omega Speedmaster for the journey to the Moon. At the time it was the chosen watch for space travel and remains today the only one approved for Extra Vehicular Activity - space walking, to you and me. Armstrong was not wearing his watch when he became the first man to walk on the Moon because the Lunar Module's electronic timer was reportedly playing up, so he left his on board as a back-up. That seems to me to be an even greater reflection on the watch's reliability.
Today, the Omega Speedmaster Professional is still in production and the back casing carries an engraving which celebrates its role in one of the defining moments of the 21st Century.
The Speedmaster was first developed in the late 1950s as a racing watch and the first model was powered by an Omega Calibre 321 movement. The name comes from the tachymeter scale bezel, which allows the wearer to use it to compute speed. The original Speedmaster model was also a landmark for the Omega range as it established the 12-hour, triple-register chronograph layout.
Today the Speedmaster remains one of the most beautiful watches available on the market. It's Seamaster cousin may have got the nod from style icon and super spy James Bond - appropriately with the character's nautical heritage - but the Speedmaster is a true work of art, an horological brilliance and piece of history.
I have a long-standing personal affinity for the Omega Speedmaster Pro. The one featured in these pictures (scuffs and all) is my personal one. I was given it as a 21st birthday present with the idea that it should be a watch to last me for years to come. In the decade or so since then I have been lucky enough to acquire a few more timepieces, but this one is still my go-to and the pride of my collection.
Here is to a true icon.
* Yes I believe the moon landings happened. But, for those of a more cynical nature, I refer you to the brilliant Robin Ince who summed up why the occasion is worth celebrating either way.