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How does Omega Speedmaster become the legendary Moonwatch?

Right on this day, 50 years ago, the Apollo 11 mission was carried out, the Saturn V rocket brought three astronauts to the moon. On the space exploration ship are three brave astronauts, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. On their wrists, the three Omega Speedmaster Professional got on their hands.

Buzz Aldrin on Apollo 11's Lunar Module, photo taken by Neil Armstrong himself.

On July 20, 1969, the moon landing module brought Neil Armstrong and Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin to Ms. Hang's surface, while Michael Collins stayed in the control module. On July 21, 1969, at 2:56 am GMT, Armstrong set foot on the moon and said a famous sentence that every year he listened to and heard again, no need to type again. Not long after that, it was Buzz Aldrin's turn to follow Armstrong's foot.

At that moment, the Speedmaster Profesisonal became the legendary "Moonwatch".

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Years ago, Omega himself did not know which clock model, or rather, the Speedmaster had their serials brought to the moon. Fortunately, Omega has a museum and storage service team working very enthusiastically, and over the past few years, they have been carefully studying the Moonwatch theme.

Let's start with the story of cosmonauts astronauts on the moon, before performing their missions, they "turn" into a watch shop called Corrigan’s Jewelers in Houston, Texas to buy Speedmaster. It is just a gossip. Speedmaster Professional himself went to the moon with Apollo 11 crew as a result of NASA's extremely thorough testing and selection process before. Speedmaster has overcome several other candidates such as Rolex, Breitling, Longines and Hamilton. But before the Speedmaster was chosen by NASA as the standard watch to follow the astronauts on the moon in 1969, it was chosen by astronauts themselves.

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A few years before the Apollo 11 mission took place, more precisely, in 1962, Walter Schirra and Gordon Cooper bought two Speedmaster CK2998 to bring them into space in the mission called Mercury-Atlas 8. It was a session. the second version of the Speedmaster, after the CK2915 "Broad Arrow" was released in 1957.

Sigma 7

On the Sigma 7, performing Mercury-Atlas 8 mission in October 1962, astronaut Walter Schirra wore the Speedmaster CK2998. He is the only person who ever flew the first three American space-inviting ships, Mercury, Gemini and Apollo. Later, the CK2998 was called "The first watch into space" by Omega.

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In the picture below, Schirra's wrist is the CK2998 right after he returned to Earth after completing the Mercury-Atlas 8 mission, holding the phone to speak to the US president on the US Navy's USS Kearsarge. .

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Another photo in NASA's library recorded the training of wearing safety equipment for astronauts before the mission Gemini 6 in 1965. The Speedmaster on Schirra's wrist is still the watch three years ago according to him. into space:

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Select the clock for Gemini and Apollo missions

NASA itself wants to choose a stopwatch to assist astronauts in space missions. They asked a team of engineers to evaluate the performance of the device when leaving the earth. One of the engineers assigned to watch the clock for astronauts is James Ragan. In addition, he was the one who chose the camera to record space images. And also Ragan was the one who asked Paul Fischer to create a pen written by a tiny ball at the tip of the stinger, working with the pressure on the pen. You must know the Fischer Space Pen. It is the story of another day : D

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NASA director Deke Slayton wrote a small note on September 21, 1964, listing his requirements for a watch by the hour. Jim Ragan then sent the information to at least six watch companies to send their products to NASA to choose. Just one month later, although sending information to 10 watch firms, only 4 firms responded NASA: Rolex, Longines-Wittnauer, Hamilton and Omega. Hamilton even sent a tangerine clock, not a wristwatch : D

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Inside the Rolex 6238 and Longines-Wittnauer 235T are the famous Valjoux 72 apparatus. Omega's Speedmaster owns the legendary 321-hour machine, which is the upgraded version of Lemania's movement C27 CHRO. It has code 105.003. Three watches were taken to measure with 11 strict tests.


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105.012-66 and 105.003. Notice the Professional word and the more beveled in the left.

This is considered the 3rd Speedmaster version of Omega, regardless of the slightly upgraded versions like CK2998-3. 105,003 uses baton needles instead of alpha arrows like the previous version, making it easier to read hours. Then it passes all NASA tests. Omega occasionally launches limited version of Speedmaster, the back has the words "Flight Qualified for all Manned Space Missions". That is the official statement of NASA with the Speedmaster.

So what are the 11 tests?

NASA devised a clock test with the aim of trying to destroy the watch in every way possible, simulating the harsh environment outside the universe:

– High temperature test: The clock must operate 48 hours in the environment 71 degrees C, then 30 minutes in the environment 93 degrees C, under the pressure of 5.5 psia (0.35 atm), the humidity is below 15%.

– Low temperature test: 4 hours in a negative temperature of 18 degrees C.

– Temperature – Pressure: The watch was dropped into a 10 ^ -6 atmospheric pressure simulated chamber, temperature 71 degrees C, then reduced to minus 18 degrees C for 45 minutes, then increased to 71 degrees Celsius in 45 another minute. This test is performed 15 times in a row.

– Humidity: Set the meter to 100% oxygen environment, pressure 5.5 psia, temperature 71 degrees C for 48 hours. Any time deviation, signs of burning, toxic gas, smell or broken rubber ring will cause the watch to be disqualified.

– Impact: The clock is affected 6 times, the acceleration of the force is 40 G in 11 milliseconds. A pilot is usually trained at 6G acceleration, while astronauts have to withstand 10G in the training process, while in flight, astronauts have to withstand 8 G acceleration. Ordinary people, 2 to 3 G are enough to make us faint. 1 G takes the unit in terms of the free acceleration of the object on the earth, 9.81 m / s ^ 2, so multiply.

– Acceleration: The device is fed into an accelerator and accelerates from 1 G to 7.25 G in 333 seconds.

– Low pressure: 90 minutes inside vacuum environment, pressure 10 ^ -6 atm, temperature 71 degrees C and 30 minutes at 93 degrees C.

– High pressure: At least 1 hour in a vacuum, 1.6 atmospheres of pressure.

– Anti-vibration: Three turns, every 30 minutes, the watch will be subjected to vibration from 5 to 2,000 cps, average acceleration at least 8.8 G.

– Anti-sound: 30 minutes subject to sound intensity of 130 dB, sound waves range from 40 to 10,000 Hz.


On March 1, 1965, the test ended. Speedmaster 105.003 surpasses the Rolex and Longines to become a watch equipped for astronauts to go out into space in NASA missions. Both the Rolex and Longines were deactivated during the test. The Rolex 6238 stopped running during the humidity test, and continued to fail in the high temperature test. And the Longines 235T has protective goggles when it is testing high temperature.

In late March 1965, two astronauts Virgil Grissom and John Young took Speedmaster 105.003 out of the earth's atmosphere. Also in 1965, Edward White wore the Speedmaster in the mission Gemini IV, first walking in space.


Has 105,003 been the Moonwatch on Armstrong and Aldrin? Not yet. In the 105,003 process produced between 1964 and 1969, Omega introduced two other versions, 105,012 and 145,012. In the process, Omega upgraded the machine from 321 to 861, and that meant NASA had to re-implement all 11 of these tests before leaving it with space explorers to space.

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One mistake of several clock fan brothers is, after NASA completed the Speedmaster test, Omega printed Professional letters on their watch face. Actually since 1964, Speedmaster 105.012 already has this text. The more wiring of the two new watch models is different from 105,003. So on which moon, which Armstrong and Aldrin wore? For many years, everyone believed it to be the 105,012 caliber 321 to put the first human footsteps on the moon, the production version in 1965.

But it hasn't stopped there. Many sources reported that, when the Bulova watch on the Lunar Module stopped working, Armstrong hung his Speedmaster on board to see the time. Aldrin's Speedmaster was lost in 1970 while on his way to the Smithsonian, still unknown.

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One 105.012-65 is like Armstrong and Aldrin,
unfortunately it has no honor to set foot on the moon.

Meanwhile, Michael Collins, the third person on Apollo 11's tour, wore a 145,012, but did not count because he did not set foot on the moon. Later astronaut Alan Shepard also wore the 145,012 in Apollo 14, the third task for humans to set foot on the moon. Finally in 1972, the mission of Apollo 17, Gene German was the last man to walk Hang, and in his hand was the 105,003 that NASA had previously ordered from Omega for many years.

Must also add points for Omega. They worked hard to release the Speedmaster versions to commemorate the space exploration campaigns, from the Speedmaster launched in 1975 to celebrate Apollo-Soyuz's mission, then also to celebrate the mission of Russia and America. , they released another one with meteorite stones. Another one celebrates Omega's day receiving the prestigious NASA, Silver Snoopy Awards for contributing to bringing the Apollo 13 astronauts back to Earth safely thanks to the fuel-stop timing feature. when their ship has trouble with oxygen chamber. Besides, there are many other versions, such as First Watch Worn in Space or First Watch On the Moon … Must be confirmed, they are very beautiful.

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This year, Omega launched two Speedmaster versions to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first human conquest of the moon. Their names are quite easy to mix. The following is the Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Limited Edition, made of steel and imprinted Armstrong climbed out of the Lunar Module to set foot on the moon in the 9-hour corner box, just like images have become symbols :

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The other one is the Speedmaster Apollo 11 Anniversary Limited Edition (no 50th number), based on the first Gold Speedmaster. The gold alloy material called Moonshine makes the new watch of 2019 has pink light, not as yellow as 50 years ago:

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These two gold watches should have been created by Omega to give President Richard Nixon and Vice President Spiro Agnew after their historic mission, but the US constitution does not allow the president to receive gifts from a foreign company (Thuy Sy), and both of these unique Speedmaster are returned to Omega and have been in their museum for half a century in the new condition:

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In the history article asking permission to end, invite you to show off your own Moonwatch image, first: : D

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