Moonwalking with Omega

Posted by Chris on Friday, August 6, 2021

When we were kids, we looked toward the star-speckled night sky and let our imaginations run wild. We dreamed big dreams of going on amazing adventures and experiencing the universe as explorers of the unknown. 

However, there was one fantasy that loomed over all the rest. As the years passed by and life got in the way, that dream, as many tend to do, faded away into the recesses of our minds. 

When Jeff Bezos and his crew launched Blue Origin into space on July 20th, suddenly we felt that childhood aspiration become reignited. There, on our screens, was our inspiration, our holy grail. We watched the gears of adventure clicking and whirring and propelling the pinnacle of human ingenuity once again. We decided it was time to make our dreams into reality. 

That dream, of course, was to have our very own Omega Speedmaster.

The Blue Origin crew were all proudly showing off their custom Speedmaster Moonwatches to the press, having been gifted them by Omega. They smiled and posed, clearly thinking only about those amazing Swiss luxury treasures strapped over the sleeves of their space suits.  

The reporters kept talking about something like flying to space or whatever. But we knew, and so did Bezos and crew, that the real story was right there on their wrists with those gleaming hesalite crystals and custom engraved casebacks. It was nothing less than inspiring.  

So what did we do? We buckled ourselves into spaceship Watchmaxx and fired up all engines. Our Mission was to gather up all of the Speedmaster Moonwatches we could find so that we could share the dream with everybody else. 

Now we have the pleasure of offering a whole fleet of Omega’s most out-of-this-world watches to our customers at amazing prices.  We saved a few pieces for ourselves, of course. 

What Makes a Moonwatch?

Pre-Moon

In the early 1960s, when things were heating up with the space race, NASA realized they had a bit of a problem. Their astronauts needed a way to keep time and display their amazing taste in luxury watches to the cosmos, but your everyday average chronograph simply wouldn’t survive the rigors of space flight. 

So, the space agency put out a call for a chronograph that astronauts could bring with them beyond the atmosphere. The biggest names in watchmaking submitted their very best pieces. Rolex, Omega, Longines-Wittnauer, and even Hamilton all put their best foot forward. 

NASA gathered the submitted chronographs and put them through a rigorous gauntlet of testing. The watches had to survive conditions like spending 48 hours at 160°F, 4 hours at 0°F, temperature cycling in near-vacuum, multiple 11 ms 40 g shocks from various directions, and on and on. 

When the smoke had cleared, the Omega Speedmaster emerged as the victor, having survived the entire battery of tests while remaining within a 5 seconds per day rate of accuracy. 

In 1965, the first official qualified Speedmasters were worn by Gus Grissom and John Young on the Gemini 3 mission. Later that year, Ed White made America’s first spacewalk with Omega’s astronomical chronograph strapped to his space suit. 

Moon Landing

In 1969 Apollo 11 made history by landing on the moon, and the Omega Speedmaster was set to become the first watch ever worn on an extraterrestrial body. 

However, commander Neil Armstrong had a problem. The lunar module’s electronic timer had malfunctioned and he had to leave his Omega inside as a backup. The whole mission was in jeopardy! 

Then strode out renowned luxury watch hero Buzz Aldrin, his Speedmaster displayed proudly for all to see. The day was saved. 

Two important milestones occurred during that fateful moon landing. First, America was able to show the entire universe just how great our taste is when it comes to top-quality Swiss timepieces. Second, the Speedmaster transformed into the Moonwatch. 

Mr. Aldrin had this to say about his history-making watch-clad moonwalk: 

It was optional to wear while we were walking on the surface of the Moon ... few things are less necessary when walking around on the Moon than knowing what time it is in Houston, Texas. Nonetheless, being a watch guy, I decided to strap the Speedmaster onto my right wrist around the outside of my bulky spacesuit.” [source: Wikipedia]

Why We Love Moonwatches

When you wear a Moonwatch, you’re not just wearing luxury, you’re wearing a story. Behind that piece on your wrist is a tale of struggle and triumph and the progress of humanity. 

Look, we know that sounds like something out of Omega marketing material, but there’s no denying the tugging of that history when you wear one of these watches. They have a heft that goes far beyond the weight of the material. It truly feels like you have something special strapped to your arm. 

On top of that is the quality of the watches. Simply put, every minuscule component of a Moonwatch is perfectly crafted and assembled. You would need a microscope to find a flaw in the build. 

Which makes sense, considering the pedigree. 

Lastly, but certainly not least, they just look amazing. It’s easy for top-tier luxury watches to start to look kind of...samey, as they’re often striving for a classic aesthetic. Not Moonwatches, though. These are some of the most recognizable chronographs out there. Though there are multiple variations, they all carry with them a hint of moon lander chic that can be instantly spotted. 

Let’s explore the Moonwatch aesthetic by looking at a classic model and then two more modernized takes on the aesthetic.

The Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch Master Chronometer 

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This is very similar to the original Moonwatch, both in look and functionality. The first thing you might notice is that the crystal is domed. Not only that, but it’s made out of hesalite rather than sapphire. 

“What the heck is hesalite?” you might be asking. Well, it’s a malleable sort of plexiglass that can be polished with a light abrasive to gain a beautiful light transmission property. 

Every Speedmaster that went to outer space had a hesalite crystal rather than glass or sapphire. The lore states that NASA preferred hesalite because, if it broke, it would simply crack rather than shatter into a bunch of sharp pieces of glass that would then be floating around in zero gravity. 

Oh, and speaking of keeping with tradition, this Moonwatch is also manually wound. When NASA first adopted the Speedmaster as their official timepieces, automatic movement wasn’t really a thing yet. 

We find the idea of wearing basically the same watch that the 1960s astronauts were wearing to space a romantic notion. However, we understand if others might prefer more modernized conveniences. Luckily, there are Moonwatches for those people too. 

The White Side of the Moon and the Dark Side of the Moon

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We know, you probably need a minute to take these in. Beautiful, right? 

While there are other Moonwatches that feature things like automatic movement and sapphire crystal, we wanted to show off the most dramatic of the bunch. 

The aesthetics of this pair are simply breathtaking. The White Side of the Moon looks like it belongs with a classic space suit, especially in the way the white leather strap catches the light. The dial (we almost called it the instrument panel) features two subdials, as opposed to the three on the classic iteration. 

The Dark Side of the Moon is identical in every way except the aesthetic is, well, dark. It’s like looking out the window of a space shuttle and trying to make out the features of a passing asteroid, all shadows and canyons. 

If we had to go to space, we’d take one of each to make sure that we’re ready for whatever the situation calls for. 

Moonwatches at WatchMaxx

So now you’re thinking, “Oh wow, I want an Omega Moonwatch more than I’ve probably ever wanted anything!” 

We don’t blame you. Wearing a Moonwatch is like, well, walking on the moon. Everything feels lighter and time seems to slow down when you’re looking at that beautiful dial. 

Well you’re in luck. Like we said at the beginning, we went out and acquired a whole bunch of brand new Moonwatches that are available for purchase right now

Now is the perfect time to get your hands on one of these storied masterpieces so you can finally radio Houston and say “mission accomplished!”

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