What signifies the ultimate vintage wristwatch? It would need to be indestructible, waterproof, have high-grade steel, exceptional movement and sound. In 1957 however the Omega Speedmaster Moon Watch was required by NASA to be “Space Proof. Flight Qualified by NASA for all Manned Space Missions” the Omega Speedmaster Moon Watch was sourced by NASA as a watch that was tested to withstand the rigor of space, and in 1957 they paid a retail price of $82.50 for each astronaut to wear own one.
Moon Watch Facts from the Omega Website - “The certification process assures that the watch can perform and not self-destruct in the vacuum of space. With pressure variances and temperature extremes, watch components may expand, rupture, or crack causing a potential hazard to the crew.”
The first Omega Speedmaster wristwatches were given to the Gemini-Titan III crew starting with Grissom and Young. Officially making the Speedmaster regulation equipment for astronauts. In space the Speedmaster had to be worn outside of the spacesuit, held on with long black Velcro. And as history recorded, Edward White of Gemini IV was the first to exit the space capsule with the Speedmaster on, which made him the first American to walk in Space.
Later on July 21st 1969 all eyes were glued to their TV sets as Apollo 11 touched down on the moon. And Americans Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin lowered themselves off of the lander while we heard Neil Armstrong say “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
The Moon Watch made history again in April of 1970 when it was used in an emergency to time the secondary rocket that would bring the damaged Apollo 13 safely back to Earth. The on-board computerized timing devices were unresponsive and the Omega Speedmaster was the only means to ensure measured burn times.
To this day the Speedmaster Moon Watch is known as most thoroughly tested watch in history. And it was used by NASA during: Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, Apollo-Soyuz and later in the Space Shuttle missions. And is still available to buy from Omega 40 years later.
Finding a vintage Omega Moonwatch from 1957 is not impossible but it is expensive. And at $4500 for one, consider late 1960s or 1970s Speedmasters, you can still get one second hand just without the astronomical price-tag. Unless you have your heart set on a 1957 vintage Speedmaster, the later years are still cheaper than buying one new.
For “extravehicular” space activity or simply having historic vintage wristwatch, the Omega Speedmaster Gemini-Titan III Moon Watch is one of a kind. Good luck finding a vintage Speedmaster, you might never take it off.
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