MATERIAL: Stainless Steel
The OMEGA Speedmaster is a true icon within horology because it attended one of man’s greatest feats of engineering and innovation that, on the 21st of July, 1969 enraptured over 500 million people worldwide - the Moon landing.
OMEGA has a long history of creating high quality chronographs. From providing British and Italian Air Forces these instruments to aid the timing of their flights, to becoming official supplier of the Olympic Games in 1932. The OMEGA Speedmaster came as a further addition to the company’s expansive history of precision timing.
Released in 1957, the Speedmaster has assisted not only those on land but astronauts attempting one of the most dangerous of missions; man’s exploration away from the safety of Earth and into the great unknown of Space. Furthermore, its sleek black design inspired by the dashboard of Italian sports cars has barely changed since its inception.
It is the only timepiece that has passed NASA’s rigorous testing process for the Apollo Program. Furthermore, it is the only watch flight-qualified for EVA (Extravehicular Activity– the act of leaving the cabin of a space craft). It is also the watch chosen for use in outer space by the Russian space agency NPO Energia.
After being granted such an honour by NASA, in 1965 the term ‘Professional’ was used on the dial and after the Moon landing the case back was engraved ‘Flight qualified by NASA for all manned Space missions. ‘The first watch worn on the Moon’.
The calibre 321 was eventually superseded by the calibre 861, first produced in 1968. The changes were minimal, the main difference being that the column wheel was replaced by a cam. This part of the movement performs vital functions in order for the chronograph to work correctly. The 861 cam was less delicate than the column wheel but performed with just the same efficiency.
Consequently, these alterations have created deviations in the Speedmaster line whereby, pre-Professional dials can be found on Professional style cases and vice versa, creating what has become known as ‘Transitional’ Speedmasters.
Following Formula 1 driver Michael Schumacher’s fifth Formula 1 World Drivers Champion title, won on July 21st 2002 at the French Grand Prix in Magny-Cours, OMEGA produced a limited series of 5,555 special edition Speedmaster wristwatches. These timepieces featured subtle details to pay homage to a man who in that moment joined Formula 1 legend Juan Manual Fangio as five-time winner of such a title for example, on the day wheel the Sunday is written in red which was the day of the race. Additionally, the case bares Michael Schumacher’s signature and the inscription ‘Speedmaster Racing. World Champion 2002’.
- Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace is released in theaters. It becomes the highest grossing Star Wars film until The Force Awakens 16 years later.
- NASA intentionally crashes the Lunar Prospector spacecraft into the Moon, thus ending its mission to detect frozen water on the lunar surface.
- The 1999 UEFA Champions League Final takes place at the Camp Nou Stadium, Barcelona in which the English side Manchester United defeats the German side Bayern Munich 2-1.