Moonwatch: When Omega Went Interstellar


Words by: JPS for duncan quinn

Prices on vintage Omega Speedmasters have lately gone insanely high –

which is only fitting given how the watch gained its fame. And unlike a Rolex, the Speedmaster was never intended to be a high-end luxury timepiece, but was simply designed to get the job done. Outer space was also not on the agenda when the Speedy debuted in 1957, but certainly became so in 1965 when NASA “picked up a Speedmaster as simply as you do in your local jewelry shop,” as Omega’s ad copy had it not long after it became the first watch on the moon. It became standard issue for astronauts simply because it withstood every test NASA could throw at it.

This made for catchy ad copy especially when accompanying a photo of an astronaut sporting his Speedy in full rig, i.e.: “How can a man in a $27,000 suit settle for a $235 watch?” Of all the Speedmaster variations that followed, the Professional, as worn by Buzz Aldrin when it became the first watch on the moon, has remained the most valuable. A Speedmaster was also the watch of choice by the first men ever to reach the North Polo by land on snowmobiles in 1968. To this day, the Speedmaster remains the only watch certified by NASA for both spaceflight and EVA, or Extravehicular Activity, i.e. spacewalks and moonwalks. And we don’t mean the Michael Jackson kind.

Words by JPS for duncan quinn