Chronograph watch: The OMEGA Speedmaster, which has been in space

The Omega Speedmaster was the watch that witnessed the first moon landing in human history.

The first page in OMEGA's history began in 1848, when watchmaker Louis Brandt opened a watch workshop in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland.

About 150 years have passed since then.

They have released many masterpieces into the world, such as the Constellation and Seamaster.

Among all the OMEGA watches, I think most people would say this is the one that represents them the most.

The watch was created in 1957.

And then, in 1969, mankind landed on the moon for the first time.

This was the clock that was ticking right beside us at that most precious and dramatic moment in the world.

That was the Speedmaster.

The Omega Speedmaster chronograph that went into space

July 20, 1969.

Apollo 11 successfully landed on the moon.

At that moment, Armstrong said, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind," and people all over the world were thrilled.

And the OMEGA Speedmaster was there to watch over this historic achievement.

But why did NASA choose the Speedmaster to partner with mankind's first moon landing?

There's an interesting story behind why NASA chose the Speedmaster as their official watch.

At that time, NASA staff were walking around the city of Houston in the United States looking for watches to equip their astronauts with, and they purchased some of the watches.

Every watch you purchase is sent for testing.

The tests simulated outer space and checked high pressure, zero gravity, shock, vacuum, and temperature changes from as low as minus 18 degrees to as high as plus 93 degrees.

Even in these extremely harsh tests, the Speedmaster maintained high precision.

In other words, the Speedmaster was not a model made specifically for space flight.

It was just an ordinary, commercially available product that happened to catch the eye of a staff member and was purchased, and so it ended up being adopted as NASA's official watch.

Apollo 11 was not the only space flight in which the Speedmaster took part.

It participated in all subsequent Apollo missions, and was also used in the Skylab mission that followed the Apollo missions.

Among these, the accident on Apollo 13 demonstrated its astonishing power.

Just before landing on the moon, Apollo 13 suffered a fatal accident.

That was in April 1970.

The accident was an oxygen explosion.

All electrical systems on board the spacecraft have failed.

The chances of survival in that condition were less than 10%.

Under those circumstances, the only device that still functioned properly and was capable of measuring the timing of re-entry was the Speedmaster.

The Speedmaster brilliantly managed to pull together that faint thread of possibility.

It was thanks to miracles like these that the watch enjoyed such fame as a Cosmo watch.

Recently, models equipped with many of the functions astronauts need have been released.

That was the Digital Professional X-33, released in 1998.

In this way, the Speedmaster has a deep connection with space.

History of the Omega Speedmaster

Since the first model of the Speedmaster was released,
More than 40 years have already passed.

But even now, there isn't much difference between it and the original model.

As for the hand-wound movement, there has only been one major model change.

I think this shows just how perfect the model was when it was first released.

The first Omega Speedmaster model

The Speedmaster debuted in 1957.

This is a rare model that was only produced for two years after its release.

The current Speedmaster has a diameter of 42 mm, but the first model was slightly smaller at 39 mm.

The tachymeter is engraved directly onto the bezel.

Another unique feature is the upright Omega mark.


It is equipped with a movement with a diameter of 27 mm.

Invented in 1942 by Albert Piguet, a watchmaker at Lemania.
It's 27CHRO C12.

The "27" refers to the diameter size of the movement.

The "12" refers to the 12-hour counter that is installed.

It has a vibration frequency of 18,000 vibrations per hour and is equipped with a pillar wheel.

Movement change

In 1968, the movement was changed and the Speedmaster entered its second generation.

In terms of appearance, the bezel is black and the dial has the word PROFSSIONAL on it.

Furthermore, it even had a crown guard, evolving it into a model closer to the current one.

Cal.861 with improved vibration frequency due to the adoption of a cam mechanism

The pillar wheel that controlled the chronograph in Cal.321 was changed to a cam type.

In order to make it easier to fine-tune, changes are being made such as reducing the number of constituent parts.

The vibration frequency has also increased to 21,600 vibrations.

This caliber was used until 1996.

The Speedmaster today

The basic design of the Speedmaster was already unchanged from the current model when the Reference 105 and 012 were released in 1963.

There are some slight changes to the details, but it's pretty much the same.

Compared to the second generation Speedmaster model released in 1968, there are no significant differences in design.

The back cover is engraved with a sea hole.

Omega Speedmaster Cal.1861 parts changed to rhodium-plated

Cal. 861 was developed with the aim of creating a movement that would not lose its accuracy even when mass-produced.

This is because production numbers have increased.

The idea was to reduce the number of work steps as much as possible.

The basic structures of Cal.861 and Cal.1861 are almost identical.

This caliber was created in 1997 when the parts were changed to rhodium plating.

The History of the Non-Manual Omega Speedmaster

From the first model to the present, the manual-wound Speedmaster models have been continuously produced.

Non-hand-wound models include quartz, automatic, and tuning fork models.

Among them, the Speedmaster, also known as the tuning fork watch, is a model that only appeared briefly in the 1970s and was only produced for a short period of time.

Automatic model Ref.ST376.0804

In 1971, automatic winding was adopted as the Cal.1040 movement.

This was the first automatic Speedmaster.

After that, it changed to Cal.1045 and Cal.1150.

Quartz Ref.ST186.0004

The first quartz model of the Speedmaster was the Cal. 1620 model released in 1977.

Analog-digital television also appeared in 1982, but soon disappeared.

Now, he is active as X-33.

Tuning fork type Ref.ST388.0800

The Speed ​​Sonic was released in 1973 and uses Bulova's tuning fork movement, Cal. 1255.

This became a very rare model, only produced for two years.

OMEGA and Lemania's long relationship

Many of the most prestigious chronograph movement manufacturers have disappeared over the years.

However, there are of course still manufacturers today who continue to produce products with the same unchanging precision.

These include Zenith and Lemania.

When it comes to Lemania, there are the 13CH2P, which has the balance wheel at 6 o'clock, and the CH27, which has the balance wheel at 12 o'clock.

The CH27C12 with a 12-hour counter and the Caliber 1270 series are also famous.

Nowadays, it is used not only by Omega but also by Patek Philippe and others.

Furthermore, the company has earned a reputation as a top-class, prestigious manufacturer capable of producing complicated watches such as tourbillons and minute repeaters.

Lemania was founded in 1884.

The location is L'orient in the Vallée de Joux in Switzerland.

It was founded as the Lemania Watch Company.

In 1932, it became a member of the SSIH group, which includes Omega and other brands.

Using this as a springboard, Lemania would take flight.


Lemania was involved in Omega's project to develop the world's smallest hand-wound chronograph, the 27 CHRO C12.

"27 CHRO C12" refers to a chronograph movement with a diameter of 27 mm. It means that the movement has a 12-hour counter.

And the project was a great success.

This resulted in the birth of Cal. 321, which combines anti-magnetic and shock resistant functions.

The vibration frequency of this Cal. 321 was 18,000 vibrations per hour.

This caliber was initially used in the Seamaster, but its proven track record soon led to it being adopted for the Speedmaster as well.

The company also releases products under its own brand, such as watches for special sports and military use.

After surviving the quartz shock of the 1970s, Lemania left the SSHI Group in 1981, although they maintained a friendly relationship with Omega.

At that time, the company's name was changed to Nouvelle Lemania.

In 1992, the company became part of the Breguet Group.

In addition, in 1999, Breguet was absorbed into the Swatch Group, and Nouvelle Lemania also became an active part of the Swatch Group.

Amazingly, Omega and Lemania are reunited again as one group after a long 20-year gap.

Previous models of the Omega Speedmaster

When comparing the design of the hand-wound Speedmaster between the first model when it was first released and the current model, there is not much difference.

However, it has been about 40 years since his debut.

So far, many variations have been released.

This includes regionally exclusive, limited edition, commemorative models, etc.

Here we will introduce some of these unique and original models.

All of the models are amazing, including those sold exclusively in Germany, TV monitor-shaped cases, and skeleton models.

However, no matter how much you want one, it is now very difficult to get your hands on one of these models.

Introduced in 1969

This is the Speedmaster Professional Mark model, which uses the hand-wound Cal.861.

The design in which the case and lugs are integrated is impressive.

The vibration frequency is 21,600 vibrations per hour.

The use of orange on the hands and the outer edge of the dial is a striking touch.

There are also gold plated models available.

Introduced in 1971

The Speedmaster Professional Mark was introduced in 1971.

The tip of the chronograph hand has a design that resembles an airplane wing.

Additionally, the oval case is unique and striking.

It has a date display, which was a first for the Speedmaster.

The movement used is the automatic Cal. 1040.

This also has the Speedmaster Professional mark, but the design is different.

Its appearance, resembling a television monitor, is unique and an eye-catching design.

This case design was quite popular in the 1970s.

Other features include upright indexes and an in-dial design, making this a unique and playful model.

Above all, this style still looks fresh even today.

Introduced in 1973

This model was produced in 1973 as a limited edition of 2,000 pieces to commemorate Omega's 125th anniversary.

This was OMEGA's first chronometer chronograph.

The uprights feature the Omega emblem, and the dial is engraved with the number "125", the year the watch was founded.

Launched in 1973

The Speedmaster Professional Mark was introduced in 1973.

This movement uses the Cal. 1040, which was used by Mark.

The lower half of the outer perimeter is grey and indicates day/night.

Furthermore, the subdial at 9 o'clock has a short hand that indicates the 24-hour counter and a long hand that indicates the seconds.

The case has a similar feel to the mark.

Introduced in 1974

This model has a calendar that displays the days of the week.

This is one of the variations of the Speedmaster Automatic.

The case is shaped like a television monitor, a design typical of the 1970s.

It also has a 24 hour counter.

Introduced in 1982

This is a very rare German Speedmaster model that was only sold in Germany.

The case is custom made just for this model.

The shape, which looks as if it was carved out of metal, attracted attention as a typically German design.

There is no word "Professional" on the dial.

Introduced in 1984

This is the Speedmaster Professional Mark 5 model, which has a day-date display and uses Cal. 1045.

It was released in 1982 as an automatic version of the German model, a model sold exclusively in Germany.

There is a mark on the dial.

In fact, there is no other model called the Mark; it only refers to this model.

Introduced in 1985

This is the Speedmaster Professional Moonphase, limited to 2000 pieces.

There is a moon phase and date display at 12 o'clock.

In fact, it is possible to fast forward through these displays using the button in the upper left corner.

The location of the inscription "Speedmaster Professional" is also very distinctive.

Introduced in 1992

This is a rare model called the Speedmaster Professional Skeleton, of which only 50 were ever produced.

The reason why there are 50 pieces is because they were produced to commemorate 50 years since the birth of the manual-winding chronograph.

The case is made of 18KYG.

Furthermore, this model uses the Cal.867 movement.

This is a very rare item, with both the front and back made of skeleton.

Introduced in 1998

The Speedmaster X-33, which was released in 1998, was developed in collaboration with NASA.

This is a rare model that is an analog and digital hybrid.

The price is 380,000 yen.

This is a quartz watch equipped with split time, which can measure 1/100th of a second, and a countdown function.

Speedmaster Professional Missions

Released in the same year as the Speedmaster X-33, the Speedmaster Professional Missions was created to commemorate Omega's 150th anniversary.

There are 22 commemorative models featuring the emblems of previous missions, such as Apollo 8 and Gemini 6.

The set includes 23 pieces, including a reproduction of the first model.

Of these, 21 models will subsequently be sold individually.

Introduced in 2000

The Speedmaster "999" is a collaboration between Omega and Japanese anime.

The "Galaxy Express 999" anime model was created through a collaboration with Leiji Matsumoto.

The back even features an illustration of Maetel, making it a model that fans will covet.

Furthermore, each piece has a serial number and is limited to 1,999 units sold in Japan.

The price is 260,000 yen.