In 1957 Omega introduced a trio of professional watches: a diver’s watch, an antimagnetic watch, and a sturdy chronograph. The latter was intended for race car drivers and thus required a suitable name. The Speedmaster designation won out over contenders like Chromaster and Flightmaster. The Speedmaster was the first chronograph to move the tachymeter scale from the dial to the bezel, single-handedly giving birth to the sports chronograph category.
In the early 1960s, American astronauts requested NASA to provide them with watches for flight use. The request was denied and in 1962 a group of astronauts privately purchased Speedmasters to wear during the Mercury program space flights. Two years later, NASA changed its mind and issued an official request to dozens of watch manufacturers to submit highly durable and accurate chronographs for use by Gemini and Apollo flight crews. Only four brands answered the call: Rolex, Hamilton, Longines-Wittnauer, and Omega.
The candidate watches were put through a slew of gruelling internal tests by NASA, among which a high temperature test, low temperature test, vacuum test, humidity test, corrosion test, shock-resistance test, acceleration test, low pressure test, high pressure test, vibration test and sound test.
The Omega Speedmaster was the only one to successfully pass all the hurdles and was declared “flight qualified for all manned space missions” by NASA in March 1965. Ever since, the Speedmaster has accompanied NASA astronauts on all orbital and lunar missions.
Omega has stuck with the Speedmaster Professional’s winning formula for over 60 years now, introducing only subtle changes to further strengthen an already sturdy toolwatch. Whether you go for a vintage or a modern one, you’ll always get the classic Moonwatch look. Now that is truly timeless.