It is now 50 years since mankind stepped onto the moon and changed history forever. On this golden anniversary, OMEGA is looking back on its own special role aboard Apollo 11 and the Moonwatch legacy that still inspires the brand today.
To celebrate this momentous event, Omega distributors worldwide simultaneously held a commemorative exhibit. At the Omega Apollo 11 Speedmaster exhibit at the Podium in Ortigas Center, the historical notes cited Omega’s long history as National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)’s official timepiece. It shows that in 1965, the Genini 3, the first manned mission to orbit Earth, carried the Omega Speedmaster. Edward White wore the Speedmaster when he became the first astronaut to walk in space in the Gemini 4 mission.
Managing Director of Lucerne, Omega’s distributor in the country, Emerson Yao shared how the watchmaker undertook stringent tests to qualify as NASA’s official timepiece.
In 1964, NASA had written watch companies requesting a quotation for their chronograph – a watch with timer functions. Companies did not know what the watches would be used for. Only four responded, including Omega. NASA engineer James Ragan tested the watches in various conditions – extreme heat and cold, extreme pressures, high oxygen environments, high humidity, temperature cyclin in vacuum, different variations in G-force conditions, and high-decibel environments. And in all these tests, only the Omega Speedmaster made the cut. Throughout the space missions, the watch not only kept the earth time, but was also used as back-up
Yao cited Omega’s pivotal role as portrayed in the Oscar’s Best Picture nominee “Apollo 13” starring Tom Hanks. When the Apollo 13 mission had to stop midstream, the crew used their Omega watches to time the 14 seconds required for the fuel burn-off that would allow their reentry into earth.
Omega has come up with three commemorative editions. The first is the 18-k gold Speedmaster Professional Chronograph, a remake of the watch given the astronauts and then President Richard Nixon. It was later referred to as the Moonwatch.
The second watch is made of stainless steel with he vintage Omega logo. At the nine-o’clock position, the seconds sub-dial is engraved with an image of Aldrin leaving the Lunar Lander. The casebook is engraved with a partial footprint of the lunar moon landing.
The third commemorative Apollo 11 Speedmaster is designed with a platinum cap and sundials echoing bits of the lunar meteorite and the revival of the Calibre 321 movement, a mid-century model known for its endurance.
The local launch is in line with Omega’s worldwide strategy of tapping the millenial and Gen Z influencers that depict the same adventurous spirit as the Apollo 11.
The Omega commemorative exhibit runs through this week at the Lumina Lobby, The Podium, Ortigas.
Over the past 35 years, Lucerne has grown to be The Philippines’ premier purveyor of luxury Swiss watches. From a single store in Ali Mall in 1982, Lucerne has greatly expanded, now comprising five showrooms in Glorietta 4, Shangri-La Mall, Ayala Center Cebu, Solaire Resort & Casino, and the latest, Shangri-La at The Fort. Lucerne also operates mono-brand boutiques such as Rolex, Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, IWC, Panerai, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Omega, Hublot, Chopard and Breitling.