Take a poll amongst wristwatch collectors, and we'd bet the consensus would be that there might be nothing more important or iconic in a watch collection than an Omega Speedmaster.
Sure, chronographs such as the Rolex Daytona or the Heuer Carrera are classics - icons even, but neither can match the stature of the Speedy with regards to importance in history. In fact,arguably no watch can.
This particular Speedy, a Reference 3590.50, might date from the early 1990s but in spirit and aesthetics it has all the elements of a classic Apollo-era watch.
The movement that powers this watch is a variant of the same calibre that powered the watches worn by Jim Lovell and his crew during the harrowing Apollo 13 spaceflight. The case is the same asymmetrical one that has defined the Professional models since the 1960s. Furthermore, the dial uses Tritium luminescent material, and has developed a patina that's as mouth-watering as any Speedy twice its age.
This is an excellent example of a Neo-Vintage Speedy that has character for days while remaining thoroughly modern!
The Speedmaster Story
After touching the lander down on the lunar surface, Buzz Aldrin transmitted to Houston control these words, nary more than a whisper, the first communication between human beings not concurrently on the same planet.
When Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon for the first time, his Omega Speedmaster was in the module serving as a backup for its electric timer that had malfunctioned. It was Aldrin who, following Armstrong to become the second human to walk on the moon, introduced the Speedmaster to the lunar surface.
Today, Omega has become synonymous with the Apollo missions, the moon landing and space exploration in general. The provenance of the brand, driven by the incredible reliability and functionality of the watches that they produced throughout the space era is second to none. But at the heart of the moon missions, at the core of their objective, was the intrinsic human desire to explore, to crest the horizon and, undaunted, step forth into the unknown.
NASA approved the Speedmaster for its space missions because it was the best, most accurate timepiece they could find, and testing revealed that it needed no modification in order to remain functional under the duress of space flight. NASA was concerned with accuracy, durability and usability; they didn't care about Omega's history, they needed a tool that could accompany humans on a mission to the moon and help them get back safely. They exposed the Speedmaster to high and low temperatures, blasted it with vibrations, challenged it with g-force extremes and submitted it to high and low pressure. Through it all, the Speedmaster ticked on, proving that it could go where no watch had ever gone before.
Today the Omega Speedmaster is often regarded by collectors and enthusiasts to be the single most important wristwatch ever made, if for no other reason than that it accompanied us on mankind’s greatest feat – touching down on and exploring a heavenly body.
While most of the Omega Speedmasters in circulation haven’t left Earth’s atmosphere, we can all take a certain amount of pride in knowing that they could – and would continue to perform just as they would down here on the ground. When you stop and think about all that entails, that’s really saying something.