The Omega Speedmaster turns 60 this year. And what an exciting 60 years it has been! Which watch model can boast that it has survived six decades looking similar to its original design as well as going to the moon and back?
Word was that in the early 1960s, the Omega Speedmaster, together with a few other chronographs from other brands, were selected by Nasa for testing—to see which piece could survive the tough conditions in space. Well, only one survived the harsh temperatures, vibrations, hard shocks, and unforgiving vacuums of the testing process: the Omega Speedmaster.
It has since become a horological icon in its own rights. And to celebrate its big 6-0, Omega will hold the Speedmaster 60th Anniversary Exhibition at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands. Speedmaster fans will be able to understand the history of this watch through photographs, vintage pieces and interactive screens. The exhibition is held at the Galleria Level at B1 (near the Marina Bay Sands retail concierge) from tomorrow till July 9.
Here, we celebrate the Speedmaster's achievements by picking out six special pieces.
The first-ever Speedmaster by Omega, it's called the "Broad Arrow" because of its hours and minutes hands. It's also the first chronograph in the world with a tachymeter scale on the bezel; most chronographs then had theirs printed on the dial.
This model is the first Omega worn in space. It belonged to astronaut Walter Schirra, who wore it on the Sigma 7 mission of the Mercury programme. It featured a black aluminum bezel, lollipop-shaped seconds hand—because it was requested by the US Air Force— and "alpha" style hour and minute hands.
This is the oldest Speedmaster, and it resembles the current Speedmaster the most. Fitted with the Calibre 681, it broke new grounds then, thanks to its precision and accuracy.
Affectionately known as the "lobster", because of the bracelet's resemblance to the crustacean's body, this model is the first electronic Speedmaster. It's equipped with an electromechanical movement, which gave it even better precision and accuracy.
This is one for the hardcore collectors. It's the first automatic Speedmaster housed in a Moonwatch case, it was only in production for two years.
This Speedmaster is special on two counts. Firstly, it was designed especially for the community of #SpeedyTuesday fans, an online group of Omega devotees. The watchmaker designed it to mark the fifth anniversary of the group. Secondly, it was marketed purely via social media channels and sold online exclusively.
(Related: Happy 60th Birthday, Omega Moonwatch)