Omega Speedmaster: A History (Celebrating 60 Years)

This year is monumental for Omega Watches.  2017 marks the 60 year anniversary of the iconic Omega Speedmaster, first known as the “Broad Arrow” because of its larger hands.  The 1957 Speedmaster was the first chronograph wristwatch made with a tachymeter scale on the bezel rather than the dial, and was originally designed as a durable, reliable racing watch.  Today, the Omega Speedmaster is closely associated with space travel and exploration. The Speedmaster’s space legacy started in 1965, when it became the first timepiece to pass a rigorous series of tests issued by NASA that qualified it for use on piloted missions. Many brands had submitted watches for this testing; however, the Speedmaster was the only model to prevail through all the tests.

NASA-certified original Omega Speedmaster

The second edition of the Speedmaster was created in 1959, and became the first Omega watch worn in space by astronaut Walter Schirra during the Mercury Program Sigma 7 mission. The Omega Speedmaster was worn on all six lunar landings which earned the timepiece the nickname “the Moonwatch”. The Omega Speedmaster was the first timepiece worn on the moon by Buzz Aldrin in 1969.  The Moonwatch version of the Omega Speedmaster inspired a series of reissues of the model known as the “First Man on the Moon” watches which are still being produced today.

The newer generations of the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch continue to draw inspiration from the first iterations of the model.  While many of the new models sport modern enhancements such as COSC chronometer certified movements and a moonphase feature to track the lunar cycle, the overall aesthetic design remains faithful to the original Moonwatch.

Omega Speedmaster in space

Omega released a “Class of ‘57” Trilogy of timepieces to commemorate the 60 year anniversary of the original 1957 Speedmaster chronograph.  You can find the Omega Speedmaster ’57 Chronograph 311. available to order on our website.  We have also written an article with information on all of the models in this vintage-inspired trilogy in a previous blog post.

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(All images sourced from Omega Watches.)