The Apollo 13 Omega is one of those incredible watches with a lot of history. This stunning timepiece shot into the limelight since debuting in the famous Hollywood blockbuster movie Apollo 13 featuring Tom Hanks. In the film Apollo 13, the entire crew is seen wearing the iconic Moon watch Omega Speedmaster, which was later nicknamed the Speedmaster Professional.
Though the Omega Speedmaster gained prominence after gracing the screens of Apollo 13, it became equally famous after becoming NASA’s number one choice for its space exhibitions and the moon landing.
While some of the Omega Speedmaster watches featured in the movie had regular bracelets, others came with a large velcro band that was used to fit the watch on the outside of the spacesuit.
Today, the Omega Speedmaster is still famous among astronauts going for space exhibitions.
Read on to see a more detailed review of the Apollo 13 Omega Speedmaster.
History of Omega
In the Hollywood movie, the Apollo 13 Omega Speedmaster saves the day, but that isn’t the only brilliant thing about this timepiece. While NASA has adopted the timepiece for its space exhibition, the Speedmaster wasn’t originally built for NASA. As a matter of fact, the watch has been on sale since 1957.
But after a series of tests of different watches, NASA approved the Speedmaster because of its incredible ability to withstand extreme temperatures, vacuum, and zero gravity.
The first Omega Speedmaster to make it into space was worn by Walter Schirra, a renowned astronaut onboard the Sigma 7, that made its maiden flight into space in 1962.
Two years later, precisely in 1965, the Omega Speedmaster received NASA’s seal of approval for all manned space missions.
Since receiving NASA’s certificate of qualification, the Omega Speedmaster has gone on to make history as it graced the wrist of the Apollo 11 crew members, including big names like Michael Collins, Neil Armstrong, and Edwin Buzz Aldrin, during their maiden flight to the Moon in July 1969. Given these unprecedented achievements, the Omega Speedmaster was nicknamed the Moonwatch.
In 1970, the Omega Speedmaster saved the day and became even more famous after it played a decisive role during the dramatic Apollo 13 mission, which saw the reserve oxygen tank exploding. While the unfortunate circumstance meant that all timekeeping mechanisms were no longer functional, the Omega Speedmaster kept on working flawlessly.
Thanks to its functionality, the crew was able to correctly time the firing of the secondary rockets, which safely brought the Apollo 13 crew back to Earth.
What makes the watch stand out?
The Omega Speedmaster was quite popular because of its history. And just so you know, the movement that came with this watch has also attained legendary status, so much so that the company is reluctant to tweak it after many decades.
That said, there have been at least three iterations of the Omega Speedmaster’s movement.
The first iteration was the Lemania-based Calibre 321, which featured a signature column-wheel chronograph.
As the watch grew in popularity, Omega switched things up a bit to cut costs. This saw them switch from column-wheel to a cam-actuated chronograph, as it was a lot easier to make and maintain.
As per the Lemania based Calibre 861, the company made minor tweaks which ushered in Calibre 1861.
While Speedmaster lovers were super excited about the 321, many saw the 861 as a significant improvement.
Thankfully, the caliber 321 remained popular among collectors, mainly because its column-wheel chronograph came with a vertical clutch instead of the horizontally coupled chronograph with complicated arms and levers construction that made it pretty challenging to operate.
Important milestone: The Moonwatch Apollo 13 50th anniversary
April 11th marks the Omega Apollo 13 50th anniversary 2020 as NASA commemorates the Apollo 13 mission that never made it to the Moon. The day marks the exact date when Commander Jim Lovell uttered the phrase, “Houston, we have a problem.”
Even though NASA has tagged the Apollo 13 mission a “successful failure,” the agency is highly grateful that the crew members were able to return to Earth despite the unfortunate explosion safely.
For this year’s anniversary, NASA opted out of in-person activities because of the Covid-19 pandemic. That said, NASA was able to release a documentary with footage from the failed mission.
Omega Speedmaster Apollo 13 Silver Snoopy award
Omega Speedmaster Apollo 13 Silver Snoopy award was an event set aside to commemorate the 45th anniversary of the failed Apollo 13 mission. To celebrate the occasion, Omega released the Silver Snoopy version in 2015.
The watch became famous because of the first 14 seconds on the dial, which came with the phrase “what can you do in 14 seconds.” This phrase was in reference to the successful time correction initiated by the Apollo 13 crew, which subsequently ensured the team got home safely.
What is unique about the Silver Snoopy edition is that its colorways are reversed. This explains why it spots a white dial and black markers. However, it still maintained the hand-wound 1861 movement, which came with the original Apollo 13.
- It is a piece of history
- Rugged and built to withstand extreme situations
- Functional and practical
- It is an absolute classic and very valuable
- It is pretty expensive
- Very few were released
Frequently asked questions
How accurate is the Speedmaster?
One thing that made the Omega Speedmaster famous is its precision and accuracy. In terms of accuracy, the Omega Speedmaster has an accuracy of -4/+6 seconds per day. However, it is believed that the performance tends to drop a bit over time.
Is Omega Speedmaster a good investment?
The Omega Speedmaster is undoubtedly the brand’s most famous timepiece, and that’s all thanks to its impeccable history. Today, the watch is recognized globally, even as it has a cult following. Because the timepiece is an absolute classic, it is still highly sought after. To this end, it is an ideal investment.
Why is Omega Speedmaster so expensive?
The Omega Speedmaster is quite expensive because of its impeccable quality and Swiss history. More so, the brand is a premium brand with a legendary history and reputation to protect. With a lot of money spent on marketing and celebrity endorsement, it’s easy to see why Omega is recognized globally.
The Apollo 13 Omega Speedmaster has earned its place among the greats. Playing a crucial role in saving the Apollo 13 crew, the watch will remain a force to reckon with. From its impressive design to its flawless performance and overall value, the Omega Speedmaster will remain highly sought after.