The Speedmaster garnered its iconic nickname, the Moonwatch, after making history in 1969. That year, Buzz Aldrin became the second man to set foot on the moon, wearing none other than the Speedmaster. Since then, the model has become the official watch of the space program. In the years to come, we may even see the Speedmaster make history again as the first watch on Mars. However, it also remains a favorite among of all types of collectors and fans of the brand. Buying an OMEGA Speedmaster watch means owning a piece of history. Discover our incredible selection of exceptional used OMEGA Speedmaster watches for sale.
The first Speedmaster, the Ref. CK2915, made its debut in 1957. It was the first model to feature the brand's now iconic triple-register dial. The new sports and racing chronograph was a welcome addition to OMEGA's growing line of watches. However, it wouldn’t gain widespread popularity until a few years later.
In 1962, astronaut Wally Schirra helped to make the model famous. He wore the Speedmaster Pulsometer, Ref. CK2998 on the Mercury Sigma 7 mission. At that moment, it became the first OMEGA in space. This feat caught the attention of watch lovers and eager followers of the brand. Today, limited edition re-releases of this reference command high prices in the pre-owned market. The first OMEGA in space also caught the attention of NASA. Soon, they decided to test three watch brands under extreme conditions to determine which would be best to use in future space missions. The winner was the Speedmaster. Since then, OMEGA has cultivated a strong and sustaining relationship with both NASA and the space program.
Just a few years later, in 1969, the Speedmaster solidified its place in history. That year, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men to walk on the moon. During that pivotal moment, Aldrin was wearing none other than the OMEGA Speedmaster. From then on, the Speedmaster has garnered the nickname the Moonwatch, and it traveled on each subsequent Apollo mission.
After the Speedmaster’s highly publicized trip to the moon, OMEGA’s relationship with NASA became more discreet. The duo made plans to continue to test the Speedmaster and improve upon its design. However, they wanted this work to remain a secret from potential competitors. This sparked a program with the code name "The Alaska Project." It focused on two primary improvements. First, they hoped to increase the movement’s resistance to intense temperature fluctuations. Then, they wanted to revamp the case to better protect the movement. In order to support the research and development costs for the Alaska Project, they needed additional funds. So, they created the first automatic versions of the Speedmaster, called the Mark Series.
In the years to follow, OMEGA made a number of modifications to the Speedmaster. One of the most polarizing versions is the X-33, released in 1998. It was the first Speedmaster created as a multifunction quartz watch that would still uphold the NASA and European Space Agency specifications for a flight-qualified timepiece. The X-33 represents OMEGA’s attempt to launch the model into a more modern or even futuristic era. However, devout fans of the classic Moonwatch found it to be a bit too much of a departure from the design and aesthetic they'd grown to know and love.
OMEGA has also released the Speedmaster in a number of limited edition versions. Many of these models celebrate key anniversaries and various NASA space missions. One of the most highly sought after models is the Speedmaster Apollo 11 40th Anniversary edition. The brand released this variation in 2009 to celebrate the first manned lunar landing. Another popular limited edition model is the Speedmaster 125, which commemorated the brand's 125th anniversary. Last but not least are the Snoopy Award watches. These two models commemorate the Silver Snoopy Award NASA presented to OMEGA in 1970. The first debuted in 2003 and the second in 2015. Today, these special models have appreciated in value in the pre-owned market.
Today, OMEGA continues to work closely with the space program to develop the Speedmaster. In fact, 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the lunar landing and, of course, the first Speedmaster on the moon. In the next few decades, they have their sights set on returning to the moon for the proposed trip in 2024. In addition, they’re working on a variation that can withstand the conditions on Mars for a mission set for 2030. The Speedmaster is certainly a favorite among many watch collectors and enthusiasts. However, it will forever be remember for its association with NASA and for its nickname, the Moonwatch.
Video: OMEGA History
Brush up on your OMEGA history with the stories behind your favorite brand.
Interested in learning more about Crown & Caliber's luxurious pre-owned watches? View our YouTube channel here.
Selling Your OMEGA Speedmaster Watches
Crown & Caliber makes selling an OMEGA Speedmaster watch easy and rewarding. Let us assist you in the selling process and help you receive the highest possible value for your OMEGA. Get your OMEGA Speedmaster quote