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Moonwatch: The Greatest Watch Ever Made

Updated: Oct 8, 2022

If you are a watch lover or someone who would spend a Sunday afternoon reading about watch articles on Hodinkee, you would have come across a million blog posts and videos talking about the legendary Moonwatch. But here comes another one. There's always so much to talk about Moonwatch. I hope this article helps you decide if a Moonwatch should be your first luxury purchase or not. And if you are new to watches, I hope to make you fall in love with the Omega Speedmaster, the greatest watch ever made.

The First Watch That Went To The Moon

On July 20, 1969, when Apollo 11 spaceflight landed the first man on the moon, it also made the wristwatch on the hands of its crewmembers legendary. One interesting fact behind the Moonwatch is that while the first man on the moon, Neil Armstrong, left his Speedmaster ref. no. 105.012 in the lunar module, the second man on the moon, Buzz Aldrin took his Speedmaster to the lunar surface. NASA's success became Speedmaster's success and gave it the title of the Moonwatch.

The photo shows the image of Buzz Aldrin in a white lunar module suit with his speedmaster velcro strapped to his wrist.
The Apollo 11's Buzz Aldrin with his velcro-strapped Speedmaster.

The Watch The Saved Lives in Space

Apollo space prgram's thirteenth mission was the first manned mission that could not land the lunar module on the moon. The initial launch was a success but two days into the space travel one of the oxygen tanks in the service module exploded causing a major shortage of oxygen and fuel. This is the moment when the most infamous words in the history of space travel were said, "Houston, we have a problem." The problem was that the path followed by the lunar module was off course by 60 to 80 nautical miles. If the lunar module continued the same trajectory, it would be deflected by the Earth's atmosphere back into the space.

Rear Admiral Donald C. Davis welcomes the tired Apollo 13 crew aboard the recovery ship USS Iwo Jima, April 17, 1970. From left: Fred Haise Jr. (waving), John Swigert Jr. and James Lovell Jr.
Admiral Donald C. Davis welcomes a tired Apollo 13 crew. From left: Fred Haise Jr. (waving), "Jack" Swigert and James Lovell.

Mission Control's solution was to course correct the lunar module's path using a 14-sec rocket fuel burn maneuver. Another problem (there were few) was that the explosion caused some electrical failures including the failure of the navigation system in the module. This was the moment when Speedmaster's name was registered in the horological history as the ultimate tool watches of all times. This was the moment when Commander James A. Lovell along with "Jack" Swigert, Command Module pilot, and Fred W. Haise, Lunar Module pilot performed the rocket fuel burn. Jack Swigert timed the 14-sec maneuver using a Speedmaster and helped make it one of the most important watches in the watch world.

The Watch That Remained True To Its Design

There are very few watches that can truly be called "Iconic". And the first name that comes to mind when talking about the most iconic watches is the Speedmaster. The gray-black dial that seems to absorb the harshest of the starlight and is most legible in the darkest corners of space with its white markers and numerals. Three subdials pay homage to its humble racing origins. The crown and pusher guards' addition requested by a number of astronauts make it invincible. The pushers with the most satisfying click (Sorry Rolex Daytona). The choice between the classic Hesalite and the stronger Sapphire crystal (I like Hesalite more). And finally the NASA certification on the back of the watch that makes it fit to be worn on all manned space missions. All of these reasons make Speedmaster a truly iconic watch.

I'm sure by now you must have made a decision to purchase a Moonwatch or not. But if you have questions or if you liked this post, please be sure to check us out and DM us on Instagram:

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