Watchfinder & Co. presents: Inside the Omega Speedmaster, a demonstration of the intricacies of the Omega calibre 1151. Watchfinder Head Watchmaker Tony Williams shows you how this movement is taken apart and reassembled.
A History of the Omega Speedmaster:
There aren’t many watches that can claim the same kind of heritage as Omega’s Speedmaster. First seen in 1957, it entered one of the toughest competitions a watch could ever face: the race to become NASA’s standard issue timepiece. Eight long years later, following a series of gruelling tests that pitted it against extreme temperature, pressure, noise and vibration, the Speedmaster was officially titled ‘. . . flight qualified by NASA for all manned space missions.’
But that hadn’t stopped the Speedmaster from visiting the stars in the meantime. Walter ‘Wally’ Schirra, astronaut on board the 1962 Mercury Atlas 8 mission, had already taken an example of the watch up with him in an unofficial capacity. In the three years to follow before the watch was officially adopted by NASA, it underwent various modifications to meet the space agency’s satisfaction.
First to go were the broadarrow hands, replaced by thin, high-contrast ones. Then the bezel was inverted to be white-on-black instead of black-on-silver. The crystal was also specified in plexiglass rather than the harder and more modern sapphire equivalent; a shattering crystal was not something NASA wanted to have happen. The finished moonwatch (as it became known following its famous trip in 1969 on board Apollo XI) served with NASA for many long years, earning many accolades along the way. It’s easy to argue that the Speedmaster is one of the greatest contributions to history watchmakers have ever made, along with Harrison’s marine chronometer and Breguet’s tourbillon.
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WARNING! This demonstration was undertaken by a professional watchmaker for entertainment purposes only. This is NOT a guide for servicing a watch. The watch featured in the video is NOT being serviced. DO NOT attempt to replicate this video on your own watch.