First Man, First Watch – Omega Watches bear the Provenance of Firsts

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Since 1962, Omega Speedmasters have been an inextricable part of mankind's space age.
Since 1962, Omega Speedmasters have been an inextricable part of mankind’s space age.

First Man is not the story of the Omega Speedmaster, first watch on the moon. The riveting story behind the first manned mission to the moon encapsulates the provenance of Omega Watches SA, not so much as a watchmaking juggernaut dedicated to horological firsts but as a watchmaker paramount walking in lock step with mankind’s each and every accomplishment.

Focusing on Neil Armstrong and the decade leading to the historic Apollo 11 flight, First Man chronicles that milestone of human accomplishment, immortalised by Armstrong’s footprint on the moon. While it is not Armstrong’s Speedmaster which becomes the first watch on the moon (that honour would go to Buzz Aldrin’s timepiece since Armstrong’s had to be left aboard the Lunar Module as replacement to the broken shipboard computer clock), it tells a visceral account of his personal tragedy and triumph, carrying mankind’s hopes and dreams, on one of humanity’s most dangerous endeavours.

Ryan Gosling plays Commander Neil Armstrong, First Man on the Moon. His wasn’t the first Omega Speedmaster on the moon though… that honour would go to Buzz Aldrin’s chronograph
NASA technician straps an Omega Speedmaster onto Armstrong with the iconic NATO strap

First Man, First Watch – Omega Watches bear the Provenance of Firsts

When one thinks of The Beetles, it is natural to invariably call to mind the legends who are Paul McCartney and John Lennon. However, take Ringo Starr out of the fabulous equation and all you’re left is a skiffle quartet, no rock, just roll. As drummer, Starr had the responsibility of tying the disparate sounds of Lennon’s idiosyncratic guitar and McCartney’s reinvention of melodious bass guitar into a holistic, distinctive “Beatles” sound. A rhythmic minimalist, playing right hand drums with a left hand, marrying rhythm with song and so unassuming – he only acquiesces, out of duress, to one single drum solo out of 212 songs (“The End” from the Abbey Road album if you must know); this digress is important if only to point out that while he’s no front man or face for the brand, he’s just as vital. The “support role” just like Omega Watches SA.

Omega’s provenance in space exploration is unrivalled. In a battle of technological prowess against the soviets, NASA plunged full speed into the space programme and as such, it needed something battle-tested to be worn on towards the frontiers of space – as such the story of the first man on the moon is tied with that of the first watch – in search of the one watch that could qualify for all the manned-missions and the unaccounted rigours that might occur, the Omega Speedmaster was put through a series of tests every inch as challenging as the ones that its mortal astronauts-wearers would endure. Since 1962, Omega Speedmasters have been an inextricable part of mankind’s space age. Many brands submitted but only the Speedmaster was made of “the right stuff”. As a result, it was declared “Flight Qualified for all Manned Space Missions” on the 1st of March, 1965. From that moment, OMEGA was the only supplier of watches for NASA’s Human Space Flight Program. Its use in space has extended through the final Mercury Missions and the Gemini, Apollo, Skylab and Apollo-Soyuz programs. The Speedmaster is still in use for space flight today and helps to keep track of time on the International Space Station.

The modern edition of the Omega Speedmaster
While it’s debatable if Armstrong wore an Omega in civilian life, the CK2605 was provided for Gosling’s character to wear as well

Faster, Better, Stronger is the Story of Omega

Even if its association with space exploration and the ushering of the Space Age is inexorably the face of Omega timekeeping, the truth is Omega watches have not only been in step not just with our technological accomplishments but also of physical and evolutionary ones. For 86 years since 1932, Omega has fulfilled the role of Official Timekeeper at the Olympic Games. Whether first man on the moon or first man at the Olympics, faster, better, stronger is truly the story of Omega. This is provenance that money can’t buy.




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