We mainly shared the points of the replica Speedy Tuesday in the past. But today we make an exception, as we were invited to join the Omega Speedmaster Event in London, with Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, former NASA’s engineer James H. Ragan who was responsible for testing and choosing the Speedmaster and actor George Clooney, a long-time space and Speedmaster fan.
I would say frankly that I love the Speedmaster. I’ve told this many times before, but the Speedmaster is the model that got me into watches in general and one that I collect myself. A love that resulted in starting the Speedy Tuesday feature and has been celebrated with its own limited edition watch for its 5th anniversary. Therefore, I was very happy to receive an invitation from Raynald Aeschlimann (CEO and President of Omega) to join their Speedmaster event in London, to celebrate the 60th birthday of this iconic chronograph.
We arrived in London last Tuesday, but other than a wonderful diner in one of London’s fine restaurants, there was not really a program. When I was going to meet up with a few people in the lobby of the hotel, I found myself in the elevator with Buzz Aldrin and his manager (Mission Control Director as she likes to call herself). Surreal, to say the last. Anyway, the program for the Speedmaster Event started on Wednesday morning.
Below, some close-ups of the first three references mentioned. The replica Omega Speedmaster, the first Speedmaster ever, designed by Pierre Moinat. And it was the second generation of Speedmaster watches featuring a black bezel and Alpha-hands. Third, the other replica model, introduced in 1964 with its white baton hands and actually the watch that was tested by NASA for the Apollo program.
Other fake watches that were brought to the table were the Speedmaster Professional with caliber 861 that was used by Apollo 17 astronaut Ron Evans. He didn’t wear the watch, but he attached it to one of the control panels of the Command Module to do some tests. It wasn’t an approved or certified watch for Extra-Vehicular Actitivies. It wasn’t until 1978 that the replica that model was certified for use in space during EVA.
One of the part that most guests were looking forward to, was the interview with Apollo XI astronaut Buzz Aldrin. On July 21st 1969, he sat foot on the Moon together with astronaut Neil Armstrong. Buzz Aldrin was accompanied by his manager who also did the talk with him during the interview. We were shown some incredible cool images (mainly from NASA) and Buzz commented on them to tell us what happened there, or what we were looking at exactly. Very interesting to hear his comments next to some of the famous photographs we all know (of Buzz Aldrin on the Moon, in the Lunar Module, his footprint). At the end, there was some time to ask Buzz Aldrin a couple of questions. The significance of the watch and the future of space exploration were things he elaborated on.