The History of the Chronograph: Omega Speedmaster

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The Chronograph is still one of the most popular things after watches. A lot of men find chronographs useful but many of them don’t understand the use of it, some don’t know how it operates, and sometimes they just don’t use it. However, Chronographs nowadays can also be found as an added featured in most wrist watches.

The Chronograph, in other words, is just a stopwatch or a timer. It has one to three buttons and these are called “pushers” labeled start, stop, and reset functions without intruding the watch.

While some watches can record up to 12hrs, other can just record 30 minutes at a time. This recorder can read the recorded time and can be found on the watch dial.

This can count seconds, minutes, and hours once the pusher is switched on.

History of the Chronograph

The Chronograph literally means “Time writer”. It is derived from the Greek word “Chronos” which means time and “graph” means writing. Back in time people were confused as for why it would have “writing” in it. Well, the very first version of the chronograph was operated with a small pen marking the dial and was attached to the index. The pen mark length showed the elapsed time.

The first modern chronograph was invented in 1815 by Louis Moinet and was completed in 1816. This was used to solely work with astronomical equipment. However, the first chronograph that has been introduced to the market was developed by Nicolas Mathieu Rieussec in the time of King Louis XVIII in 1821. In 1844, Adolphe Nichole updated the original version of the chronograph by including a resetting feature that allows consecutive measurements than the moving needle in the original one.

The Tachymeter Addition

In early 20th century, chronographs were retailed with bezels marked in order for it to work as a tachymeter. This is a scale which enables the one wearing it to compute the speed of travel time and measure the distance based on speed. In 1958, the watch company Heuer introduced a chronograph model with a tachymeter for complex calculations.

The Chronograph Takes Flight

Chronograph allows aviators to make fast calculations and conduct correct timing which makes it popular.  The demand for it grew in the aviation industry in the early part of 20th century as the US exploration in the outer space which involved test pilots and was ordered by President Eisenhower. At that time chronographs were seen on the wrists of early astronauts. As the astronauts took off, the world watched and waited, after 2 days, on April 17, 1970, thanks to Omega Speedmasters they returned safely to earth.

The chronograph helped them to count the time of a serious engine burn and in spite of failed computers onboard, they were able to recalculate their entry back to earth and aligned the capsule which resulted to a successful and safe splashdown.

Nowadays, a lot of civilians, commercials, and military pilots use chronographs to save them and other people on board if ever their systems fail.

Omega Speedmaster History

The history of the well known Omega Speedmaster began in 1969 when man first landed on the moon. Buzz Aldrin wore the watch on his wrist at that time. It all actually started in 1957 when Omega introduced the Speedmaster Broad Arrow (Ref. CK 2915) as a sport and racing chronograph. This became the first model with the triple-register dial layout that became so iconic to the brand itself. In 1962, Wally Schirra an astronaut took his CK 2998 with him to the Mercury-Atlas 8 expedition.

NASA decided to test three watches for possible usage in space: Rolex, Longines, and Omega. Omega Speedmaster proved that they got what it takes to be in space. From then on, Omega and the space program has had a good relationship and confirmed by the Apollo 11 mission and the consecutive Apollo missions.

When NASA approved the use of Speedmaster, Omega gave the Speedmaster Professional a new reference number and also known as the Moonwatch. The brand has undergone series of updates over the years and released limited edition versions. Speedmaster has maintained their precision and reliability over the years.

Omega Speedmaster Professional Moon Watch

For more than half a century, OMEGA Speedmaster has seen the events that tested the physical patience and courage of humans as they first landed on the moon in July 1969 and NASA’s piloted missions since March 1965. The Speedmaster Professional is known as a timepiece that was first worn on the moon.

This Chronograph has a black dial and tachymeter scale which makes it stand out. Its indexes and central hour and minute hands are coated with hesalite crystal (Super-LumiNova) that protects the dial. The 30 minute, 12-hour recorder and seconds sub-dial have been enhanced.

Its case is made of stainless steel and has a matching bracelet or a leather strap. It also has a tool to change the bracelets and instructions on how to do it.

Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Chronograph

Since July 21, 1969, the Omega Speedmaster has been known as the classic chronograph because of its reliability and design. Influenced by its former, the Speedmaster Moonwatch Chronograph built its own name.

It has the same core functions like the Speedmaster Professional but has different features that will surely get the attention of chronograph fans.

It has two sub-dials instead of three with the placement of 12-hour and 60-minute counters. It reads the elapsed time automatically.

The Moonwatch Chronograph has a stainless steel case and bracelet or a black leather strap. This type has its dial in black, the elements and hands in white. It also has a tachymeter scale found on the bezel.

Omega Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon

The first people to see the dark side of the moon personally is the Apollo 8 astronauts. This inspired Omega to make this edition. The technologies of this timepiece are from a single black zirconium oxide ceramic, this Speedmaster model gives the new iconic design of the Moonwatch and its name describes how mysterious space is.

The zirconium oxide material used in the dial goes along with its ceramic 44.25 cases with a brushed and polished case-body. The chronograph controls the pushers to work accordingly.

The Apollo 8 inspired the all black ceramic Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon. There are 4 new pieces that are part of the collection. They are the Black Black, Sedna Black, Pitch Black, and the Vintage Black.

Omega Speedmaster Moonphase

This collection of Omega Speedmaster shows the phases of the moon, which makes it unique. It is also called as a Master Chronometer and sets its new standard.

Its bold colors give the Moonphase a cool look. It’s dial models comes in different colors like opaline silver, sun-brushed black brown, blue and gray. The ceramic bezels also have various options like black, brown, blue and green. The cases are in 18k yellow gold, 18k Sedna™ or in stainless steel, its subdials also give the watch a better look.

The tachymeter in this watch is the first liquid metal scale in some models. Also, in this model, the moonphase disc shows the footprint left by Neil Armstrong on the moon.

Omega Speedmaster “Speedy Tuesday” Limited Edition

Speedy Tuesday has gained so many fans that Omega produced new limited edition model. This design was influenced by the former 1978 “Speedmaster Alaska III”.

This model was intended for NASA since they want a watch that was anti reflective and easy to read in outer space and because of that, Speedy Tuesday had these qualities:  matte finished steel case and the radial sub dials are big enough to be read.

This is when Omega brought back it’s radial sub dial and it is one of the vintage touches of this watch. They create the dial with a bezel ring around it, white opaline-silvery subdials are set across the black dial.

The vintage Omega logo, markings, and radial subdials are coated with bright luminescent ink.  They took the inspiration of this edition from the former “Reverse Panda” that was first seen in 1966.

Speedy Tuesday classic movement is the same with timepieces that NASA astronauts wore on the moon. This edition is built with high-grade rhodium that shows an important role in the Speedmaster transformation.

Omega Speedmaster Grey Side of the Moon “Meteorite”

This new model of Omega is in ceramic and 18k Sedna™ gold and it’s like a real space that you can wear. Why? Because of its outstanding meteorite dial, Omega has slices of Gibeon meteorite that fell from Namibia in earliest years.  The ribbon-like pattern is also very clear and unique for each model.

The tachymeter scale has been made using the Omega Ceragold™. This was used for the 18K Sedna™ gold bezel that is also layered with silicon nitride. The reddish tone of the 18K Sedna™ is used to make the watch’s hands and indexes.

The case of the Grey Side of the Moon has stayed in gray ceramic case and leather strap. The size and layout of the original have never been lost.

Omega Speedmaster Grey Side of the Moon

The Dark Side of the Moon was inspired by the lunar dust that kept the footprints on the Moon. They came up with this watch by innovating the white ceramic into metallic gray since it reminded them of what Jim Lovell’s said during the Apollo 8’s journey. “The moon is essentially gray.”

What gives the Speedmaster Grey Side of the Moon it’s classic and sophisticated look is the sand blasted 950 dials. It’s sub-dials is identical to Omega’s Moonwatch. The dial is secure in a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal box-form.

The tachymetric scale features numbers, and marks engraved with luminescent Super-LumiNova on the bezel and this allows the wearer to read the scale in any lighting.

This model is a tribute to Omega’s space adventures and with its great materials and the mechanical movement, it attracted so many Speedmaster fans.

Omega Speedmaster Apollo 13 Silver Snoopy Award

This timepiece is a tribute to the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 13 mission and received a Silver Snoopy Award from the astronauts when they return from the moon.

This edition has a story about its role in the space journey of NASA and Snoopy and the Peanut gang connection.

The Speedmaster Apollo 13 Silver Snoopy Award has a white dial and black hands. The hand in the small seconds sub-dial is also in white and it is polished with a black ceramic bezel ring.

It’s case back has a unique feature, its the 925 silver Snoopy medallion engraved on the plate and it is surrounded by dark blue enamel and is sprinkled with a silver powder. This medallion symbolizes the Award that Omega received from the astronauts of the Apollo missions.

The dial of this watch is opposite to what the Speedmaster Profesional has. In this edition, its dial is in white and with black elements.

The indexes and tachymeter are made of Super-LumiNova and have a small Snoopy at the subdial at 9 o’clock.

There’s a small writing between zero and fourteen seconds that asks: “What could you do in 14 seconds?”. This 14 second symbolizes the time the astronaut performed the mid course correction before they re-entered the Earth.

Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 45th Anniversary

The Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 45th represents a historic event, which is the first landing on the moon. This timepiece has a 42mm brass case with a touch of gold.

The PVD dial is in black and it has a 30 minute and 12 hours recorders and small seconds sub-dial. These were made using a special laser.

The Chronograph’s hand is in 18K red-gold as well as the indexes and hour, minute, seconds and sub-dials.

One impressive attribute of the Speedmaster Professional Apollo 11 45th Anniversary Limited Edition is its strap. This was inspired by the Second World War military timepieces straps.

In this edition, they used a brown nylon fabric “NATO” as its strap. Since it’s a limited edition timepiece, they only made 1,969 pieces of this Speedmaster Chronograph. This shows the remarkable year where humans first landed and walked on the moon. This piece is also water-resistant up to 50 meters or 167 feet.

Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch First Omega in Space

The Speedmaster CK 2998 was the first Omega to get to space. Astronaut Walter Schirra wore this watch in Sigma 7 mission in 1962. He bought the watch for his own but after 2 years and a half, the Speedmaster was certified by NASA for all the missions launching.

The first Omega in space celebrated by updating the model of the Speedmaster. It’s redesigned for the 21st century and it still features the same attributes like the original.

Every Omega Speedmaster is numbered individually in order for it to be traced in specific space in time. The back of the case has a 1962 seahorse medallion embossed.

The model is totally made in Sedna Gold, from its case, indexes, logo, the hour, minute to its seconds sub-dial. At the back, there’s an engraved phrase saying ” The First Omega in Space” and the date “October 3, 1962”.

Omega Speedmaster “CK2998” Limited Edition

The original version of this timepiece was released back in 1959 and one of the most in-demand classic Speedmaster. Omega has used this as a model to produce the new model for the Speedmaster CK2998 limited edition.

The color of this beauty is in blue with its hands in stainless steel and 3 sub-dials in deep blue. The tradition of keeping the theme goes also with its bezel with the tachymeter and minutes track. For the second’s hand, Omega brought back the “lollipop” style.

The base scale of the tachymeter is covered in Super-LumiNova for it’s better visibility in the dark. They only produced 2,998 pieces of these collectible timepieces. Omega retained its authenticity by keeping the movement from the iconic Omega Calibre 1861. This watch is the one that has the quality and DNA of Omega, the spirit of adventure it brings has continued on earth and even on the moon.

Omega retained its authenticity by keeping the movement from the iconic Omega Calibre 1861. This watch is the one that has the quality and DNA of Omega, the spirit of adventure it brings has continued on earth and even on the moon.

Omega Speedmaster White Side of the Moon

Omega has introduced another one of a kind timepiece that’s inspired by the radiance of the celestial body as what we can see on earth, it’s the Omega Speedmaster White Side of the Moon.

It has a dash of color since the dial is in ceramic white zirconium oxide and has 18k white gold hands and indexes. The second’s hand tip is in red that matches the name “Speedmaster” on the center.

To achieve this eye-catching piece, they transformed the Speedmaster Grey Side of the Moon case into white by doing one extra step and that’s heating the plasma furnace in 20,000°C.

With this edition, you can have 2 great choices, a classic White Side of the Moon with a tachymeter scale and a 74 diamond set in Pt850 Liquidmetal® model. Whether it has diamonds or not the Speedmaster has been luxurious in their own way.

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