Omega marks the 50th anniversary of the moon landing and the countdown to Tokyo 2020 with new timepieces

SINGAPORE (Aug 5): On July 20, 1969, the world watched in fascination as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to walk on the moon’s surface as part of NASA’s Apollo II mission.

Omega has the distinction of being the only watch brand to be associated with that historic moment as Aldrin was wearing the Omega Speedmaster ST 105.012 when he walked on the moon. Unfortunately, it was later stolen and never found.

(Main image: Omega has announced the long-awaited return of Calibre 321)

Many people have the misconception that Armstrong was the one who wore the Moon Watch, as it was known at that time, on the moon. He did have an Omega timepiece but had left it in the shuttle as a backup. According to Omega’s official website, James Ragan, the NASA engineer responsible for the qualification tests, has spoken about the importance of the Speedmaster. “The watch was a backup. If the astronauts lost the capability of talking to the ground, or the capability of their digital timers on the lunar surface, then the only thing they had to rely on was the Omega watch they had on their wrist. It needed to be there for them if they had a problem,” he said.

Omega celebrated the 50th anniversary of the successful mission this year with the launch of the new Speedmaster Moonwatch 321 Platinum, which houses the Calibre 321 movement. This is the same movement that was employed in 1957 and in subsequent timepieces that were used for other space missions by NASA.

The chronograph has a 42mm brushed and polished case crafted from a special platinum alloy with the use of gold. The case design is inspired by the asymmetrical fourth-generation Speedmaster case with twisted lugs, and is presented on a black leather strap with a platinum buckle.

In this year’s iteration, the Calibre 321 has a new reconstructed movement that can be viewed through the clear sapphire-crystal caseback. The chronograph has a 42mm brushed and polished case crafted from a special platinum alloy with the use of gold (Pt950Au20). The case design is inspired by the asymmetrical fourth generation Speedmaster case with twisted lugs (ST 105.012), and is presented on a black leather strap with a platinum buckle. Furthermore, this exciting timepiece has a black ceramic bezel with the Speedmaster’s famous tachymeter scale in white enamel.

The step dial is formed from onyx, with a deep black colour that works in perfect harmony with the other materials, including 18K white gold for the indexes and hands (except for the central chronograph seconds hand). Another notable feature of the new timepiece is the three meteorite subdials. In tribute to the Speedmaster’s lunar history, Omega used real slices of moon meteorite, providing a genuine link to the Calibre 321, which has powered every Speedmaster ever worn on the moon.

The final countdown

Next July and August, the world’s attention will be on Tokyo as it hosts the 32nd Olympic Games, or Tokyo 2020. As official timekeeper of the Games and the Paralympics Games, the brand started the one-year countdown with the official clock (right), which was unveiled on July 24 in Marunouchi Central Square in downtown Tokyo.

The design of the clock, which is four metres high, was inspired by the rising sun in Japan. On one side, it counts down to the beginning of the Games on July 24; on the other, it counts down to the start of the Paralympics Games on Aug 25.

Tokyo 2020 will mark Omega’s 29th time as official timekeeper of the Olympic Games since 1932. As before, it will be launching two limited-edition watches, with 2,020 pieces for each.

The Seamaster Planet Ocean Tokyo 2020 Limited Edition is a special tribute to Japan. The polished white ceramic dial continues the Tokyo theme, with a special lollipop central seconds hand to represent the country’s flag. There is a red liquid ceramic number 20 on the bezel and a sapphire crystal caseback with a transferred Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games emblem.

The Seamaster Aqua Terra Tokyo 2020 Limited Edition is a stainless steel timepiece that features a blue ceramic dial with a laser-engraved pattern inspired by the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games emblem. The emblem is on the sapphire crystal caseback.