To commemorate the 60th anniversary of its iconic Speedmaster timepiece, Swiss horologer Omega traversed the galaxy. In late April, at London’s Tate Modern, the brand threw a “Lost in Space” event that provided guests with a sensory, futuristic experience that cued to the watch’s legacy in space exploration. Anchored to a centerpiece of 60 historic Speedmaster models, the occasion featured prominent guests in the likes of George Clooney and Buzz Aldrin, one of the first men to land on the moon.
“The Speedmaster is one of the most, if not the most, iconic chronographs in the world,” said Omega President and CEO Raynald Aeschlimann. “Not only for OMEGA, but for the many men and women who have worn and trusted it. Even after 60 years, its power and charisma has not diminished. We’re so proud to have an event of this scale and to share it with the Speedmaster’s biggest fans.”
The first watch to boast a tachymeter scale on its bezel. Omega Speedmaster has throughout its varied history graced the wrists of a throng of prominent figures – from astronauts to Air Force pilots to athletes to actors. Perhaps, the most noted moment in the lifetime of the timepiece is its trek to the moon with Aldrin on Apollo 11 in 1969. Almost half a century later, Aldrin claimed Omega’s stage in a spacesuit, spurring raucous applause.
Standing alongside Aldrin, Clooney reminisced about his childhood and the role the Speedmaster and the US space missions played in it. “Speedmasters were a big part of my growing up,” he said. “My uncle and my father, we all had them because it was such a big part of the moon landing. And it was huge in our lives. My father gave me, as my graduation present, a Speedmaster. There’s every reason to love them because they’re elegant watches. But I also love them because of the history.”
The Speedmaster’s astounding lead in manned space missions came after rigorous scrutiny by NASA. The engineer who was once responsible for the qualifying process, James Ragan, was also in attendance at the Tate Modern.
“Of all the watches we tested in 1965, the Speedmaster was the only one that passed all the tests,” he said. “The others got eliminated in the very first test. So it has a very good reputation with NASA and even today is still used in space. That says a lot about the watch.”