There are countless achievements Omega watches have experienced over its existence, but their association with NASA is perhaps the most significant. To have the honor of astronauts sporting your watch in space is something that Omega has taken pride in. This is the kind of exposure that can and did assist Omega in gaining success.
It all started in 1957 when NASA supplied each of the Apollo astronauts with a standard Omega Speedmaster Professional manual-wind wristwatch. Despite having almost all equipment manufactured for use specifically for NASA or in space, the Omega watch given to the astronauts was not. Because of this, NASA had to go through a number of tests to make sure the watches were sufficient enough.
Beginning in 1962, NASA began purchasing examples of a number of commercially available watches. In doing so, they could better test the various watches on the market to see what watch would have the best results. After testing a number of different watches, it was decided that Omega watches had the best success.
The timepieces that were given to the astronauts were intended on being worn for intra and extra vehicular activities, including the moonwalks on the various missions. Inside the pressurized environment the watch was simply worn conventionally. However, during the extra vehicular activities the astronauts wore the watches on the outside of their pressure suits. In order to adjust to the change, a long Velcro strap was designed to accommodate the extra width needed.
The first American to walk in space, Edward H. White, wore his speedmaster during his Gemini 4 spacewalk. Other astronauts that have sported an Omega watch while in space include Bill Anders and Jim Lovell from Apollo 8, Neil Armstrong and Mike Collins from Apollo 11 and Fred Haise from Apollo 13. There have been many more astronauts to wear Omega watches, but these are just a few.
A number of the watches worn by NASA astronauts are displayed in various places around the world. For instance, the watches worn by Neil Armstrong and Mike Collins are currently at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. Other places that various watches are located at include the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, The Omega Museum in Switzerland and the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis.
Although the locations of al the Omega watches worn by NASA astronauts is not exactly clear, the ones that are displayed play a big part of history for Omega and NASA. Many present astronauts still wear the Omega speedmaster on shuttle missions.
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