“The first watch on the moon” - the Omega Speedmaster Chronograph – is the only watch which is flight-qualified by NASA for all manned space missions. Originally though, there were three standard chronographs which had been purchased to undergo the rigorous tests and procedures which had been planned by NASA. The timepiece which could withstand all the tests would be deemed as the “moon watch”.
The various horrors that lay in store for the timepieces were based on the various pressures, conditions, and unforeseen circumstances faced by the astronauts in space. They needed a watch they could depend on.
The six weeks of testing included hurling the timepieces into a stimulated outer space, strapping the watches to whirling centrifuges as they were pulled by the force of fifteen gravities at the same time. They were subjected to non-stop violent vibrations, and constantly changing extreme weather conditions.
The water pressure tests were far tougher than the ones used in the watchmaker manufactures itself. The watches were put in special pressure tanks, ranging from 25 atmospheres to a vacuum of minus 700mm of mercury. These leaps between variating pressures went on for repeated hours to an end.
The purpose for such kind of tests, known only to the aerospace engineers, was to finalise a watch which could live up to the 99.9999% reliability factor of the spacecraft which was built to withstand space.
Only the Omega Speedmaster, lived up to the expectations, without any discrepancy in the beat of any second. Watch the video to know exactly what went on during the testing period.