2019 Watch Anniversaries

Lookback: Watch Anniversaries in 2019

Hundreds, if not thousands, of watches are launched every year. While some are produced for a good number of years, it takes a trailblazing achievement, outstanding craftsmanship and design, and certain importance to last decades.

We saw four watches hit the big numbers this year, all deservedly considered icons. They changed the way history and horology looked at watches, so it’s no surprise that they’re here to stay.

Here’s a look back at the watches that hit milestones in 2019:



The Omega Speedmaster MoonWatch as seen on Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin


The first watch on the moon

In 1969, the Omega Speedmaster accompanied the astronauts of the Apollo 11 Mission crew to the moon. The Speedy was (and still is) the official watch of NASA, having been the only watch to pass the agency’s rigorous tests at the time.

While all of the astronauts were given an Omega Speedmaster 105.012 and 145.012 to use during the space flight, it was Buzz Aldrin who famously had it on his wrist, and wore it on the moon’s surface on July 20, 1969. The chronograph named and conceived for driving, became known as the MoonWatch.

Beginning in 1969, Omega has released an Apollo 11 anniversary model every five years, to commemorate the important event. The 50th anniversary of the moon landing is the most important yet, and Omega equipped this year’s limited edition Speedy with a new Master Co-Axial movement.


Heuer Monaco
The Tag Heuer Monaco McQueen Chronograph mirrors Steve McQueen’s suit in Le Mans

The first square automatic chronograph

The Monaco was launched in 1969 when TAG Heuer was still known simply as Heuer. Automatic winding watches were the order of the day, and Heuer worked hectically to develop the world’s first automatic chronograph movement.

When they developed the Chronomatic Calibre 11, and planned to launch it in the Basel of 1969 – they wanted to do so with a less traditional timepiece. The avant garde and out-of-the-box Monaco became the world’s first waterproof automatic chronograph, with a square case.

Today, it’s still one of the few watches that one can recognize even from across the room. Its ties with the legendary actor and racer Steve McQueen, also made it popular even among the general public.


Zenith El Primero
Zenith El Primero’s automatic chronograph caliber is considered one of the world’s best
(photo: Christie’s)

The first automatic chronograph

In 1969, three different companies staked claim to being the first to produce an automatic chronograph. However, Zenith was the only one to boast a high-speed 5 Hz (36,000 vph) escapement, which made it the most precise chronograph in the world for many years.

In a stroke of marketing genius, Zenith named it El Primero, which is Spanish for “the first”.

To celebrate its 50th birthday, Zenith introduced the limited edition El Primero A384 Revival — a faithful recreation of one of the first watches to feature the El Primero caliber.


The Seiko Astron (Seiko Quartz-Astron 35SQ) was the world’s first “quartz clock” wristwatch (photo: Seiko)

The first quartz wristwatch

The Seiko Astron was launched in the last week of the 1960s, and it would define the next decade for the watch industry.

The Astron is the very first quartz wristwatch, and also the first watch to automatically recognize all time zones on Earth. At the time, Swiss mechanical watch manufacturers were already testing their own quartz prototypes, but it was Japanese-owned Seiko that first made it to market.

The Astron paved the way for the mass production of affordable, quartz-powered watches in the next decade, eventually leading to what has been known as the “Quartz Crisis”. Seiko celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Quartz Astron with a limited edition GPS Solar watch.






Toll-free US and Canada Only:
Outside US:

Customer service:

Swiss Watch Expo
315 East Paces Ferry Rd NE
Atlanta, GA 30305

M - F 10 AM to 6 PM EST
Saturdays 10 AM to 5 PM EST