Which Omega Speedmaster Went to the Moon?

Omega Speedmasters that Went to the Moon


Fifty-one years ago, on July 20, 1969, NASA Astronaut Buzz Aldrin stepped on the Moon with his Omega Speedmaster. While the Speedy has been a notable and reliable chronograph even before then, it became an icon and a bestseller ever since. It was not just the Speedmaster anymore, but also the Moonwatch.

Today, one will find a wide selection of watches under Omega’s Moonwatch family. For Omega purists and history buffs however, the only Moonwatches are those that actually went to the Moon. Which models are those and which modern Moonwatches represent them best? Check out our quick guide to the original Moonwatches:


Which Omega Speedmasters actually went to the Moon?


omega speedmaster 145.012
Omega Speedmaster Vintage 321 Mens Watch 145.012

First, let’s go back to how the Omega Speedmaster ended up on the wrists of NASA astronauts. In 1963, the US government launched the Apollo program – a set of missions intended to land humans on the Moon; and bring them back to Earth safely. This mission was a follow up to Project Mercury, which landed the first Americans in space.

A year after, NASA began their search for a reliable timepiece that astronauts can use in space and can serve as the official watch of the program. Four brands responded to their calls, namely Omega, Longines-Wittnauer, Rolex, and Hamilton. After a series of torturous tests done on the watches, only the Omega chronograph passed. It became the official watch of NASA astronauts, and remains so until today.


Omega Speedmaster 105.003


Speedmaster 105 003
Omega Speedmaster Vintage 321 Straight Lugs 105.003
NASA Astronaut Gene Cernan aboard the Apollo 17

The Omega Speedmaster ref 105.003 was the very reference that was qualified by NASA in 1964; and eventually approved on March 1, 1965. It’s noted for being the last of the “Pre-Moonwatch” models, with straight lugs, no crown guards, and a slimmer profile than the models that followed.

This model is also named after astronaut “Ed White”, who wore the timepiece during the first American Space Walk in 1965. It eventually made its way on the Moon when Eugene Cernan wore it during the Apollo 17 mission of 1972.


Omega Speedmaster 105.012


Speedmaster 105 012
Omega Speedmaster Vintage 321 Mens Watch 105.012
NASA Astronaut Buzz Aldrin aboard the Apollo 11

Now we get to the reference that turned the Speedmaster into the Moonwatch – the reference 105.012 worn by the Apollo 11 astronauts. Neil Armstrong, the first man to step on the Moon, was also provided with this timepiece, but legend has it that it stayed on board of the Lunar Module.

It was Buzz Aldrin, who followed Armstrong on the Moon’s surface, who was wearing the 105.012, therefore making it the first watch on the Moon.

This reference was updated to a 42mm case (versus it’s predecessor’s 39.7mm), with a symmetrical shape and crown and pusher guards that flow seamlessly into the lugs.


Omega Speedmaster 145.012


Speedmaster 145 012
Omega Speedmaster Vintage 321 Mens Watch 145.012
NASA Astronaut Al Shepard suiting up before boarding Apollo 14

The reference 145.012 was produced in 1967 and 1968, making it a Pre-Moonwatch. It was worn by astronauts more than any other Speedmaster, but it wasn’t until the Apollo 14 mission that it made its way to the moon’s surface, on astronaut Alan Shepard’s wrist.

The 145.012 is a slight upgrade to the 105.012 with its taller caps and screwed in pushers. It was also the last to use the renowned second generation calibre 321, before it was revived by Omega in 2019.



Modern Moonwatches


Omega Speedmaster MoonWatch 311.

One of the questions we often get asked is, “Which of the modern Omega Speedmasters is closest to the original Moonwatch?” Basically, some clients prefer to wear a newer Moonwatch but with the features of the original 105.012 or 145.012.

The Moonwatch per definition is a hand-wound watch with a Hesalite or plexiglas crystal and a stainless steel case back. One can also follow the succession of models in the Moonwatch line to get a direct descendant of the original Moonwatch:

145.012 – replaced by 145.022 in 1968
145.022 – replaced by 145.0022 in 1982
145.0022 – replaced by 3590.50 in 1988
3590.50 – replaced by 3570.50 in 1996
3570.50 – replaced by the current 311. in 2014

Of course, if heritage is of utmost important to you, nothing will beat the original 105.012 and 145.012 models. Rest assured, however, that their descendants are considered Moonwatches as well.




PHOTO CREDITS: NASA photos from www.nasa.gov 
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