How did the Moonwatch qualify?

I am a fan of Omega Moonwatches and have owned or bought quite a few over the years. I now own and use 3 moonwatches fairly regularly. One is on a brown leather strap and another is on a green NATO strap. The other watch is a pre-moonwatch, “moonwatch” that I wear on a black and orange leather strap.

People sometimes ask me why these watches are considered so “special” and what they had to go through to be flight-qualified by NASA.

The OMEGA Speedmaster Professional chronograph (as it is correctly called) successfully passed 11 different tests.

1. HIGH TEMPERATURE
48 hours at a temperature of 160 deg F (71 deg C) followed by 30 minutes at 200 deg F (93 deg C).
This under a pressure of 5.5 psia (0.35 atm) and relative humidity not exceeding 15%.

2. LOW TEMPERATURE
Four hours at a temperature of 0 deg F (-18 deg C).

3. TEMPERATURE-PRESSURE
Chamber pressure maximum of 1.47 x 10^-5 psia (10^-6 atm) with temperature raised to 160 deg F
(71 deg C). The temperature shall then be lowered to 0 deg F (-18 deg C) in 45 minutes and raised
again to 160 deg F in 45 minutes. Fifteen more such cycles shall be completed.

4. RELATIVE HUMIDITY
A total time of 240 hours at temperatures varying between 68 deg F and 160 deg F (20 degC and 71
degC) in a relative humidity of at least 95%. The steam used must have a pH value between 6.5 and 7.5.

5. OXYGEN ATMOSPHERE
The test item shall be placed in an atmosphere of 100% oxygen at a pressure of 5.5 psia (0.35 atm)
for 48 hours. Performance outside of specification tolerance, visible burning, creation of toxic gases,
obnoxious odours, or deterioration of seals or lubricants shall constitute failure to pass this test. The
ambient temperature shall be maintained at 160 deg F (71 degC).

6. SHOCK
Six shocks of 40 g’s, each 11 milliseconds in duration, in six different directions.

7. ACCELERATION
The equipment shall be accelerated linearly from 1 g to 7.25 g within 333 seconds, along an axis
parallel to the longitudinal spacecraft axis.

8. DECOMPRESSION
Ninety minutes in a vacuum of 1.47 x 10^-5 psia (10^-6 atm) at a temperature of 160 deg F
(71 degC) and 30 minutes at 200 deg F (93 degC).

9. HIGH PRESSURE
The equipment to be subjected to a pressure of 23.5 psia (1.6 atm) for a minimum period of one hour.

10. VIBRATION
Three cycles of 30 minutes (lateral, horizontal, vertical), the frequency varying from 5 to 2,000 cps
and back to 5 cps in 15 minutes. Average acceleration per impulse must be at least 8.8 g.

11. ACOUSTIC NOISE
130 db over a frequency range from 40 to 10,000 Hz, duration 30 minutes.

Thanks to its accuracy, reliability and sturdiness, the Omega Speedmaster Professional not only survived all NASA lab tests, but continued to be an essential instrument in the exploration of Space for next decade.

Omega has been trading on the success of this icon by releasing a slew of “Special Edition” watches and there are even models available today that come with sapphire crystal of the original acrylic. (I would not be caught dead using the former)

Whichever variation you prefer, these watches are unique and can be bought for as little as $2000. Definitely a “must-have” in your average enthusiasts collection.

1 Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Ray on Time » Watches worn in outer space

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*