Watch Speedmaster, steel, 1967, made by Omega in Biel.
Swiss National Museum

A Swiss watch on the moon

Andrej Abplanalp

Andrej Abplanalp

Historian and communications chief of the Swiss National Museum.

When the American astronaut Buzz Aldrin walked on the surface of the moon on 21 July 1969, he was wearing an Omega Speedmaster wristwatch. Originally, Neil Armstrong was supposed to wear a similar watch when, prior to Aldrin, he became the first human being to set foot on the moon. However, after the moon lander’s clock broke during the approach, Armstrong decided to leave his Speedmaster in the lander just to be on the safe side.

These watches, made in the Swiss city of Biel, had been chosen by the US space agency NASA because of their superior quality. Omega watches were simply better than any competing timepiece and the Speedmaster, made in the Swiss canton of Berne, was the only model that was found to be spaceworthy after stringent testing. The watches were tested under conditions of zero gravity, extreme temperatures, and high acceleration. Thus the Omega Speedmaster became the only representative of Switzerland ever to reach the moon.

https://youtu.be/S9HdPi9Ikhk?t=213

The first steps on the moon.
NASA/YouTube

Jim Ragan had to find the best watch for the trip to the moon.
Omega/YouTube

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Swiss National Museum
Landesmuseum Zürich
Museumstrasse 2
P.O. Box
8021 Zurich
info@nationalmuseum.ch

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Swiss National Museum

Three museums – the National Museum Zurich, the Castle of Prangins and the Forum of Swiss History Schwyz – as well as the collections centre in Affoltern am Albis – are united under the umbrella of the Swiss National Museum (SNM).