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  2. History of Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch

    History of Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch

    No watch has ever played such a pivotal role in human achievement as the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch. Omega introduced the Speedmaster in 1957. A few imagined it would be the watch that would accompany some of the most daring moments in human history. In fact, no timepiece has played such a pivotal role in some of humankind’s greatest achievements. The Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch has been a part of all six NASA manned lunar missions since 1969. That’s a pretty impressive representation of Omega’s pioneering spirit.  The Speedmaster Moonwatch as the first chronograph to include a tachymeter scale on the bezel. This was a revolutionary idea that has set the benchmark for all chronographs to this day. Omega conceived the model to measure elapsed times and speeds in a high-precision manner. There was also an emphasis on durability in different situations in a model that was easy to read and use. The Space Race During this time, the USA and the USSR were in the midst of a technological and patriotic showdown. At the height of the cold war, the two opposing supernations were neck and neck to see who could advance further into the realm of manned space exploration. In his address to Congress on May 25, 1961, President Kennedy made clear America’s ambitions to land a man on the moon and return him safely to earth before the end of the decade. At the time, the moon seemed like an unthinkable target, but one that would surely go a long way in conquering space. The Omega Speedmaster made its unofficial voyage into space in 1962 during NASA’s Project Gemini, one of America’s first manned space missions. Astronaut Walter Schirra wore his personal CK 2998 Speedmaster onboard the Stigma 7 Mercury spacecraft that orbited earth six times, a flight that lasted 9 hours and 15 minutes. Shortly after, there was an official petition signed by the astronauts for wristwatches as part of their equipment. The space explorers needed backup timing devices that were durable enough to handle the elements of the universe and equipped with a chronograph that was precise and accurate. With this in mind, NASA set into motion the search for the perfect timepiece. Tested to Withstand the Universe In addition to Omega, NASA invited many reputable watchmakers including Wittnauer, Rolex and Longines to the testing. Led by aerospace engineer and hardware expert James H. Ragan, the models in question were first exposed to temperatures that ranged from 0ºF (-18ºC) to 200ºF (93ºC). Also violent shocks, extreme pressure variations, bone-jarring vibrations and tested under zero gravity. The only watch to come out on the other side was the Omega Speedmaster, which was declared “flight qualified by NASA for all manned space missions” on March 1, 1965. Omega SpeedmasterJust three weeks later, the Speedmaster made its first official trip into space. It was on the wrists of Virgil Grissom and John Young during the Gemini 3 mission. On June 3 of the same year, the Speedmaster made another appearance. This time on the wrist of Edward White while he performed America’s first spacewalk during the Gemini 4 mission. Unlike almost all the equipment NASA provided their astronauts, the Speedmaster was not designed specifically for use in harsh environments of outer space. In fact, the timepieces remained largely unchanged to those that were available in retail stores across the world. The only exception was that a velcro strap replaced the steel bracelet in order to fit over the padded suits of the astronauts. Apollo 11 The Speedmaster was again chosen for the daring Apollo 11 mission. On July 16, 1969, the Apollo blasted off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Four days later, commander Neil Armstrong and pilot Buzz Aldrin landed the Eagle lunar module on the surface of the moon in the Sea of Tranquility. Nearly 600 million viewers back on earth were glued to their television sets. Armstrong descended the ladder utter the immortal words: “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Aldrin touched the surface shortly after wearing no other than his trusty Speedmaster on the outside of his suit. From that day forward, the Speedmaster has been dubbed the “moonwatch” for its role in one of the greatest scientific achievements in human history. Apollo 13 The Omega Speedmaster was more than simply present during these space missions. The electronic timekeeping mechanisms on board were damaged after the explosion of an oxygen tank. “Houston, we’ve had a problem” commander James Lovell muttered. It was initially supposed to be a moon landing. The Apollo 13 was forced to abandon their mission due to a dangerously low supply of power and fuel following the blast. It was one of the most heightened situations of the 20th century. Lovell was forced to resort to his mechanical self-winding Speedmaster chronograph. He used it to time the critical firing of the re-entry rockets. This allowed for the safe return of his crew to planet Earth. In recognition of its crucial role, Omega received the Silver Snoopy award in 1970. It’s the highest honor awarded by NASA astronauts for achievements made in the realm of human flight safety and mission success. The Legend Lives On In 1975, the Speedmaster found itself again as the center of another momentous geopolitical moment in world history. During the Apollo-Soyuz mission, when the Apollo rocket docked with the Soviet Union’s Soyuz in space for a handshake. American astronauts were delighted to see that Soviet astronauts were also wearing the Omega Speedmaster Chronographs. The Omega Speedmaster was the first modern-day chronograph ever built. But it’s played a vital role in space exploration for nearly its entire existence.  It’s been reincarnated in the form of many special editions watches. It’s the nearly identical standard Professional that remains the most iconic today.

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  3. 7 Popular Watch Brands That Sell More Than Just Watches

    7 Popular Watch Brands That Sell More Than Just Watches

    One battle of philosophy that is often discussed in our culture is specialization vs. generalization. We talk about it in the context of sports, career, and much more. But what about the watch world? Lets take a look at some popular watch brands that produces more than just watches. You might assume that companies that produce a wide range of goods do not create timepieces of specialist caliber. The truth is that when you take a closer look, you find highly respected watch companies that also manage to thrive in other areas too. Popular Watch Brands 1: Montblanc Montblanc was actually first known as a luxury pen manufacturer. Despite their roots, they decided to branch out into other lines of products. One of the moves they made that has been incredibly successful is producing watches, which started in 1997. In the beginning, management received snarky questions from the timepiece community like, “where does the ink go?” Still, they persisted in creating this facet of their company and have proven the naysayers wrong by becoming a respected name in the watch community. In addition to watches and pens, they also sell notebooks, paper, leather goods, jewelry, and more. 2: Cartier Next on our list is Cartier, which is one of the top names in luxury watches. What makes this brand unique is that if you ask ten different people what they do, you might get ten different answers. Some would point to their well-respected timepieces as their primary skill. Others would talk about their extensive jewelry catalog, engagement rings, leather goods, or sunglasses. Ultimately, Cartier has found a way to master the entire fashion accessories business, and their brand has grown accordingly. One non-watch item that people adore is their Love Bracelets. The reason is that it has a lock and a key. When someone gives it as a gift, they often keep the key as a symbol of their love. 3: Chopard Like the others on this list, Chopard is one of the best watch manufacturers in the world. That doesn’t mean they are a specialist, though. Instead, they produce rings, earrings, necklaces, and other accessories. One thing that has made them especially popular is their themed jewelry collections. One of them is named “Ice Cube,” and it features grooves that give the items a block-like aesthetic. Many of those pieces contain large diamonds too. Another is the “Happy Hearts” collection, which offers hundreds of pieces of jewelry that have hearts incorporated in them. 4: Ulysse Nardin Though casual watch enthusiasts may not know this brand, it is a favorite among collectors. One reason why is its extended history. Like Montblanc, they also make exceptional luxury pens. It was founded all the way back in 1846 in Le Locle, Switzerland. In 1865, they moved to a new building to carry out their manufacturing needs. If you visit the company today, they will be working in that very same spot. The pen market is somewhat small, but the members of it are passionate about which brands are excellent and which are not. When you talk to these enthusiasts, you find that Ulysse Nardin is near the top of their list. 5: Fossil Moving on to a more affordable brand, we have Fossil. This company has built a reputation for both quality and affordability. Many of their pieces are well-made quartz watches, but they also have some mechanical models that are worth your attention. Besides timepieces, they sell three items: Bags, wallets, and jewelry. Additionally, each of these categories comes with men’s and women’s options. Some of the most popular of these items are purses, messenger bags, leather wallets, bracelets, and necklaces. All of these choices combine to make Fossil an excellent place to shop for just about anybody. 6: MVMT MVMT is one of the fastest growing watch brands in the world. Though some gripe about their prices being a bit too high, most agree that these pieces are stylish and relatively affordable. Additionally, they have one of the most attractive brand aesthetics out there, and the millennial age range is responding. Recently, they added sunglasses to their shop as well. These pieces are an excellent deal because they use high-quality acetate and offer polarized lenses. Lastly, they have started to sell women’s bracelets too, which are affordable and attractive. 7: Nixon Though this brand does not show up on “top watch” lists, it is incredibly popular with young people. In fact, many clothing stores like Val Surf and PacSun only sell Nixon. They primarily offer simple, minimalist watches, but also have a few digital pieces that customers love. In addition to timepieces, they sell bags, clothing, and accessories. One move they have made recently is producing Star Wars and Mickey Mouse themed products. If you’re a fan of those two iconic cultural elements, then this brand is an excellent choice. Popular Watch Brands Conclusion The battle between those that specialize and those that do not largely misses the point. What you should do instead is focus on the product you want and judge a company based on how they make it. An added benefit of choosing one on this list is that if you fall in love with them, they have an extensive catalog that can satisfy your other interests too.

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  4. History of Rolex: Why They’re One of the Best

    History of Rolex: Why They’re One of the Best

    Between athletes, actors, CEOs and everyone in between, it seems like almost every person that has a passion (and is willing to spend the money) for watches is a Rolex owner. It is natural to wonder why this is, and where it all began. You might ask, “Was it just a big marketing scheme, or is the respect that Rolex receives well deserved?” Below, we detail the a brief history of Rolex and get into why this famous Swiss manufacturer deserves every bit of the credit it gets. History of Rolex Watches What is the history of Rolex? When did Rolex come out? At the young age of 24, Hans Wilsdorf founded a timepiece company. This business was not Rolex, though. At first, it was only a distributor of watches, not a designer or producer. Still, he had bigger dreams. What he wanted most was to not only dominate, but practically build the wristwatch market from the ground up. The reason he had this opportunity was that, at the time, pocket watches still had supremacy due to style trends and superior function. To counteract this trend, he first targeted the issue of reliability. Where is Rolex made? This entailed him partnering with the Swiss manufacturer Bienne to create an incredibly precise movement that could, unlike his competitors, fit in the small package that is a wristwatch. When choosing the now iconic name “Rolex,” Rolex founder Wilsdorf spent many hours combining various letters of the alphabet in endless combinations. Instead of selecting an existing word, he wanted to dream one up that would become a powerful, singular brand. Eventually, he came up with the name we all know today. The history of Rolex is one you should know about. The Rolex brand was not built with just a name, though. What came next was carrying out the task of creating incredibly precise movements for wristwatches, something that had not been done before. Within just a few years, that goal was met, as Rolex watches began receiving certificates of precision from various watch rating organizations. Eventually, Wilsdorf settled his company in the famous watchmaking city of Geneva. History of Rolex, Creating a Tradition of Excellence Though waterproof watches are commonplace in the modern age, they were not during the early history of Rolex. This is why the creation of the waterproof “Oyster” model was such an achievement. To prove their point, Rolex outfitted Mercedes Gleitze with one and had her swim across the English Channel. At the end of the 10-hour journey, the watch was still in working condition. If you have an automatic watch, you likely never wind it by hand. That said, if you lived in the early 1900’s, this would not be the case. That is why when Rolex invented their self-winding mechanism in 1931, which changed the entire wristwatch world. This is now standard in every automatic watch, but it all started with Rolex watches. Around this time, as a brand, Rolex company also began outfitting race car drivers and pilots with their shockingly versatile timepieces. The result was a further refining of their products and a significant amount of advertising material. One of these drivers was Sir Malcolm Campbell, one of the most famous of all time. Domination of Land and Sea The next era of Rolex is defined by its creation of watches that could withstand the elements. That included a trip to Mt. Everest in 1953, deep scuba dive expeditions to places like Marianas Trench, and transcontinental flights. Unlike every other manufacturer in the world, Rolex watches seemed invincible. This time in the Rolex story is also filled with the creation of some of their most iconic watches. Those included the Explorer, Submariner, GMT-Master, Day-Date, Cosmograph Daytona and Sea-Dweller models. Each of these pieces rose to the top of the watch market due to their aesthetics and capabilities. What happened next was the beginning of distinguished men and women choosing Rolex over every other brand. Separation From Competitors Starting in the 1970’s, Rolex began to truly dominate the luxury watch market. Not only did they design more famous models, such as the Yacht-Master, but their efforts to distinguish from other manufacturers began to take hold. One change they made at this time was using 904L steel, which is regarded as one of the best watchmaking materials in the world. In this era, Rolex rose above the crowded timepiece market and began to be a true icon. Widening the Gap In the modern era, Rolex is furthering their growth and tradition of excellence. First, they continue to improve their technology with innovations like the 4130 movement, cerachrom bezels, parachrom hairsprings, and even greater deep sea capabilities. Next, are innovating old models and creating new ones that dazzle the watch world. Lastly, the legend behind their brand continues to grow with the help of elite endorsements like the US Open, Formula 1, Wimbledon and many more. History of Rolex Conclusion Now that you know a bit about Rolex’s background and Rolex’s beginning, you can start to understand why it has perhaps the most esteemed reputation of any watch brand. What is so impressive about Rolex watches is that it never had any significant hiccups or setbacks. Instead, it has been an elite manufacturer since the very beginning and shows no signs of slowing down.

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