Out of all the celebrated timepieces created by Swiss watchmaker Omega, its Speedmaster models carry an extra bit of prestige. With its status as the first watch certified by NASA and worn on the moon, the Speedmaster cemented its legacy as one of the most important chronographs ever made. Every piece in the legendary line built on the success of its predecessors, leaving lasting impressions on the industry still felt to this day.
1. Speedmaster CK 2915 (1957)
It all started rather inconspicuously in 1957, when the brand released its first line of “professional” watches — the Seamaster, Railmaster and Speedmaster. The inaugural Speedmaster, titled CK 2915, was originally marketed to car enthusiasts to help measure land speed. The timepiece was one of the first watches to place its tachymeter outside the dial, now a standard aesthetic for chronographs, and became one of Omega’s best-selling watches overnight.
2. Speedmaster CK 2998 (1959)
The brand revised the design in 1959 with the CK 2998, retaining the same case and manual-wound calibre 321, but introducing new “Alpha” design hands. It was eventually purchased by astronauts Walter “Wally” Schirra and Leroy “Gordo” Cooper in 1962, becoming the first timepiece ever worn in outer space — long before NASA officially selected it for space missions.
3.Speedmaster ST 105.003 (1965)
The next years in the Speedmaster’s history were arguably its greatest ever. In 1964, without informing Omega headquarters in Switzerland, the brand’s American distributor responded to a request for chronographs by NASA. It sent over a handful of Speedmaster ST 105.003 models, which were rigorously tested by NASA and eventually became the first timepieces ever certified by the American space agency for its manned space programs. The ST 105.003 went on to be the first watch ever worn outside of a space capsule during the Gemini 4 mission in 1965. All of this without Omega HQ’s knowledge.
4. Speedmaster ST 145.012 (1967)
Further iterations of the watch, the ST 105.012 and ST 145.012, improved its design, precision and consistency. These were the last models to use the brand’s patented calibre 321 — cementing its legacy as the movement that guaranteed perfect timing on all six lunar landings.
5. Speedmaster ST 145.022 (1968)
In 1968, Omega introduced the calibre 861 with the Speedmaster ST 145.022, a game-changing new movement that remains the foundation of the Speedmaster “Moonwatch” to this day.
6. Speedmaster Mark II (1969)
A year later, the brand made significant changes to the Speedmaster’s case, ushering in the second generation of the iconic line — the Speedmaster Mark II. Powered by the new calibre 861, the watch’s barrel-shaped case, also referred to as the “Pilots’ Line” case, was the product of a secret project by Omega to strengthen the Speedmaster for prolonged use on the moon’s surface.
7. Speedmaster 125 (1973)
But arguably the most noticeable redesign of the watch came in 1973 with the launch of the Speedmaster 125, a 2000-piece-only release to celebrate the brand’s 125th anniversary. Powered by the new calibre 1041, it was the world’s first automatic chronograph officially certified as a chronometer, and is still a collectors’ favourite to this day.
8. Speedmaster X-33 (1998)
The watch’s time in outer space wasn’t over, however. In 1998, the X-33 was released, a hybrid chronograph with an array of digital functions to be used by astronauts in the International Space Station and Russian Space Station. The timepiece’s release was broadcast over international television with astronauts in the Russian Space Station handling it as they communicated with Mission Control below.
9. Speedmaster 57 Omega Co-Axial Chronograph (2013)
Fifteen years after that moment, in 2013, two more Speedmaster models added new pages to the line’s legendary history. First, the Speedmaster 57 Omega Co-Axial Chronograph, designed to mimic the very first Speedmaster from 1957, became the first watch to feature the brand’s exclusive in-house co-axial calibres, making it one of the most reliable movements in Speedmaster history.
10. Speedmaster “Dark Side of the Moon” (2013)
That same year, the brand released its Speedmaster “Dark Side of the Moon”, a black ceramic version of the watch originally outfitted with its co-axial calibre 9300/9301 — a tribute to the Apollo missions that took humans beyond the moon and back to earth.
With each new Speedmaster comes a new chapter in watchmaking history — not just for Omega, but the industry as a whole. The line’s connection to the most important space missions ever has pushed Omega’s watchmakers to develop timepieces that can maintain unprecedented reliability and accuracy in the deadliest conditions known to man — a legacy that will surely inspire further innovations for decades to come.