Wednesday, March 2, 2011

First Watch on the Moon

As the years go by, and I edge, inexorably, towards forty years old (yikes!), I find myself attracted to all sorts of things that I never would have been attracted to in years past. Expensive watches seem to be the latest thing.

I love mechanical watches. There is just something about a device that requires no electrical power source to work. Poetry in the machine, I dunno.

Anyway, the Omega Speedmaster - that's what I want. It was worn during the first American spacewalk during Gemini 4 and was the first watch worn on the moon during Apollo 11. NASA was serious about making sure the watch could handle space. These are the conditions they subjected all the watches they tested to:
  • High temperature: 48 hours at 71° C followed by 30 minutes at 93° C
  • Low temperature: Four hours at -18° C
  • Temperature cycling in near-vacuum: Fifteen cycles of heating to 71° C for 45 minutes, followed by cooling to -18° C for 45 minutes at 10-6 atm
  • Humidity: 250 hours at temperatures between 20° C and 71° C at relative humidity of 95%
  • Oxygen environment: 100% oxygen at 0.35 atm and 71° C for 48 hours
  • Shock: Six 11ms 40 G shocks from different directions
  • Linear acceleration: from 1 to 7.25G within 333 seconds
  • Low pressure: 90 minutes at 10^-6 atm at 71° C followed by 30 minutes at 93° C
  • High pressure: 1.6 atm for one hour
  • Vibration: three cycles of 30 minutes vibration varying from 5 to 2000hz with minimum 8.8G impulse
  • Acoustic noise: 30 minutes at 130db from 40 to 10,000hz
The evaluation concluded in March 1965 with the selection of the Speedmaster, which survived the tests while remaining largely within 5 seconds per day rate.

I'm pretty sure the watch could handle whatever mundane nonsense I could throw at it. I mean, it could handle this:

I know there are other watches that get more notice these days - James Bond's Rolex Submariner leaps to mind, but for me, the Speedmaster is it.

1 comment:

Quicklyman said...

I do love the Speedmaster and the Submariner, although it has to ultimately be the Omega Seamaster and the Planet Ocean for me.