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Omega Speedmaster Professional: the Legend 3/4

Le 19 July 2015
Will
Will

Hei alle sammen,

Needless to say, the solid construction of this watch has strongly associated it with the conquest of space.
To better understand, let’s get into the details of its official punishment : a smack on the bottom worthy of the Père Fouettard (Father Whipper), finalised for the first time around 1965.I recall that this is based on the fact that the astronauts watch was supposed to accompany them during their spacial somersault in the cosmic vacuum of the dark and ruthless space: an hostile environment reserved for teflon balls where changes in temperature and particule bombardments are frequent.

  • According to NASA, a watch around the wrist is sufficient in the space. A watch that had its bun in the shade, suddenly finds itself ass naked, facing a merciless sun and a temperature rise of about 100 degrees, with a burning ultraviolet bombardment. Nothing is left to chance…

Omega Speedmaster Professional  (3)

The competitors were subject to pre-selection by mean of a strict primary accuracy and timing test.
It must also be understood that the order of the tests was meticulously prepared.

Here is the ass-kicking concocted by our little NASA’s white coats: 11 elaborate tortures that would appall the biggest mouths of watchmaking.
Of course, I present them to you in an evil manner:

 

  • 1) The tough resister: roasting of two days and nights at +71 degrees C., followed by half an hour of grill at +93 degrees C., all under a constant pressure of 0,35 atmosphere and a humidity that only the most frigid sisters can compete: between “dry” and only 15%.

 

  • 2) The polar punishment: 4 hours of isolation, freezing the balls at -18 degrees C without sealskin trunks nor without walrus blubber on the tits.

 

  •  3) The Finnish chamber: under a pressure of 6 to 10 atmospheres with a round trip slap between +71 degrees C and -18 degrees C, ¾ of an hour each, repeated 15 times, with no vodka and no beer!

 

  • 4) The diabolical butts: 10 days and nights spent in temperatures between +20 and +71 degrees C, with a suffocating damping of at least 95% moisture. Imagine a vacation in the tropical jungle teleported into a scorching desert…

 

  •  5) The waking of death: 2 days and 2 nights in an atmosphere of pure oxygen and under a constant pressure of 0,35 atmosphere at +71 degrees C. The spontaneous combustion is even tested…

 

  • 6) The penal colony belting: 6 punches of 40 Gs, each 11 thousandths of a seconds long and coming from  6 different cardinal points. Without mouth guard and box…

 

  • 7) The furious boot kick: linear acceleration from 1 to 7,25 Gs during about 6 minutes. Pants peeing forbidden.

 

  • 8) The fall into hell: decompression of an hour and a half in vacuum of 10 to 6 atmospheres, under a constant temperature of +71 degrees C, and sharp spike up to +93 degrees C for an extra half an hour, with no mint sweets to cool off.

 

  • 9) The Bogeyman’s closet: under 1,6 atmosphere of pressure for 1 hour. Toad explosion guaranteed after the decompression…

 

  • 10) The killer wank: acceleration of 8,8 Gs on intensive shakings of half an hour in 3 different directions, between 5 and 2000 hertz, repeated 3 times in a row, with a quarter of an hour’s cigaret break at 5 hertz.

 

  • 11) The Kraken’s cry: 130 decibels on a frequency from 40 to 10000 hertz for half an hour. Moby-Dick makes a floating chocolate cake.

Omega Speedmaster Professional  (1)

Final result of the tortures on the 3 watches in competition:

  • The Speedmaster Omega gets +21 minutes in the face during the “fall into hell” and reaches a depression of -15 minutes with “the furious boot kick”: let’s just say it did feel it… The test makes the dial lose its luminosity, but it survives and still has its chronograph functions.

 

  • The Rolex Daytona has 2 heart attacks between “the diabolical butts” and “the Finnish chamber”. The second hand goes soft and tangle with the other indicators in the dial, which is unacceptable for a chronograph, unless you want to recycle it into suppository for Vietnam War prisoner.

 

  • The Longines (Wittnauer) gets its crystal ejected during “the Bogeyman’s closet” and the torture of “the fall into hell”: total failure beacause the hands are exposed and would stop at every cockroach orgy on the dial.

You’ll notice that the violent heat-strokes cause some great damage during the tests, not to mention the impact of UV under real conditions. No ozon layer or 4000-index sun cream when we float in the interstellar space…

Omega Speedmaster Professional  (2)

In summary:

They all look terrible, but the Speedmaster still holds up with only +6 minutes in the ribs and a general functioning that satisfies NASA. In 1972 and 1978, NASA organised two new brutal tests with, respectively, 7 and 8 tortures, all quite similar to those of 1965, not less agressive.

Several Swiss brands were contacted, but it seems like some ploiticos intended to play the card of protectionism…

The government took this opportunity to put pressure on NASA which tried, after a fashion, to introduce a Swiss-American product to the astronauts. “Buy American” is a law that has to be applied.
So, the American Bulova entered the slapping dance in order to boost the reputation of the Nation. Omega didn’t panic:they ensured that the Speedmaster was 51% American-made in obedience to the prevailing American law.
The case was made by the yankees, the Swiss crystal assembled on the top of it in the same factory and the tests conducted by a company that was still American at that time: Hamilton. The movements, the dials, the hands and the final tests were made in Switzerland. The things we do to keep our bottom warm under the Florida sun!

Omega Speedmaster Professional  (5)

Let’s say Omega didn’t want to lose its contract, even if they supplied NASA with their watches for a small price, the equivalent of a few Californian peanuts: to be a winner, you have to lose something. We can’t swindle them just like that in this business: the Swiss are stubborn and they seriously brace themeselves. The tests revealed that the watches produced by Bulova were not up to meeting the challenge and ended up with 4 “heart attacks” in 1972.

this is what we call an epic fail.

In 1978, the tests were conducted for the first time in the USA and also in Switzerland by independant laboratories: yet we get the feeling that the confidence is falling as the political pressure of protectionism increases… But again, Bulova didn’t reach the level that qualifies a chronograph for the spacewalks.  They were declared the losers even before the finalisation of the tortures…

It is clear that NASA’s astronauts could also chose to wear some other watches in the controlled atmospheres of their space shuttle: everyone has the right to eat their powder bag with their Rolex… But during the heroic spacewalks out of the space shuttle or the station, the Omega’s Speedmaster professional was binding.

It hasn’t lost a hair on its bottom, as it still carries the flame of the official NASA spacewalks. It’s also become a classic. It should also be remembered that the history of the space conquest is as much a competition as an intense collaboration and NASA has never enjoyed a monopoly over the wild rides, neither has Omega. For their part, the cosmonauts, who were not Russian dolls by any stretch, used chronographs produced by Strella, Poljot, Sekonda until 1979. These are Russian chronographs with Swiss-made movements.: Venus and Valjoux variants.

Later, in 1989, the Siberian bears throat cutters adopted the Speedmaster-Pro too, and then opted for Fortis around 1994.

But all this is another story..

Vi snakkes!
Will.

Omega Speedmaster Professionelle (3)