The astronaut and the watchmaker commemorate the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11
Tokyo welcomed Buzz Aldrin, the Apollo 11 Lunar Module pilot and the second man to walk on the Moon to a press event at the OMEGA Boutique in the Ginza Prefecture on June 17th.
Dr. Aldrin has enjoyed a long association with OMEGA: when he stepped on to the lunar surface on the 20th of July 1969, the OMEGA Speedmaster chronograph strapped around his spacesuit became the first watch to be worn on the Moon. Neil Armstrong had left his own Speedmaster aboard the Lunar Module to serve as a reliable backup to the craft’s electronic timing system.
Buzz Aldrin was joined at the press conference by Stephen Urquhart, the president of OMEGA and James Ragan, the NASA engineer who was responsible for the testing process which led to the Speedmaster’ selection as the only watch qualified for all of NASA’s manned space flights. The Speedmaster has been part of every mission since May of 1963.
The astronaut described his memories of the 1969 mission which made him and Armstrong such an important part of the history of exploration and expressed his hope that the world will again become as enthusiastic about space travel as it was forty years ago. Buzz Aldrin has a doctorate in astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and is a passionate advocate for space tourism.
Ragan spoke with equal enthusiasm about his long career at NASA and the OMEGA Speedmaster he helped put on the Moon. He commented, “To the best of my knowledge, the Speedmaster is the only piece of hardware which was used from the very beginning (of the Apollo program) without any modification.”
Talking about the importance of Apollo 11 to his brand, OMEGA’s president Urquhart said, “None of OMEGA’s milestones in the past 161 years can surpass the one reached in July of 1969 when Buzz Aldrin, wearing a Speedmaster ,first set foot on another world. For nearly half a century, our close association with NASA has been a source of enormous pride and pleasure.”
At the end of the press conference, Buzz Alrdin signed a presentation box containing an OMEGA Speedmaster Apollo 11 “40th Anniversary” Limited Edition watch.
In the evening, OMEGA hosted a dinner for Buzz Aldrin, Jim Ragan, and invited guests.
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