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12 February 2001

Russian Space Agency donates three very special watches to the OMEGA Museum

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OMEGA is particularly proud to announce the latest additions to the collection at the OMEGA Museum. Having spent three years on board the MIR space station, the watches returned safely to Earth with the last permanent crew to leave the station. They will now join numerous other space-related exhibits at the museum, where they will serve as a lasting reminder of OMEGA's strong association with space exploration.

The MIR space station was permanently occupied for nearly 10 years, from 7 September 1989 until 28 August 1999. It welcomed numerous crews from many nations and served as a valuable research platform in space. The unmanned Russian cargo spacecraft Progress M-37, launched on 20 December 1997 at 08.45 GMT, delivered three OMEGA Speedmaster Professional watches to the station. One of the watches, the Speedmaster Professional "Moon Watch", has a considerable space pedigree, earning its nickname as the only watch to be worn on the moon, it was also the only watch to be flight-qualified by NASA for manned spaceflight missions and extra-vehicular (EVA) use. The other two watches were Speedmaster Professional X-33 multifunction quartz watches, developed in conjunction with astronauts, cosmonauts and professional pilots specifically to meet the requirements for use in space and chosen as the official watch of the MIR space station.



The watches were used as the main time reference on board the MIR space station and their presence offered a unique launch opportunity for OMEGA, with the X-33 presented to the world's public live from MIR at the International Watch Clock and Jewellery Show in Basel, Switzerland on 25 April 1998. Ever since, MIR crews have come and gone, but the watches have remained. Their 616-day presence in space long exceeded even the record-breaking space residence of cosmonaut Valeri Vladimirovich Polyakov, who stayed on board MIR for an astonishing 437 days 17 hours 58 minutes and 31 seconds!



On the 38th expedition to MIR, the Soyuz TM 29 spacecraft, which left the station on 28 August 1999, brought with it MIR's last permanent crew together with these 3 OMEGA watches. All three watches are still in perfect working order and had been in space for over three years without any servicing. The "Moon Watch" had even completed 5 EVAs on the wrist of cosmonaut Talgat Musabayev, one of the crew who presented the X-33 live from MIR in 1998.



There is of course only one appropriate new home for such watches - the OMEGA Museum at OMEGA Headquarters in Bienne, Switzerland. The watches will take their rightful place among numerous other exhibits which have helped to cement OMEGA's 150-year tradition as a manufacturer of reliable, high-precision timepieces that can withstand even the most extreme conditions known to mankind.

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