Munich, 20 July 2009: Millions of nervous television viewers from all over the world watched in tense anticipation on the 21st of July 1969 as Neil Armstrong became the first human being ever to set foot on the Moon. At exactly 02:25:20 GMT, one of humanity’s great shared dreams was fulfilled and the three Apollo 11 astronauts successfully laid the cornerstone for NASA’s future lunar missions. However, the day didn’t only make legends of Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins – for on that day the OMEGA Speedmaster Professional became the first and only watch to be worn on the Moon.
In celebration of the event, OMEGA, the Swiss luxury watchmaker will present its exhibition “The 40th Anniversary of the Moon Landing” at KaDeWe in Berlin from July 20th to August 24, 2009. A large number of watches and other items, all of them with a connection to NASA’s lunar program, will be on display both in KaDeWe’s show windows and in its Theme Hall.
One of the exhibition’s highlights is a model of the first OMEGA wristwatch to be worn in space: the Speedmaster with the reference CK 2998, identical to the one worn by Walter Schirra during the Mercury Sigma 7 mission. Also on display will be the original Speedmaster watches astronauts Donn F. Eisele (Apollo 7) and Thomas Stafford (Gemini 9 and Apollo 10) had strapped to their wrists during their missions.
Along with the many different OMEGA Speedmaster “Moonwatches” on display at KaDeWe, visitors will have a chance to admire President John F. Kennedy’s original OMEGA “Ultra Thin”. The charismatic American president was a strong proponent of the space program during his short term of office. On the 25th of May, 1961, in an address to the Joint Houses of Congress, he spoke publicly for the first time about the potential and significance of a lunar landing: “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth.”
President Kennedy himself would not live to see his vision fulfilled only about eight years after he made his challenge. The American historian Arthur Schlesinger, talking about the importance of the Apollo 11 Mission, “The 20th Century will be remembered, when all else is forgotten, as the century when man burst his terrestrial bonds.” “And,” as Stephen Urquhart, the president of OMEGA has pointed out, “he did it wearing a Speedmaster.”
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