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  [Discuss] Omega Speedmaster space watches (Page 7)

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Author Topic:   [Discuss] Omega Speedmaster space watches
Mike Dixon
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posted 07-17-2014 05:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mike Dixon   Click Here to Email Mike Dixon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
Here's Buzz modeling the new Apollo 11 45th anniversary Omega Speedmaster
I like that tie.

TLIGuy
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posted 07-20-2014 08:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for TLIGuy   Click Here to Email TLIGuy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Couldn't help but post this one today.

Philip
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posted 09-13-2014 04:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
New Speedmaster? Dark Side of the Moon?

MOL
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posted 09-13-2014 05:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MOL   Click Here to Email MOL     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Not new — it has been out for about six months. Best price I have ever seen for it is $10k. It retails for $12k!!

Philip
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posted 09-20-2014 01:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Not about being new but about mentioning the "dark side" of the Moon... they probably mean the far side of the Moon. LOL

toadboy65
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posted 09-30-2014 07:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for toadboy65   Click Here to Email toadboy65     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My wife gave me a Speedmaster for our wedding, 25 years ago. I wanted a watch that I could not kill, and I was keen on the Apollo connection as well. I have worn it high in the Himalayas and down to 250 feet underwater. I was wearing it in Mogadishu in 93, In Iraq one and two, across Southeast Asia and Africa. It is almost part of my anatomy. My spare watch is a Breitling Aerospace.

kr4mula
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posted 10-01-2014 02:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for kr4mula   Click Here to Email kr4mula     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Nice choices! My main watch is a Breitling Montbrillant Datora, but I'm keeping an eye out for the right vintage Speedy.

But it begs to ask...what is it that you do that takes you to all those places?

Tykeanaut
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posted 10-05-2014 08:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tykeanaut   Click Here to Email Tykeanaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Mike Dixon:
I like that tie.
They are available from The Space Shop at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.

Tykeanaut
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posted 10-12-2014 08:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tykeanaut   Click Here to Email Tykeanaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A quote from the book "Cold" by British explorer Ranulph Fiennes:
Watches destined for polar regions can be specially modified to withstand extremes of temperature. For example the Rolex Explorer II can upon request be equipped with a special lubricant that ensures that the watch is reliable in temperatures of minus 90 degrees C.
Did the Omega Speedmaster require any modifications such as this?

328KF
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posted 10-12-2014 12:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Speedmaster was used to help navigate to the North Pole on the 1968 Plaisted expedition. Reinhold Messner walked to the South Pole in 1989 wearing one. In both cases, temperatures were noted to be as low as -60 deg C.

Omega uses both expeditions in their advertising, but there is no mention of them being modified with special lubricants. A few years back Omega released the "Alaska Project" model which was essentially a standard watch with a special removable outer case.

The story goes that they were developing this as a model that could withstand extended periods in extreme cold, as would be encountered on lunar pole and crater explorations.

The Chinese developed the Fiyta "Spacemaster" for their first EVA. Among their claims, is that the manufacturer "invented a specially formulated lubricant which allows the watch to continue working... temperature range of -80° to +80° Celsius (a first in the world)."

TLIGuy
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posted 12-12-2014 01:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for TLIGuy   Click Here to Email TLIGuy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Does anyone have any insight into the relationship between NASA, the National Air and Space Museum, and the astronauts regarding the Speedmasters used on their individual missions? Was there a specific reason why the National Air and Space Museum chooses to keep possession/ownership of the watches and not allow them to be kept by the astronauts? I did have a conversation with the curator of personal equipment once and she said that the astronauts had a great personal connection to the watches they flew with.

I do know they are sometimes given out on loan to the astronauts for events, but what makes them different than other items they were allowed to keep possession of?

The reason I ask, is I was watching an old Apollo 8 lecture (2008) put on by the NASM and a question was asked about possession of items kept by the museum. The curator began to answer and Bill Anders spoke out and said "Like watches?" In response, both Borman and Lovell began to laugh. It sounded like the issue of the watches was a touchy subject. Borman's reaction was like "Oh no, here we go."

Again, just looking for a little bit more insight if more could be shared here.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-12-2014 07:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA, rather than the Smithsonian, made the decision to retain the Speedmasters as federal property.

Late in the Apollo program, memos were exchanged between the Johnson Space Center and NASA Headquarters to establish what the space agency would retain for reuse or display and what it would release to the astronauts. The watches were grouped with other non-expendable equipment to be kept.

NASA later transferred ownership of the watches as a group to the Smithsonian, under its agreement with the institution concerning the preservation of space program artifacts. For many years after that though, the Smithsonian loaned the astronauts their Speedmasters for their personal use.

The Apollo 8 crew's comments may have come near the time the Smithsonian was recalling the loan of all the watches to enter the national collection.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-15-2014 08:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by 328KF:
On the watch blogs, some attendees at Baselworld have posted pics of the new iteration of the Speedmaster X-33, called the "Skywalker."
Omega on Dec. 11 formally announced the Speedmaster Skywalker X-33.
Omega's new Skywalker X-33 space watch features astronaut's invention

A European astronaut's idea for improving the wristwatches worn in space has become the basis for a new version of the timepiece first used on the moon.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-15-2014 08:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Omega has also announced the Speedmaster "Gray Side of the Moon," a watch "inspired by the lunar dust that has preserved mankind's first and last steps on the moon."
This 44.25 mm shimmering model is crafted from white ceramic that has been transformed through-and-through to a metallic grey. This addition to the iconic Speedmaster collection tells another story of the Apollo 8 mission and captures NASA astronaut Jim Lovell's words during the spacecraft’s lunar orbit: "The Moon is essentially grey."

TLIGuy
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posted 12-16-2014 06:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for TLIGuy   Click Here to Email TLIGuy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I just received notification that my new Skywalker just arrived at the boutique in Florence. I think this is a great update to the original X-33 and the GEN II version.

TLIGuy
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posted 12-30-2014 04:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for TLIGuy   Click Here to Email TLIGuy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Over in the Omega watch forums the question was asked about the second watch worn during Ed White's Gemini 4 EVA and I was hoping someone may have an answer for us.

In this image of Ed White suiting up you can see that he is wearing two Speedmasters. From what I have read, one of these two watches eventually went on to be worn during the Apollo 1 fire and then eventually passed onto the family and then later sold at auction.

Does anyone know what became of the second watch he was wearing? Is it a valid assumption that the second watch went back into NASA inventory and eventually issued and used by another astronaut?

Larry McGlynn
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posted 12-30-2014 08:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Larry McGlynn   Click Here to Email Larry McGlynn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That's good question. I checked my research library for any information regarding your question and have found the following information.

In 1976, Jim Ragan performed an inventory of the flown Omega Speedmaster chronographs at NASA. Jim and a gentleman named J. Taylor undertook a records search of all the Omega watches in their possession. Unfortunately, the inventory starts with Gemini 5. Gemini 3 and Gemini 4 watches were not inventoried. The serial numbers for Gemini and Apollo chronographs begin with #2 (Lovell) and end with #82 (Kerwin).

The watches for the GT-3 and GT-4 crews are not listed in the report although Young wore #3 on GT-10. There is a gap in the Gemini watch numbers between #4 and #9. Those might be the watches flown on GT-3 and GT-4.

There are two part numbers (suffix -001 & -002) for these watches that indicate that something was modified on the chronograph some time in 1966 for GT-12. That is too early for the calibre change from the 321 to the 861 which occurred in 1968.

The National Air and Space Museum has stated in the past that only two of the entire inventory of flown watches are missing. One is the Aldrin Apollo 11 watch, which was lost in the mail. The other missing chronograph is the Eisele Apollo 7 watch #34 which, according to a June 2007 Office of Inspector General investigative report, was stolen from an NASM exhibit in Ecuador in 1989.

I have contacted both the Omega Museum in Beinne CH and NASM for further information and am awaiting a response. White's NASA issued Omega Speedmaster may be in their possession.

TLIGuy
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posted 12-30-2014 09:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for TLIGuy   Click Here to Email TLIGuy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks you very much for the information.

Honestly, as a Speedmaster collector I have looked at the White image hundreds of times and never really noticed the second watch strap. It was not until the question came up today that I went looking for additional pre/post flight images that show the second watch. The above image was the only one I could find.

I appreciate your forwarding the question onto your contact and the NASM. It's possible we query the same person at the NASM and she is very responsive to the inquiries regarding the watches. I will wait to see if you get any additional information back. If you do, would you please share it here if possible.

Also, would you mind if I shared your additional information posted here?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-30-2014 09:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
According to the Spring 1999 (May 15-16, lot 398) Superior Galleries' catalog, the Omega Speedmaster worn by Ed White during Gemini 4 and then during the Apollo 1 fire was engraved "NASA 41987" and "S/N 1." Unfortunately, the auction listing doesn't provide an image of these inscriptions.

Superior reported the watch as sold (for $34,500) in its printed prices realized.

A 2006 inventory of astronaut-issued Omega Speedmasters prepared by Ricciardo Canova and Gino Balbi with help from then-National Air and Space Museum curator Amanda Young seems to suggest that neither White watch was (at least at that time) in the Smithsonian's collection.

TLIGuy
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posted 12-30-2014 10:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for TLIGuy   Click Here to Email TLIGuy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In the watch underworld we always refer back to this image of the White Speedmaster. Was this image not part of the Superior Auction catalog? If not, are you aware of its origin?

Regarding the NASA inventory list. My recent conversation with the current curator in charge of the collection said that this list is woefully outdated and that they were in the process of updating the list, documenting each one, and taking new photographs of the watches in the museums collection. They were hoping to have the collection available online in the near future. Thanks for you additional information.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-30-2014 10:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
No, the image does not originate from the catalog, which was in black and white. It may have very well come from Superior, possibly provided to the late Chuck Maddox.

Larry McGlynn
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posted 12-30-2014 12:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Larry McGlynn   Click Here to Email Larry McGlynn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Please feel free to use the information I posted here.

I have an email to write to the Omega Museum curator, because I was told (at some point) that the Omega Museum purchased White's watch at the Spring 1999 Superior auction. I have that catalog and can look that photo up later.

I assume that most collectors know that the hand applied NASA41987 number is not an official NASA part number. Part numbers were machined stamped on the watch back. That watch is probably White's personal watch. The markings remind me of how Ron Evans marked his watches that sold at Heritage. It would be interesting to see if NASA investigated the sale back in 1999.

TLIGuy
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posted 12-30-2014 12:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for TLIGuy   Click Here to Email TLIGuy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I believe this is the Superior auction page you and Robert are referring to. The description reads that it was his issued Speedmaster containing the hand engraving.

Maybe it's possible the hand engraving was quickly done for documentation before the mission and prior to the official batch of Speedmasters being delivered, stamped/engraved, and distributed to the astronauts.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-30-2014 05:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Larry McGlynn:
Part numbers were machined stamped on the watch back.
I've wondered when the stamped part numbers began. I once thought it might have coincided with the introduction of the "Professional" being added to the face of the watch, but Cooper's Gemini 5 Speedmaster (no Professional) had an SEB number assigned.

Seemingly White's Gemini 4 watch(es) did not have SEB number(s), or at least they were not stamped on the back.

Larry McGlynn
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posted 12-30-2014 08:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Larry McGlynn   Click Here to Email Larry McGlynn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The man who did the watch testing and 1976 inventory, James Ragan, is still around. He might be able to tell us why the 1976 inventory only starts with the GT-5 watches.

freshspot
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posted 12-31-2014 09:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for freshspot   Click Here to Email freshspot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Interesting discussion on the flown Speedy's.

I recently acquired into my collection a model ST 105.012. This version, with a 321 Calibre movement, was worn by both Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin during Apollo 11 and was the same model used by astronauts during similar era missions.

My example has a slightly worn bezel. The face has some interesting toning which changes the dial from black to brownish. It did not come with an original band, so I put a modern Omega brown band on it and it looks terrific.

You can see it on my site.

Larry McGlynn
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posted 12-31-2014 04:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Larry McGlynn   Click Here to Email Larry McGlynn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have contacted Omega for the contact information of Jim Ragan. If I get it, then I will ask him about the GT-3 and GT-4 mission watches. He might remember.

Nice watch David.

LM-12
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posted 12-31-2014 09:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here is a photo of Jim Ragan in the clean room with one of the Omega watches.

levasseurj
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posted 01-02-2015 10:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for levasseurj   Click Here to Email levasseurj     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just to chime here in some "official" way, I'm the NASM curator for the chronographs. Jim Ragan and I are working hand-in-hand on the new documentation of the collection, and I'm verifying the White story with him before I comment much more. We were never offered S/N 1 as part of the 1970s transfer as I believe it was retained by his family after the fire. Regarding the photo, I would suggest that one of them is S/N 1 and the other is either his personal chronograph or another used in testing. Notice the difference in bands especially. Cooper's has the metal band, like that on White's wrist in the photo, which we don't often see in our objects but was common with those NOT worn on EVAs from what I understand. Again, let me check in with Jim and clarify the story, which he has explained to me before but I'd rather get it right for all of you.

328KF
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posted 01-02-2015 02:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
On the issue of the watchband, as you can see in the auction listing above, the White chronograph was offered without a band.

For those here who have the Spacecraft Films Apollo DVD, there is a clip of film in there relevant to this discussion. It shows the disassembly area of the spacecraft, with the now familiar tables laid out around the room corresponding to various sections of the spacecraft.

On the table holding White's couch, above the headrest, is his chronograph with what appears to be the velcro strap. It's severely damaged and curled up, and likely not considered to be slavageable at the time. I have no idea why it was separated from the suit or why it was placed there for the investigation.

I can only assume that perhaps the band was damaged enough to fall off of the suit, and the investigators found it in the floor of the ship around the hatch area. They would then place it on the table corresponding to where it was found.

Larry McGlynn
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posted 01-03-2015 08:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Larry McGlynn   Click Here to Email Larry McGlynn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
White does look like he is wearing a metal JB Champion watch bracelet in the photo. That became a standard for the astronauts in the 60's. The JB Champion bracelet could be broken away in the event that it got caught on an object during an emergency.

One thing that is great about a JB Champion bracelet is that you don't have to shave your wrist, because it rips all the hair off during daily use.

TLIGuy
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posted 01-03-2015 12:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for TLIGuy   Click Here to Email TLIGuy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have to respectfully disagree that one of the straps seen in the above White image is a JB Champion mesh bracelet.

In the image of the suiting up Shepard is wearing his Bulova Accutron Astonaut watch on a metal bracelet which is also the same watch Cooper wore on Faith 7 along with a Speedmaster. Cooper's Speedmaster on Faith 7 was fitted to a NASA Velcro strap S/N 16 that was sold in 2012. The straight end JB Champion was fitted to his personal Bulova for his Faith 7 flight.

I have looked at countless images of astronaut wrists because my only focus in space collecting is the NASA era Speedmasters. The JB Champion bracelet has a very distinct look and can easily be identified by the horned or straight end pieces and the distinct clasp it carries. I just don't think that is what he's wearing.

In NASA image S65-29660, McDivitt is wearing one Speedmaster on each arm, both on olive/black colored Velcro straps. White is wearing the same but both on his left arm.

I hope my post does not offend more knowledgeable experts but I believe this observation is correct.

Larry McGlynn
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posted 01-03-2015 10:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Larry McGlynn   Click Here to Email Larry McGlynn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
No offense taken. The photo that you show of White walking to the elevator on launch day does show two Velcro straps.

The photo in your original email shows what looks like a metal bracelet on the watch on White's glove. On close examination of the watch lugs it appears to be a spring end link and part of the clasp button that is similar to a JB Champion 19mm bracelet. My blow up of the photo is fuzzy, but it looks like the shape of a JB Champion spring end link that would fit a pre-moon Speedmaster references ST105.003 or ST105.012 as well as the later ST145.012. White wore a case reference ST105.003 version of the Speedmaster.

The band does not appear to be similar to the Velcro band. Unfortunately, my close up is fuzzy, so I could be incorrect.

TLIGuy
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posted 01-04-2015 02:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for TLIGuy   Click Here to Email TLIGuy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks Larry for your continued interest is helping me out.

With my old eyes the watch closest to the hand and strapped to the gloved wrist area is on the Velcro strap. What appears to possibly be the unique JB end pieces is the rectangular steel pass through loop on the end of the Velcro strap.

Hopefully soon one of your sources may be able to shed a little more light on the watch and strap.

Again, thanks to all who take an interest in this subject. I'm always afraid to extend my stay and rub more knowledgeable members the wrong way.

Larry McGlynn
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posted 01-04-2015 07:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Larry McGlynn   Click Here to Email Larry McGlynn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you for the photo which is much much clearer than the photo that I had. Without a doubt that is a Velcro strap. What threw me off was the metal loop pass through that is close to the lugs of the watch. Due to the fuzzy quality of my photo, it appeared to me to be part of the spring end link of a metal bracelet.

We will find out the answer to what happened to the GT-3 and GT-4 watches. There is an answer and we just have to search in the right places.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-08-2015 09:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Not to distract from the discussion of White's Speedmaster(s), but I thought these photos would be of interest.

As part of their sponsorship of the National Air and Space Museum's new exhibit "Outside the Spacecraft: 50 Years of Extra-Vehicular Activity," Omega crafted an "exploded view" display for the Speedmaster chronograph. The unique presentation is exhibited next to the Speedmaster Harrison Schmitt wore on Apollo 17.

Photos credit: Dane Penland/Smithsonian

Larry McGlynn
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posted 01-08-2015 11:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Larry McGlynn   Click Here to Email Larry McGlynn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Robert, that is a great display.

TLIGuy
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posted 01-08-2015 02:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for TLIGuy   Click Here to Email TLIGuy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have to say the NASM and Omega really out did themselves on the Omega portion of the exhibit. Really nice to see the results of the work and effort they put into this display.

Kizzi
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posted 01-08-2015 03:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kizzi   Click Here to Email Kizzi     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
I've wondered when the stamped part numbers began.
Here's my theory of when the part number SEB12100039-001 engraving occurred on Speedmasters.

It was after the Apollo 1 fire, when there was a shake up of the safety management procedures on the Apollo program. What went into the space capsule had to be specified and documented, tallied to stowage lists and and performance discrepancy reports filed. Stowage lists of part numbers in the spacecraft exist for all post Apollo 1 manned launches, and discrepancy reports exist based on part number. It was the only way to keep track of such a complex program.

So, for example, Collins' and Young's Speedmasters were flown without part numbers on Gemini 10 and Gemini 3 respectively, but engraved later for their Apollo missions. Cooper never flew on Apollo, and maybe watch engraving with the new part number were done on confirmed flights.

This only applied to SEB12100039-001 which is for case 105,003. For case 105,012 at least, the dash number is -002.

Incidentally, the part numbers have nothing to do with NASA's "selection evaluation board." For example, other three character prefixes exist such as SLB16100920-303 (headsets) or SKB32100082-371 (lunar surface maps) or SEF33101018-305 (Hasselblad camera) and SED33110636-301 (Carl Zeiss lens).

My understanding is as follows:

CF55032 - Longines
CF55033 - Omega
CF55034 - Rolex

  • First Letter: S- NASA designation

  • Second letter: Type of engineering drawing (i.e. documentation)

    Mandatory but open to interpretation based on supplying division. Most common seems to be catch-all "E". E= Assembly drawing (assembled relationship, both separable and inseparable). Others seen:

    L= Source control (e.g. manufacture's specification)
    K= Drawings in book form.
    H= Wiring harness set up.

  • Third Letter: Supplying Division (according to stowage lists for Apollo), e.g.

    B = Crew Systems
    D = Space Physics

    After Apollo, indicated Program (e.g. C= Skylab, F= ASTP, D = Space Shuttle, Z= multiprogram)

  • First/second numbers, use. e.g.

    12 = Crew Personal Equipment
    16 = Operational comms
    40 = Survival

  • 8 digit number and dash number - unique ID and sub configuration

levasseurj
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posted 01-14-2015 09:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for levasseurj   Click Here to Email levasseurj     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just to follow up with my promised response on the Ed White pre-flight photo. I confirmed that S/N 5 was assigned to White and was worn on Gemini IV. He later had it on during the fatal fire and it was kept with the other spacecraft materials, from what we know. He does appear to be wearing an additional Omega in that photograph, and others photos in-flight show it to some degree. I would only be guessing as to its status, since astronauts did have assigned training and flight chronographs, but he wasn't the only Gemini astronaut to wear two chronographs during an EVA.

I'm happy to hear our display is going over well. Omega is a great supporter of the Museum and the Omega Museum has done an outstanding job providing us with information and their expertise.


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