Swiss watch brand OMEGA has developed a new Speedmaster chronograph in partnership with ESA, the European Space Agency.
Since the 1960s, OMEGA has been strongly linked to NASA, the conquest of space and all six lunar landings. On 11 December, the brand announced that a new Speedmaster chronograph – the Speedmaster Skywalker X-33 – has been tested and qualified by the European Space Agency (ESA). OMEGA and ESA collaborated on the development of this unusual timepiece, which will be included in the standard equipment issued to astronauts by the space agency.
The Speedmaster Skywalker X-33 was subjected to and passed five sets of rigorous tests which included space radiation, depressurisation and repressurisation, intense vibrations simulating those that the cargo in a spacecraft would experience during launch, centrifuge tests with speeds reaching 5 Gs and 7 Gs, and performance analyses in extreme space vacuum temperatures ranging from –45 degrees Celsius to +75 degrees Celsius.
Designed especially for space explorers, the Speedmaster Skywalker X-33 evolved from the Speedmaster Professional X-33, which was released in 1998. The new Speedmaster Skywalker X-33 has been innovatively upgraded and, powered by an advanced quartz calibre, it was developed to meet the needs not only of astronauts but of anyone who can appreciate its impressive variety of functions.
The OMEGA Speedmaster Skywalker X-33 is powered by the multi-functional quartz chronograph movement, OMEGA calibre 5619, with a thermo-compensated integrated circuit. The new X-33 model has been tested and qualified by the European Space Agency and was developed under an ESA patent license based on an invention by astronaut Jean-François Clervoy.
The tests were performed sequentially and each timepiece was visually inspected and its functions were reviewed before and after each procedure.