After NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection (DART) test that successfully hit an asteroid on Monday, Omega, famous for its moon clock, set its sights on the red planet with the launch of the Speedmaster X-33 Marstimer (US$6,400), which is produced in partnership with NASA. European Aerospace (ESA).
Measuring 45mm, the grade 2 titanium chronograph is powered by the Caliber 5622, a high-precision thermo-compatible quartz movement that controls the digital and analog functions of the watch.
As its name suggests, the Speedmaster X-33 Marstimer not only tracks time across Earth time zones but also displays time on the surface of Mars, as well as a suite of science functions geared to space researchers (and enthusiasts) developed under the ESA’s patented license.
This includes the MTC (Mars Time Coordinator) function to track the Martian date and time at the prime meridian, which accounts for the fact that a day on Mars is 39 minutes longer than on Earth.
There is also a solar compass for finding true north on Earth and Mars. The wearer can also access applications available on a conventional Speedmaster Skywalker X33, such as MET (mission elapsed time), PET (phase elapsed time), alarms, and a perpetual calendar.
Despite its great technical core, the watch exudes a modern sense of style with a classic black dial that serves as a backdrop for multiple digital and analog readouts customized with Earth and Mars symbols so you can keep track of the functions in use.
The bezel ring in anodized anodized aluminum has a hematite red color that evokes the red planet’s characteristic dust, while the seconds hand turns from black to red, indicating the model’s professional hardware condition.
The case back is engraved with the iconic Omega Speedmaster label with the Seahorse logo in the center, surrounded by text that reads: “Speedmaster X-33 Marstimer, ESA Texted and Qualified,” as well as the ESA logo.
The Marstimer is equipped with a titanium bracelet, but it also comes with a NATO replacement strap and a strap change tool for a quick change. The piece comes packaged in a special watch roll with an inner lining depicting Hibis Chasma, a steep valley on the Red Planet.
The Omega Speedmaster was originally launched in 1957 as one of three instrument watches. Designed for the first time with motorsports in mind, the powerful chronograph features the ability to measure elapsed times with an accuracy of five seconds and a tachymeter scale on the bezel to calculate the speed.
In 1964, NASA conducted rigorous qualification tests to find a watch strong enough to withstand space. Of the three watches tested, only the 1965 Speedmaster mechanical chronograph (ST 105.003) survived. He was subsequently officially certified for all manned space missions and Extravehicular Activity (EVA), making him the official astronaut for the Gemini and Apollo missions.
Speedy, as it was called, made its first official spaceflight on the Gemini II mission in January 1965. But her true claim to fame came on July 21, 1969, when Neil Armstrong, dressed in Buzz Aldrin’s Speedmaster, took his fateful little step for humanity on the moon. And the model earned the nickname Moonwatch. In all, the Speedmaster has made six moon landings, as well as outfitted all US manned spaceflights dating back to 1965. Today, it remains the only watch officially certified by NASA and other international space agencies.
And now it is preparing to venture even further to Mars. NASA aims to launch astronauts to Mars in about two decades, but you don’t have to wait that long to wear the Marstimer watch, which is available now.
“Anyone interested in space, or even science fiction, is obsessed with Mars,” said Raynald Eichlemann, president and CEO of Omega, in a press release. “It generated so many curiosities, so many wonderful stories. We even created a name for its imaginary inhabitants. It’s so close yet. We yearn to walk across its surface. Being here on Earth and being able to track its movements gives the term hour a whole new meaning” .