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Watches

Ryan Gosling wears Omega moonwatch in First Man

Spotted at the movies: Just like Neil Armstrong did, Ryan Gosling sports the 1968 Omega Speedmaster on his way to the moon

Nasa’s timepiece of choice: it has been used on every one of the American space folks’ piloted missions since 1965.

There’s a lot of Buzz Aldrin (sorry, not sorry) around Hollywood heart-throb Ryan Gosling’s upcoming role as Neil Armstrong in the Oscar-tipped First Man. For many reasons: It’s the second time Gosling will work with Damien Chazelle — the pair worked together on the six-Oscar award-winning La La Land. It could be a major shot for the Canadian actor at a Best Actor Academy Award. And it’s about an all American guy going to the moon… against all odds (*cue Phil Collins' impassiponed ballad in the background*). Your usual Hollywood hype. Star spangled stripes and all.

But for watch collectors and eagle-eyed horologists, the Silver Screen telling of the Apollo 11 mission is special for another reason. The model of Omega Speedmaster that Armstrong wore on the 1969 mission can also be seen on Gosling’s wrist throughout the film: or so the trailer shows us.

Nasa’s timepiece of choice: it has been used on every one of the American space folks’ piloted missions since 1965.

The Omega Speedmaster became the first ever timepiece to pass Nasa’s rigorous spaceflight tests and qualified for extravehicular activity (ETA) in 1965.

As such it was the first watch on the moon. Hence why it has become known as the “moonwatch” in common parlance. It’s Nasa’s timepiece of choice: it has been used on every one of the American space folks’ piloted missions since 1965.

As well as being known as “the most famous chronograph in the world”, the 42mm piece itself is a classic exercise in Omega’s watchmaking excellence.

Its black dial and tachymeter scale, set back against the Super-LumiNova indexes and central hour and minute hands makes it both stylish and practical in the extreme. A hesalite crystal protects the dial enhanced with a 30-minute recorder, 12-hour recorder and small seconds sub-dial. And the stainless steel case is presented on a matching bracelet or a black leather strap.

When the piece was redesigned in 1968 with the new calibre 861 (after the first iteration in 1965 with the 321 calbre), the Speedmaster was inscribed with the words, “Flight-qualified by Nasa for all manned space missions,” and “The first watch worn on the moon.”

White side of the moon

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Fun trivia fact for you: It was actually the oft-overlooked Buzz Aldrin’s Speedmaster that was the first watch on the moon, not Armstrong’s. Armstrong left his watch on the Lunar Module as his electronic timer had malfunctioned.

So, if we see Gosling being the first to step out onto the moon in the watch, you know this is Hollywood once again playing with the facts of history. Or just sloppy research. Let’s hope that for once, Buzz is given the spotlight for something at least: let him be the first to wear the watch on the moon!

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