MWR Thread: Was the 861 ever worn on a mission?
Bill Sohne tipped me off to this discussion occuring on the Military Watch Resource Forum... Here is a copy of my response within that thread.
No moon mission? How can you know? Posted By:Chris R Date: July 11, 2005, 3:10 a.m. PST
The c.861 has certainly been worn on Shuttle missions, so the answer to the original question "Was the 861 ever worn on a space mission? Thanks. (nt)" is yes. However, the answer to the logical follow-up question: "Did a c.861 fly on a Moon mission and/or was worn on the moon?"... is really difficult to state either way authoritatively...
In Response To: space yes, moon no. kind regards from down under. achim (nt) (watchyouwant)
Neither the NASA guys nor Omega do know which Speedy was used when.
Well, that's not entirely true... Actually we have a fairly good idea when certain watches were used:
Chuck Maddox wrote a very comprehensive article on that subject: http://home.xnet.com/~cmaddox/moonmovement.html
And in fact I debated the topic at great length with the Late Michael Stein...
Omegas's John Diethelm wrote: It is obvious that the first moon landing was made with a Speedmaster fitted with a caliber 321 movement.
The toward the seventies, the NASA has probably also used the replacement movement caliber 861.
That quote however is from Marco Richon in his book "Omega Saga"...
We have no official confirmation of what has been used and when, except for the first Moon landing.
Hmmm... Since the time of my article and my discussion with Herr Stein there has been new information developed on several fronts. I feel we can state with reasonable certainty when certain watches flew.
Chuck Maddox's bottom line:
1) Omega has stated as fact that the first watch worn on the moon (as referenced previously) that the first moon mission was equipped with c.321 Speedmasters, ST145.012-'s.
2) We have two documented cases where a moonwalker (Sheppard) and one orbiter (Evens) wore c.321's
We even have pictures of these two watches from the KCSC...
3)We have no documentary evidence to prove that c.861's were used on or near the moon, although we have reasons to suspect that some were used among other brands of watches. This is the rub for c.861's... We can not document their use on or near the moon at all.
This here is the real rub... We have no documentation as to which other watches astronauts may or may not have been brought aboard Moon bound Apollo capsules. We know that Swigert wore a Rolex GMT on the abortive Apollo 13 mission in addition to his issue Speedmaster, and we know Scott wore a Waltham chronograph on EVA-3 of Apollo 15 (I think it was 15)... One can read the article for the details.
4) The Speedmaster was not the only watch worn on the moon (David Scott as referenced previously wore a Waltham on his last EVA.), nor the only watch worn in the vicinity of lunar orbit (Jack Swigert's Rolex GMT-Master).
Ah... That's what I was referring to above.
Those are the facts of the matter as I have been able to determine them, and for the most part have typed up in the forum at least twice previously. The only difference is that previously I believe I may have stated that the c.861 was used on the Apollo-Soyuz mission. I no longer believe that I can conclude that the c.861 was definitely used or not, and it appears to me in reviewing the photo's in the Time Capsule Book, that Deke Slayton wore a c.321.
That sounds like an excerpt of my article.
I honestly believe the best and perhaps the only way to nail down for sure what watches were worn when, aside from what I and others have documented, is to ask the astronauts personally. I believe that may be the only way to satisfy people, and maybe even that wouldn't be enough.
I still pretty much stand by that one. I have continued to develop information as time goes on, and I believe we are slowly establishing a clearer picture as we move forward. However, I can't currently conclude that a c.861 has or has not flown on a lunar mission. Perhaps in time we can refine our knowledge, perhaps not. But the journey is enjoyable too!