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Moon Schmoon, Tell me about the Speedmaster's Driving/Racing Heritage

  1. roundel325

    roundel325 May 31, 2016

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    Greetings from an Omega noob.

    I see many Speedmaster articles make reference to the watch being initially engineered for auto racing, but I can't find any actual accounts of it being used by drivers. I suppose the extremely well documented NASA activity may have overshadowed any occurrence of this, but I have to think that there were some drivers strapping them on. I know I would have preferred a Speedy over the Heuers that all the motorheads swoon over these days, if only for the improved readability in vibrating race car environs.

    I beg the forum, please gloss over any moon marketing and tell me about the speedmaster's terrestrial racing heritage.

    Thanks!
     
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  2. Jones in LA

    Jones in LA Mmm... must have shiny things... May 31, 2016

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    The Speedmaster's planned destiny was derailed by its encounter with the Moon. That, and a lack of iconic photos with racing legends and celebrities such as Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, Jochen and Nina Rindt.

    There is a Michael Schumacher edition Speedmaster but I can't find any photos of him wearing an Omega while actually participating in a race. Prior to his ski accident he was busy pitching watches for Audemars Piguet. You can read a little about Schumacher's defection from Team Omega to AP, here:

    https://hoodinkee-beta.squarespace....joins-the-audemars-piguet-family-will-he.html
     
    Edited May 31, 2016
  3. mozambique

    mozambique May 31, 2016

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    One may have been worn by an astronaut while driving the moon rover vehicle................there you go, best of both worlds!
    The Automobile club of Peru was quite a fan it would seem
     
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  4. Emeister

    Emeister Donut-eatin desk-divin wannabe-astronaut fat dude May 31, 2016

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    Pre 1964 brochures and magazine adverts are probably your best bet.

    This is from the Old-Omegas.com website of Steve Waddington.
    p23.jpg

    *** That Seamaster looks like proper, old school, cut and paste :whistling:
     
  5. Darlinboy

    Darlinboy Pratts! Will I B******S!!! May 31, 2016

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    Isn't winning the space race and getting to the moon good enough?:p

    For automotive chops, look to other marques.
     
  6. roundel325

    roundel325 May 31, 2016

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    Interesting about the Peruvians. I did not know that.

    Schumi is much too contemporary to have been timing his laps on a mechanical chronograph, so I take his involvement to be purely brand ambassador style marketing. The compelling thing about vintage watches, to me, is that they were cutting edge technology at the time, not fashion accessories like today. Okay, maybe they were fashion items then as well...

    I'm curious whether the "racing dial" editions of the late 1960's or the early 1970's Mark II have any ties (actual or marketing) to racing/driving or if they are just products of the design department being let off the leash. Anyway, something like a BMW 3.0CSL with a 145.014 racing dial seems like a strong pairing to me.

    Thanks for the old-omegas.com reference. I will peruse.
     
  7. kurtj29

    kurtj29 May 31, 2016

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    I always thought the auto racing connection was tenuous at best. I just can not imagine a scenario in which a driver is going to use a watch in an auto race (I don't race automobiles - so I plead ignorance) But the fact is - I have never heard a story in which a racer used his watch to help him win a race. Have you ever heard one? Paul Newman has all sorts of pictures with his Daytona - but do you actually think he looked at his watch during a race? Maybe, maybe if they taped it to the dashboard. Or in modern day point to point where a navigator will run the watch/time. The Rolex Instagram account has been doing a storyboard on the great Jackie Stewart but the connection was that he received his Daytona as the prize for winning the Monaco Grand Prix and the watch means a lot to him - as a prize - but he never used it in a race. The connections to the space program were real - where they actually used it, it was part of the daily routine to wind the watch, and the "14 second burn" of course. Divers use their watches to time their decompression - so that is real use. I race sailboats and we use our watch to time the start - the most important part of the race and at the end of the race to time boats behind us to see if we saved our handicap time on them. (Rolex has the awful Yachtmaster II to time sailboat starts...). So I just don't think that watches and auto racing go together.
     
    Edited May 31, 2016
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  8. roundel325

    roundel325 May 31, 2016

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    I agree with your points. Prime time race car drivers do not time their own laps, that is someone else's job. However, at the "grassroots" level, it was (and sometimes is) up to the drivers to time their own practice or shakedown runs. Want to measure the improvement in 0-60 time after installing 4bbl carbs or headers on your Camero in 1972? A chronograph and straight stretch of road are the right tools for the job. Also, there are examples of public road rally type events where the object is not to be the fastest, but to come in closest to a standard elapsed time. These were popular events in the 60's and 70's and drivers/co-drivers needed to monitor their own progress. This is why I catagorize these as "driving/racing" watches. The emphasis is probably more on the "driving" than "racing", but specifically performance driving.
     
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  9. Foo2rama

    Foo2rama Keeps his worms in a ball instead of a can. May 31, 2016

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    A driver would almost never use a chrono while driving. Either a lap spotter or a navigator would use them, rven by the mid 50's. Some current F1 drivers do wear watches while racing. But there is no way they are using them while driving.

    Mines the darkblue/red roundel332CSI ;)

    image.jpeg
     
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  10. Vercingetorix

    Vercingetorix May 31, 2016

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    Of course everybody knows the greatest driver in the world, ever, wore a Speedmaster Mark iii. Kudos to any body who can name him. Pictures to follow when the lighting is better.
     
  11. Vercingetorix

    Vercingetorix Jun 1, 2016

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  12. Foo2rama

    Foo2rama Keeps his worms in a ball instead of a can. Jun 1, 2016

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    I guessed it was not Senna as he wore TAGs ;)
     
  13. Jones in LA

    Jones in LA Mmm... must have shiny things... Jun 1, 2016

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  14. axl911

    axl911 Jun 1, 2016

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    Heuer wins every time here.[​IMG]
     
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  15. roundel325

    roundel325 Jun 1, 2016

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    I'm still stumped. Who is the driver with the Mark III, and what book is it from?
     
  16. kurtj29

    kurtj29 Jun 1, 2016

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    But how does Heuer win? In sailboat racing or diving - if you forget your watch - you don't have a vital piece of equipment in order for you to perform the task. If you forgot the watch could you still make a go of it? Would it impact your performance? How? If I forget my watch in sailboat racing my start is going to suffer and I will probably lose a place or two at least "estimating" the starting gun. If you are a diver - you just will not go or stay above 30 feet I guess.
     
  17. Emeister

    Emeister Donut-eatin desk-divin wannabe-astronaut fat dude Jun 1, 2016

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    Walter Röhrl
    His name actually came up in my googling yesterday but I couldn't find the watch connection at the time.
    Walter Röhrl MkIII.jpg

    Love the attempted "fix" with Sellotape :cool:
    No thought of not wearing the watch :D

    Possible shot of the switch to the right wrist (???)
    Walter-Röhrl-right wrist.jpg

    Great find @Vercingetorix :thumbsup: :cool:
    *like roundel325 I'm also interested in the book and when it was written. Wonderful that this "heavy Omega wrist watch" / "talisman" was so fondly remembered by someone with such an amazing career.
    Walter.jpg

    Wonder if I should get myself a "Rally E-meister" tee shirt based on his Rallye Meister :D:D;)
     
    Edited Jun 1, 2016
  18. blufinz52

    blufinz52 Hears dead people, not watch rotors. Jun 1, 2016

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    I seem to remember reading that the Speedmaster was initially billed as a watch for auto racing, but not for the driver. As seen in the photo above the watch was worn by the passenger in some type of rally race, in which each car has to get to a destination in a specific amount of time, not necessarily the fastest.
     
  19. Vercingetorix

    Vercingetorix Jun 1, 2016

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    The book is Walter Rohrl diary. Very interesting and a surprising number of watch pictures. Shows Walter with an Albatross, and one of his navigators (Berger?) with some kind of Heuer I think. Interesting to see him wearing his Mark III on both a strap and a bracelet perhaps?
     
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  20. Vercingetorix

    Vercingetorix Jun 1, 2016

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    Or maybe the picture of Walter in blue is when he wearing the Albatross?