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Clock Gears

OMEGA & APOLLO 17

The Final Moon Landing


Apollo 17, the sixth and final Apollo mission to land on the Moon, marked a significant milestone in space exploration. On December 6, 1972, following a 2-hour 40-minute delay, the mission launched at 11:33 p.m. CST, making it the only night launch of the Apollo program. The primary objective of Apollo 17 was to explore the Moon's ancient highlands crust and search for evidence of young lunar volcanic activity, providing valuable insights into the Moon's geological history and thermal evolution. Three potential landing sites were considered in the final phase of selection. While Alphonsus Crater and Gassendi Crater were initially contenders, Taurus-Littrow, a narrow valley on the eastern rim of the Serenitatis impact basin, emerged as the chosen landing site. This location provided access to highland crustal rocks and the possibility of observing young volcanic cinder cones in the center of the valley.


On December 11, Commander Eugene Cernan and Lunar Module Pilot Harrison "Jack" Schmitt successfully landed the lunar module Challenger about 240 meters from the pre-planned site. Meanwhile, Command Module Pilot Ron Evans remained in orbit aboard the command module America, conducting a series of orbital experiments, including high-resolution mapping, subsurface sounding radar, and atmospheric composition measurements. During their stay on the lunar surface, Cernan and Schmitt conducted three extraordinary extra-vehicular activities (EVAs), or "moonwalks," totalling 22 hours and 4 minutes. They deployed the Lunar Rover, set up the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiment Package (ALSEP), and performed various scientific experiments. Their activities included traversing the rugged terrain, collecting samples of lunar rocks and regolith, and deploying explosive charges for seismic profiling experiments.


Cernan and Schmitt's second EVA was the longest of the Apollo program, lasting 7 hours and 37 minutes. They repaired the rover's damaged fender, explored the South Massif, and discovered orange soil, a pyroclastic glass sample from an ancient volcanic eruption. Their third EVA included a 12.0 km round-trip drive, where they made stops along the North Massif and the Sculptured Hills, collecting additional samples and conducting experiments.

After spending a total of 75 hours on the Moon and collecting 110.5 kilograms of lunar samples, the crew concluded their mission. Evans, in lunar orbit, performed a spacewalk to retrieve film cassettes from the mapping cameras and sounding radar. Apollo 17 spent 6 days and 3 hours in lunar orbit, circling the Moon 75 times, before embarking on the return journey.


On December 19, after a flight of 12 days and 13 hours, the crew safely splashed down in the Pacific Ocean, marking the end of the Apollo 17 mission and concluding the Apollo program. Their incredible achievements not only expanded our knowledge of the Moon but also left an enduring legacy in the field of space exploration.

Buzz Aldrin wearing his Omega inside Apollo 11

45th Anniversary of the Apollo 17 Mission


As he left the lunar surface, Eugene Cernan, Commander of Apollo 17, delivered a profound statement that resonates to this day. He said, "America's challenge of today has forged man's destiny of tomorrow. As we leave the moon and Taurus-Littrow, we leave as we came, and, God willing, we shall return, with peace and hope for all mankind." These powerful words capture the spirit of exploration, the pursuit of knowledge, and the enduring legacy of the Apollo missions. Cernan's message serves as a reminder of humanity's potential and the importance of unity in the quest for a better future. Honouring the memory of Eugene Cernan, the dial of each OMEGA Apollo 17 proudly displays the inscription "05:34 GMT" in red. This significant detail marks the exact time when Cernan took the final step on the lunar surface, leaving an unforgettable imprint on human history.


Nowadays, you can find Gene Cernan's iconic Apollo 17 watch (ST 105.003) at its prestigious home at the OMEGA Museum in Biel, Switzerland. Once gracing the wrist of the last man to set foot on the lunar surface, this horological masterpiece played a pivotal role in OMEGA's recreation of the legendary Calibre 321 in 2019. Leveraging state-of-the-art "tomography" technology, the OMEGA team delved deep into the historic timepiece, meticulously extracting the precise specifications needed for the movement's resurrection.

 

Available Now


Experience the spirit of discovery and adventure with the OMEGA Speedmaster Apollo 17 Limited Edition 311.30.42.30.03.001, a timepiece that encapsulates the pioneering spirit of space exploration. Crafted from stainless steel and issued in a limited series of just 1,972 pieces, this watch boasts a captivating design. Its bezel and dial are adorned with mesmerising blue ceramic, while the shimmering presence of 18K yellow gold lends a touch of opulence to its overall aesthetics. Notably, the subdial at 9 o'clock takes centre stage with a eye-catching portrayal of the God Apollo and the moon, meticulously etched in PVD in a striking chrome hue, adding a celestial touch to this remarkable timepiece. You can check out this stunning preowned watch below:



Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 Limited Edition on the lunar module from the box set

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