Last week we held our 6th Speedy Tuesday Event this year, this time in the city that never sleeps: New York.
Different from the previous editions were the topics we had for the guests of the New York City Speedy Tuesday event. We added the platinum Speedmaster with caliber 321 to the presentation given by Omega’s VP Head of Product Management Gregory Kissling, but we also talked about a watch we haven’t touched before during the events: the Speedmaster X-33.
We thought it would be an interesting topic, as the special guest of the New York City Speedmaster Tuesday Event happened to be astronaut Terry Virts. He is a former Space Shuttle astronaut and International Space Station commander, who spiced up the event with some pretty awesome stories and images that he took himself. When in space, he was wearing the Speedmaster X-33 (2nd Generation). During his EVA, he, of course, wore the hand-wound Moonwatch. That said, we’ve noticed this more often with astronauts and cosmonauts, that they are very keen on the X-33 and even feel emotionally attached to it. So, there was enough to talk about on stage (and off stage as well).
For the occasion, Bert and I brought our own Speedmaster X-33 watches. A very useful watch when traveling to other time zones.
The New York City Speedy Tuesday Event was held at The Beekman Hotel on 123 Nassau Street. We blocked the entire lower level, consisting of two large rooms and a reception room, a total of 3,100 square feet.
We had almost 400 registrations for this day, but we were only able to select 65. This has mainly to do with the planned dinner, getting a place for so many people is not an easy thing to do. The New York City Speedy Tuesday Event started at 2:30 pm, and the first guests arrived already a bit earlier than that. There were some familiar faces (either from previous events or from the #SpeedyTuesday Facebook Group or Instagram), but we also met a lot of new people that day. From Fratello, we were present with Bert Buijsrogge (photos and video), Daniel Müller (Head of Operations) and me. Omega’s USA Brand President Arnaud Michon welcomed all guests and gave the word to Omega’s Head of Product Management Gregory Kissling (Switzerland). On my turn, I welcomed all the guests to this Speedy Tuesday on behalf of Fratello. I also explained the background of Speedy Tuesday and what makes it such a great community (in short: you!) and also thanked the man that deserves a lot of credit, and without him, there probably was no Speedy Tuesday: the late and legendary Chuck Maddox. My hunt for Speedmasters and gaining knowledge about these watches was absolutely sparked by him, and he influenced many of us before it even became a ‘profession’. I noticed (and surprised myself) that it wasn’t easy to talk about my friend without stuttering (hence the cut in the video). He is dearly missed. I also spoke about the X-33 and my personal relationship with it. My own Speedmaster X-33 previously belonged to an astronaut as well, and I shared the story on how it ended up in my collection a few years ago.
On my turn, I asked astronaut Terry Virts to come on stage and he gave a marvelous presentation on being an astronaut and his time on board of the Space Shuttle and International Space Station. He shared some pretty amazing photographs with us, that he took in space. In the video, you can watch an impression of his talk during the New York City Speedy Tuesday Event. His book, View from Above, can be ordered here.
In a later article, we will publish the interview that I did with him before the event started, where we go more in-depth about his time in space and the role his Speedmasters played.
After his presentation, a panel talk followed, where we focused on the use of the Speedmaster X-33, the origin of the X-33 and Terry Virt’s experience with the watch in space. The panel talk ended with a Q&A session, and the attendees showed a huge interest in Terry Virt’s space travels and, to my surprise, knew quite a bit about it. It was interesting to witness how much the space program lives in the USA compared to Europe. Then, it was time for some more watch talk. Gregory Kissling introduced the Apollo XI watches that have been released earlier this year, and which are now being delivered to their customers. He also talked about the new caliber 321 movement and, of course, showed the new Speedmaster in platinum with caliber 321 movement. Our guests were among the very first to actually handle and try the new platinum Speedmaster caliber 321 watch themselves during the touch & feel sessions in one of the other large rooms.
The day ended with a great dinner at Gran Morsi, a restaurant not far away from The Beekman Hotel. We’ve met a lot of great people! Collectors but also enthusiasts that just started to explore the world of Speedmasters. Very interesting were the talks with some guys (actually three, who weren’t aware of each other) that purchased their first Speedmaster about 50 years ago and still have them (with box and papers etc). Some very neat stories were shared, which I hope they will soon share here on Fratello as well.
Enjoy the images and video! All images can be clicked for larger versions. We will publish the video interview with Terry Virts at a later time as well. All our Speedy Tuesday Event videos can be found here (make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel).
A big THANK YOU to Omega for making this possible.
Ever since he was a young child, Robert-Jan was drawn to watches, even though it were digital Casio and quartz Swatch models at the time. In the mid-1990s, his interest increased when he started to read about mechanical watches in... read more