Speedy Tuesday Event Photo Report — Spending Quality Time At ESA
In 2022, we are finally catching up with our Speedy Tuesday Events. After an unwanted two-year period of no events, we restarted earlier this year in Biel. We continued in Milan and then last week at the European Space Agency (ESA) in the Netherlands. This time, though, it wasn’t only a get-together of Speedmaster enthusiasts. It also included the introduction of a new Speedmaster X-33, explained by two scientists and an ESA astronaut.
Speedy Tuesday Event at ESA
We received an incredible number of sign-ups for this Speedy Tuesday Event, but we could only have 50 guests. This had to do with the logistics (event venue, dinner location, etc.) because, in addition to those 50 participants, we would also have people from Omega, ESA, and, of course, the Fratello team on location. After weeks of preparation, we welcomed everyone at the ESA Space Center in Noordwijk, a town north of The Hague. It’s an interesting location where we hosted one of our very first Speedy Tuesday Events in 2013.
Speedmaster X-33 history explained
Based on the teasers on Omega’s social media channels, most Speedmaster fans were already expecting to see a new X-33. As such, it wasn’t exactly a surprise that our focus would be on the digital Speedmaster. After a quick welcome by Omega President and CEO Raynald Aeschlimann, ExoMars Rover Manager at European Space Agency Pietro Baglioni, and me, we started with a panel talk on the history of the X-33.
Omega’s VP of Product Gregory Kissling and ESA astronaut Jean-François Clervoy participated, and the discussion was moderated by yours truly. Not only did Kissling describe the Speedmaster X-33 development process that had already started in 1993, but he also mentioned the variations Omega had made before the Skywalker model(s). Clervoy was able to offer some anecdotes about the development of the X-33 Skywalker, as he was involved in it. The first version of the Speedmaster X-33 (1998) involved NASA astronaut Thomas Stafford’s input.
The new Speedmaster X-33 Marstimer
After this session, we hit the embargo time of the new Speedmaster X-33 release, so exactly on time, Omega introduced the new Marstimer in front of a live audience. You have to understand that this doesn’t happen that often. Most releases these days happen online, some via video conference calls and others through written press releases. The nice thing here was that the involved ESA scientists and engineers explained how they loved the Speedmaster X-33 Skywalker and used it as a starting point for developing their new requirements. They wanted to have Mars time and a solar compass. But there was also another special wish by ESA — the equation-of-time function for both Earth and Mars.
When you set the watch to STE (Earth time) or STM (Mars time), you will be able to read the true solar time for the programmed location. The Speedmaster X-33 Marstimer will show you this information for Earth and Mars using the display and the hands. One of the ESA scientists let us know that he often uses this function “to check how close or how far away we are from the true astronomical day.”
The audience loved the explanation from ESA. It allowed them to understand that Omega had not pushed for the development of the watch, but rather, that it had been developed by and for ESA. Omega simply provided the X-33 as a platform and the movement developers to code all this new functionality. It’s a watch designed and developed for scientists, engineers, and astronauts working on Mars-related missions in the first place.
Most people won’t have much use for the Mars functions of this watch. Space buffs, however, might find a use for the Marstimer, especially if they want to follow the ExoMars missions. But besides that, you can own the same watch as ESA astronauts will own in the near future. To some enthusiasts, that’s enough reason. This watch is not for everyone, nor does it have to be. For those awaiting other Speedmaster news, Omega’s CEO Raynald Aeschlimann informed us that there is more in store for this year.
After the introduction of the new Speedmaster X-33 Marstimer and the explanation by ESA, the guests could ask questions to both Omega and ESA about the watch. The development process and the need for the functionality of this Speedmaster X-33 on Earth in the control room at ESA were clarified.
ESA had some more space goodness planned for us. First was a virtual 3D tour on board (and around) the International Space Station, with live commentary by astronaut Clervoy. It was an amazing insight into life aboard the ISS and how astronauts (and cosmonauts) perform their tasks in space. Afterward, there was room for a Q&A with Clervoy about the ISS but also his work and experience as an astronaut.
Hands-on with the new Speedmaster models
And then, finally, it was time to go hands-on with some Speedmaster watches. Omega did not only bring all the new Speedmaster models from 2022 but also the full range of X-33 models, including some prototypes and flown ones. The Speedmaster Calibre 321 Broad Arrow in Canopus Gold received quite a lot of interest, but so did the new Speedmaster Moonshine models introduced earlier this year. It was also the moment for guests to catch up with each other.
The event ended with an amazing dinner in a Noordwijk villa near the ESA Space Center. It was a great time to exchange stories and show some of the watches that attendees brought with them. I thank all the guests who attended this Speedy Tuesday Event in the Netherlands and the Omega teams from Switzerland and Benelux. Also, a big thank you to ESA in Noordwijk.
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