A month or so ago, I flew to Geneva and from there, with the Davidoff brothers, we made our way to Bienne/Biel to attend a #SpeedyTuesday Get Together. Why in Bienne/Biel you may ask? Well as many of you may know, or not, this is where the Omega manufacture is based. Now, our brothers from another mother – Fratellowatches – have hosted masse Speedy Tuesday gatherings for a quite few years but until now, they’ve never taken place at the Omega manufactures office. This very special day was organised by Fratellowatches in conjunction with Omega, not only to bring fellow collectors together but to also celebrate one of the most important chronographs ever made: The Omega Speedmaster.
Not only were we about to see what some of the uber-cool Speedmasters collectors were wearing on their wrists but we were also about to be let loose in the Omega museum, with none other than the museum’s curator and fountain of knowledge on all things Omega, Petros. We were given a bespoke, full-length, tour of the museum and told stories of how certain timepieces came to be.
On top of this we were also ushered into the historical section where all the archives, booklets and advertising paraphernalia live. Let’s just say there were some very interesting things discovered in there. We were also shown what happens when a customer requests an Extract from the Archives, how Alain Monachon (Omega Museum Heritage Project Manager) and his team go about looking for it.
After this, we headed back to a new section of the building that is still under construction to not only have a cup of tea, as you do, but to also talk to fellow collectors for a while. Once the pleasantries were finished we sat down to receive an unexpected gift from Omega. Every person who had attended the Get Together was honoured with an Omega Speedmaster case back that had been fully engraved with each person’s name presented by the new Omega President & CEO, Raynald Aeschlimann.
But this wasn’t the only surprise, as none other than Jim Ragan, former NASA engineer, the man responsible for the procurement process and test procedures of the watches that were used during the Apollo (Space Shuttle) program was also in attendance to share some insightful knowledge. It was interesting to learn, his procurement did not only include watches but all sorts of equipment, even down to the Hasselblad cameras and Fisher pens used. Jim, had some amazing stories to tell us about some of the equipment he procured but also had loads of stories about how certain equipment failed.
During this Q&A with Jim Ragan, we even had a bit of time to get up-close and personal with some of the special Alaska Project timepieces and some of the rarer Speedmasters, even one that flew with Ron Evans during the Apollo 17 mission.
Other than the get together, it was great just catching up with friends of old and of course meeting a new set of, not only Speedmaster lovers but collectors too. The many hours we spent talking about Speedmasters and watches in general over dinner and drinks was, perhaps, the highlight of my travels to Bienne.
Hats off to Fratellowatches and Omega for putting together such a great event, it was thoroughly enjoyed! Until the next one….
For more images of this wonderful event, head over to Fratellowatches