• ST 105.003 used during Gemini missions,
  • ST 105.012 and ST 145.012 during Apollo missions,
  • ST 145.022 used after the last Apollo missions.

Richard “Dick” Gordon and his Speedmaster ST 105.003 on a JB Champion bracelet with curved end pieces

Over the spacesuit

Speedmaster ST 105.003 on the original OMEGA bracelet on John Young’s wrist before Gemini III (left)

Speedmaster ST 105.003 on Velcro strap on James Mc Divitt’s arm for Gemini IV launch (right)

Out of uniform

When not in their spacesuit, a number of astronauts kept their Speedmaster on their wrist, both during their work on land or in the spaceship, or during their free time. Most of the pictures show that this is not the original OMEGA steel bracelet, but a steel mesh bracelet.

The Apollo 8 crew wearing their Speedmaster fitted with JB Champion mesh bracelets

Information regarding the reason for the choice of this bracelet was provided to us by the OMEGA Museum, which is in close liaison with James H. Ragan, NASA engineer in charge of equipment testing for the Gemini and Apollo programs. NASA engineers in charge of equipment testing realized that the OMEGA steel bracelet might put an astronaut at risk of injury from being snagged as it would not break easily, unlike the mesh type bracelet, which also has a great adjustability setting and requires no tools for adjustment. The mesh bracelets worn by astronauts are JB Champion models of the American bracelet company Jacoby Bender. However they seem to originate from another company, Forstner, who manufactured mesh type bracelets under the name “Komfit”, amongst their range. In 1963 the manufacture was purchased by Jacoby Bender.
All these mesh bracelets have a width of 15.6 mm, but there are numerous variations, for example in the form of end pieces, straight or curved.

Neil Armstrong’s famous picture with his Speedmaster ST 105012 on a JB Champion mesh bracelet in February 1969, during a geological formation in Texas

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