This weekend, many Americans will be turning on their grills and cracking open some ice-cold beverages to celebrate the Fourth of July. Today’s model is cheap fake Omega Speedmaster. In honor of the holiday, I’ve chosen Apollo 13 to celebrate an event in American history where things didn’t turn out as expected. However, through determination – despite adversity – the impossible was overcome. And if you spend your holiday weekends in the cinema, you’ll also find the film’s lead, Tom Hanks, encountering a different kind of trouble in Elvis, the latest biopic from Baz Luhrmann.
What’s great – and admittedly expected – about Apollo 13 is just how many luxury replica watches there are. In almost every scene, you can catch a watch on the wrist of every NASA employee at Houston’s Mission Control (as well as every astronaut). The majority of those timepieces are cheap fake Omega Speedmasters which, famously, became the watch of the NASA Space Program as it was the only watch officially flight-qualified for space flight.
Any movie about NASA has to get the details right because, well, space nerds are about as pedantic as watch nerds. Imagine tuning into any historical film about space exploration in the 1960s and ’70s and seeing any watch but the perfect replica Omega Speedmaster being strapped onto the suits of the mission-ready astronauts. Cinema is about suspending disbelief, but that would be a bridge too far.
The good news is Apollo 13 didn’t make that mistake. Today we are zeroing in on Tom Hanks’ Jim Lovell who, as mentioned, commanded the Apollo 13 mission. Lovell himself had a history in space exploration going back to the Gemini program and was a contemporary of space luminaries Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. In this film, Hanks plays Lovell as only Hanks can. There’s no mimicry here, just an earnest performance. I’d venture to say that the only bit of copycat-ing was his watch – an AAA super clone Omega Speedmaster (likely the ref. 105.012 in real life, though it’s difficult to discern if the film got that 100 percent right). Hanks wears his top copy Omega Speedy both on Earth and in space throughout the film.
We see him wear the Swiss made replica Omega UK with a blue Lacoste polo, strapped to the outside of his spacesuit, and tucked under the sleeve of his uniform while aboard the spacecraft. There’s a reason everyone loves a Speedy – it goes with everything.
But it’s also a tool cheap replica Omega, and it proved to be the most useful tool for the three heroes of our film. Shortly after recording a segment for live television, to greet the people of Earth from space (a video recording which, sadly, was never picked up by any national television stations), the crew encountered oxygen tank failure which set in motion a life-or-death course correction from the Moon back home. The crew had to retreat to the Lunar Excursion Module and use it as a lifeboat – instead of a vessel to land, and walk, on the Moon. On the fifth day of the journey, Lovell, Fred Haise (Paxton), and Jack Swigert (Bacon) needed to meticulously time an engine burn to reorient the LEM and get themselves on the correct course back to Earth – a task that, as it turns out, required a watch. As the film portrays this pivotal historical moment, we see Swigert time the burn with the Swiss movement fake Omega Speedmaster strapped to his wrist.
Interestingly, there’s some conjecture when it comes to just what high quality replica Omega UK the real-life Swigert wore when this actually happened. A good amount of photographic evidence shows that Swigert wore a Rolex Pepsi GMT-Master fake for sale daily prior to the Apollo 13 launch. It’s believed that Swigert may have worn his GMT aboard Apollo 13 and used it instead of the Speedmaster to time the crucial burn. However, HODINKEE heard it from Jim Lovell himself that it was the Omega Speedmaster fake online. And since we’re talking about the film, and the film shows the Speedy, I’m going with the Speedy. As was once said in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.”
Speaking of Pepsi bezels, there’s a great spacey Easter egg of a copy watch uk courtesy of Ed Harris’ Gene Kranz (NASA’s Chief Flight Director) who wears a Seiko Speedtimer with a blue and red bezel. And you’ll also notice that Haise wears not one, but two Speedmasters. Double-wristing in space is serious business.
This film is yet another example of just how important the 1:1 fake Omega Speedmaster is in the history of space exploration. It’s also cool to see the astronauts wear it both professionally and casually – a sign that this wasn’t just a piece of issued kit, but a timepiece that they bonded with. And I can’t blame them.