Watch Brand Omega Draws Inspiration from JFK

Swiss watch brand Omega is basing a worldwide campaign for its “Speedmaster” watches around a photograph of President John F. Kennedy, the chief in office when the nation took its first manned space flights.

Omega has quite a connection with that time in history: Prior to astronaut Gordon Cooper’s launch into space on May 15, 1963, during which time he wore the Omega Speedmaster, the timepiece had already become the only watch approved by NASA for use on all of its manned flights.

Cooper was one of seven astronauts in the Mercury space program, and a second astronaut, Wally Shirra, also wore the Speedmaster during his spaceflight.

President Kennedy was instrumental in promoting America’s lunar landing program. On May 25, 1961, Kennedy voiced a challenge to Congress, saying “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him back safely to the earth.”

About a year later, he echoed his thoughts in a speech at Rice University, where he spoke the words: “We choose to go to the moon.”

Those words are featured in Omega’s new campaign, printed along with Omega’s iconic timepiece against the backdrop of an image of Kennedy giving a speech at a podium.

Though Kennedy was not alive when it happened, a little more than eight years later, Apollo 11 would land on the moon, with Neil Armstrong stepping onto the lunar service while wearing an Omega Speedmaster.

The use of Kennedy’s image was arranged in cooperation with the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, which administers the rights to the late president’s name and image.