‘NET NEWS

OMEGA WEB SITE HONORS MOON LANDING

Omega, the only watch worn on the moon, marked the 30th anniversary of the first manned lunar landing July 20 with the launch of “SpaceWatch” (www.spacewatch.com), an interactive Web site devoted to space education, and a limited edition of its Speedmaster Professional, the original “moon watch.”

SpaceWatch is an interactive, Internet-based TV channel offering programs on space exploration and colonization. “Mission Control, Over” (live chats with members of Houston Space Center) and “Deep Sky” (news of discoveries and innovations) are live weekly shows, while “Cosmic Visions” (special events in the space community) appears monthly. The site also features an e-mail newsletter, message boards, and links to similar sites.

The limited-edition automatic steel Speedmaster (9,999 numbered pieces) has a stamped replica of the Apollo 11 emblem, plus the date, time, and first words spoken during the first manned moon landing on its caseback.

The 151-year old Swiss watch firm, owned by the Swatch Group, has been involved in the U.S. space program since 1962, when NASA technicians brought 10 chronographs, each a different brand, from Corrigan’s (now owned by Zale Corp.) in Houston. The watches were rigorously tested to see which could be used in space flight, on space walks, and on the moon. The Omega Speedmaster Professional was selected in 1965 and on July 21, 1969, became the “moon watch” when astronaut Buzz Aldrin wore it as he became the second man to step onto the moon. (Neil Armstrong, the first person on the moon, left his Speedmaster in the moonlander.)

The Omega Speedmaster was used on all manned space flights (including adversity-plagued Apollo 13, when it was used to time rocket firings for safe re-entry). In 1998, Omega released the multifunctional Speedmaster Professional X-33 (nicknamed the “Mars watch”), now the official watch of the U.S. and Russian space programs.—William George Shuster

NEW WEB SITE OFFERS HONG KONG JEWELRY

A new Web site for the jewelry trade promoting the products of Hong Kong jewelry makers is being launched this month by the Hong Kong Jewelry Manufacturers Association (HKJMA).

The new online jewelry mall is only for jewelry retailers and wholesalers, says B.K. Wong, executive director of HKJMA. The public won’t be able to get into it.

The site (www.hongkongshow-room.com) features sharp, digitized photographs of products from more than 100 companies. Their private online “showrooms” will be accessible only to “invited guest customers” with passwords provided by the companies. —William George Shuster

KIRCHNER CORP. ESTABLISHES ONLINE PRESENCE

Kirchner Corp., Minneapolis, has launched a Web site. The company’s entire jewelry line, diamond list, newsletter, and supporting material are included on the site, which can be found at kirchnercorp.com or motherandchild.com.

Consumers can find a jeweler in their area who carries the items shown via the site’s “jeweler locator.” The site links to “Yahoo! Maps,” which can provide a map of the jeweler’s location. A free Web site is offered to jewelers who participate in Kirchner’s flier program.

IGI RENOVATES ITS WEB SITE

The International Gemmological Institute recently revamped its Web site, www.igiworldwide.com. The laboratory, which has facilities in Antwerp, New York, and Bangkok, has redesigned the site to educate consumers and members of the industry about gems and jewelry.