|Year of production (circa)||
18k Yellow gold
Original box & papers
Omega Speedmaster Apollo XI Ref. BA145.022 “The Original”
Tribute to Astronauts.
November 25th, 1969, Houston, Astronaut appreciation dinner, Omega presented in honor of the Apollo 11 mission a solid gold Speedmaster. The astronauts who attended received one and 3 were awarded posthumously to the crew of Apollo 1. The case back had a special inscription: ‘ To mark man’s conquest of space with time, through time, on time. Each had its own individual number and number inscribed. It was a series of 1014 pieces, numbers 33 to 1000 was put for public sale in 1969. They had a different engraving: ‘Omega Speedmaster. ApolloXI 1969. The first watch worn on the moon.’
And now back to the watch we are very proud to present you, the real deal from 1970, number 369 from 1014 watches, sold in Germany, to a Dutchman. This information we know for sure because of the original papers that comes with this watch.
It has a beautiful applied logo and runs on the famous caliber 861. With the round ‘O’, the Swiss made with the letters OM, meaning Or Massif, because the watch only was delivered on a massif golden bracelet. The burgundy Omega original inlay is still in incredible condition. This is a timepiece with a lot of historical elements and a real story to go with it. Moonshine gold, we like that name for a piece of history that is in mint condition, running smoothly, including an extremely rare original box and papers.
Got your attention? We’re here to help.
The Omega Speedmaster was introduced in 1957, as a racing chronograph. Little did Omega know that a different fate altogether awaited their creation.
When John F. Kennedy announced that the USA would put a man on the moon before the end of the 1960’s, NASA went into overdrive. The Gemini and Apollo missions would all culminate in “One small step for man…” in 1969.
One detail within that endeavor, is the selection of a proper watch for the space missions. NASA started putting a number of chronographs from different brands under extreme stress. Shock, temperature change, vibration, humidity, the watches were spared no horror. The Speedmaster came out on top in 1965 and was selected as the watch of choice. No slick marketing deals here. Chosen on merit alone.
Coincidentally, astronaut Wally Schirra already wore his personal Ref. CK2998 Speedmaster on a Mercury mission in 1962. In 1965, Ed White would go on the first ever spacewalk wearing a NASA-issued Ref. 105.003-65.
From 1965 onwards, all Apollo astronauts wore Speedmasters. Including Buzz Aldrin when he set foot on the moon, wearing his Ref. 105.012. Neil Armstrong had left his Speedy in the lunar module when setting those legendary first steps.
In 1970, Apollo 13 got into serious trouble after a service-module oxygen tank ruptured. With most systems down, the astronauts had to manually time 14-second rocket bursts in order to get back to earth. They used Jack Swigert’s Speedmaster for the job. Omega was awarded the Snoopy award in recognition of the crucial role of the watch in a safe return. A comic character featured on many special editions since.
Aesthetically, the Speedmaster Professional has not changed much since those days. A rough division can be made between pre-moon and post-moon Speedies. The transition point is the inclusion of the “Flight qualified by NASA” inscriptions on the case back, although some people erroneously mark 321 caliber Speedies as pre-moon and 861 caliber variants as post-moon.
For the keen-eyed, there are tons of subtle variations within the Speedmaster line. And that is before we look at the broader Speedy-scope, with all its special editions and interestingly-shaped Mark models. You can really go deep on Speedy-specifics. Regardless of which precise variant you settle on, you will have an iconic watch with the single best backstory ever.
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