Forget the astronauts and wake up the racing driver in you!
Speedmaster Mark II's are one of the one of the great oddballs of the vintage watch world. Capitalizing on the success and brand recognition following the successful Apollo mission, Omega expanded the Speedmaster line in all kinds of interesting directions.
The first departure, known simply as the 'Speedmaster MK II' fitted the same internals (Calibre .861) as the Moon Watch into a cushion case popular at the time, and finished them in steel, plated gold, or solid gold. The steel versions were offered in a simple black dial nearly indistinguishable from the original, as well as a colorful exotic "Racing" dial as seen here.
With a multi-colored outer track, fluorescent hands, and a flush mineral crystal with the tachymeter ring printed on the inside, the Speedmaster Mark II Racing is part Speedy, part Heuer Autavia, and 100% awesome. While a bit larger in size than a standard Speedmaster, they are extremely comfortable to wear, and wonderful to behold.
This particular example is in absolutely fantastic condition, featuring an unpolished case, untouched dial and hands with just the right amount of patina and a comfortably broken-in bracelet with signed clasp.
The Moonwatch might get all the praise (and command the bigger bucks), but the Mark II is every bit as cool, and far less commonly found!
The name "Speedmaster Professional" is synonymous with the exploration of space and is best known as the first watch worn on the moon, giving them some pretty serious credentials. It is arguable that Omega would probably have stayed in business and been just as popular if the original moon watch was the only model they ever made for the line.
But they didn't stop there, and we're glad they didn't. The years following the legendary Apollo mission saw the release of an expanded line of Speedmaster variants, known commonly as the "Mark" Series. Some of these watches were real flops on the market, and others weren't.
Regardless of their initial popularity, all are interesting timepieces and have a collector following today. Of these Mark Series Speedmasters, the one we get asked about most frequently is the first successor to the original Professional - the Mark II.
Mark II Speedmasters were the first radical departure from the traditional Speedmaster case, and instead of an exposed lug design, the MK II was designed with a tonneau shape featuring hidden lugs. This gives the Mark II a great profile and a distinctly '70s look that is quite popular with enthusiasts today.
There were two dials offered on the Mark II; a traditional triple register black dial that was virtually identical to the original Professional, and a gray dial with a colorful outer track known to collectors as aRacing Dial. The latter weren't initially as popular and most of the distribution was outside of the United States.