Take a poll amongst wristwatch collectors, and we'd bet the consensus would be that there might be nothing more important or iconic in a watch collection than an Omega Speedmaster.
Due to its legendary standing, virtually every iteration of the Speedmaster became a resounding success. Of course, with this success also comes perpetually increasing values, which puts once-attainable models from the 'Apollo Era' out of reach for many. Fortunately, the design language and materials used in the 1960s and 1970s was carried on through the mid 1990s- allowing enthusiasts access to bargain-priced timepieces that are virtually indistinguishable from their forefathers.
This particular example, a Reference 145.022, dates to the early 1990s, and shares the same design cues as Apollo Era Speedmaster Professionals. The instantly recognizable 41mm stainless steel twisted lug case houses the same Calibre .861 used since 1968, and the classically un-cluttered matte black dial features richly patinated Tritium luminous indices with a matching handset.
Regardless of age, the Speedmaster Professional consistently takes our vote for one the best-wearing and best value chronographs. When asked to recommend a chronograph with a price tag under $5,000, we'd be hard pressed to come up with a better answer than an Speedmaster from the 80s or 90s.
All of the style. All of the history. All of the patina.
Half the price.
With the 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing looming like the Death Star on the horizon, collectors are focusing on space-related ephemera. Major auction houses are holding sales of anything that an astronaut might have evenbreathedon.
But there is a piece of space history that anyone can own: The Omega Speedmaster.
Since 1965, this little machine has been issued to the crew of every manned space mission. Ed White, Buzz Aldrin, Jim Lovell—these are just a few heroes who strapped the Speedy to their wrists as they headed to the final frontier. As one of Omega’s longest-running models, the Speedmaster has seen variants as numerous as stars in the sky, from special editions honoring spaceflights to the simpler black-dialed “Moon watch” that everyone knows and loves.
There's something to be said for the popular appeal of the Reference 145.022. Produced from the late 1960s to the 1980s, the Reference 145.022 straddles the period between the pre-moon and post-Moon landing Speedmasters. Like the references that came before it, the Reference 145.022 represents a pivotal era in the development of the Speedmaster.
While the earlier References of Speedmaster contained the Caliber .321 movement, the Reference 145.022 was the first to contain the Caliber .861. Additionally, the sub-reference 145.022-69ST was the first to feature a caseback that commemorated the 1969 Moon Landing, which still adorns the backs of Omega Speedmasters today.
The 145.022 was amongst the last references to feature Tritium luminous material on dials and hands; it wasn’t until the introduction of the Reference 3570 in the mid 1990s that Omega started using the non-radioactive Super Luminova.