Everyone should own a Speedmaster at one point in their collecting endeavors.
It's one of the most significant chronographs -- let alone wristwatches -- of all time. If that doesn't do it for you, just look at the macro photography on this beauty...
The 41mm steel case has distinctive twisted lugs which gives the Speedmaster Professional its instant recognition. Tritium luminous material fill up the hands, including the stylized 'spear' chronograph hand. This particular example retains a sharp case devoid of over-polishing. Also note the correct 'DO90' bezel which shows just the proper amount of wear.
It should be noted that the Speedy isstillbeing worn by astronauts today, which makes it just as relevant to the history of space exploration as ever. If there is one chronograph to have in your collection, it is undoubtedly the Speedmaster.
We all know the famous story of the Speedmaster and NASA.
Omega released the Speedmaster in 1957, in the midst of a craze for racing chronographs. The name "Speedmaster" followed the naming trend set by the Seamaster and Railmaster models, and was also a subtle nod to the innovative brushed stainless steel tachymeter bezel.
Who knows--had NASA not pinpointed the Speedmaster for use in manned spaceflight, perhaps it would only be regarded among the great racing chronographs like the Heuer Autavia or the Tudor Monte Carlo?
The fact that the Speedmaster came to be used by NASA is somewhat serendipitous. Since the dawn of military aviation, pilots had used chronographs to time their flights. When NASA developed their space program, the first astronauts were, as one can imagine, pilots. The Speedmaster was already known to NASA for its personal use by the astronauts: Wally Schirra wore his own Speedmaster, a Reference CK2998, aboard the Mercury-Atlas 8 in 1962, and Ed White donned his Reference 105.003-64 for America's first EVA (extra-vehicular activity) on June 3, 1965.
In 1965, NASA sent formal bids to twelve different brands whose chronographs the astronauts preferred for use in their flights. Chronographs from Breitling (already by then well-established for use in aviation), Rolex, and even a pocket-watch by Hamilton were considered by NASA. Ultimately a Rolex, a Wittnauer and an Omega made the final cut, but the Speedmaster won out and was found to be the most durable and suitable for use in the Apollo missions. The Speedmaster was one of the few pieces of equipment used by the astronauts that was not made specifically for NASA, but given the watch’s outstanding quality, it became the first wristwatch to be flight-qualified for NASA in manned space missions.