After becoming The First Watch Worn On The Moon in 1969, Omega began expanding the Speedmaster collection to feature a variety of new models that came to define the 1970s for the brand. This all began with the Speedmaster Mark II.
Mark II Speedmasters were the first radical departure from the traditional Speedmaster case, and instead of the traditional exposed lug design, the Mark II featured a tonneau/cushion shape with hidden lugs - giving the Mark II a great profile and a look that is distinctively 1970s. 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 an 'Exotic' or 'Racing Dial', as offered here.
Like all Mark II models, this particular example is powered by the Calibre .861 manual winding chronograph movement used in Speedmaster Professional models since 1968. It features a restored case, a service replacement crystal and handset, and is fitted with a very cool aftermarket sapphire display back, exposing the chronograph mechanism. It also comes complete with service paperwork from Omega France dated 2013, and a slew of original parts removed during its restoration.
All in all, this is a beautiful example of one of the most fun Speedmaster variants ever produced!
The Speedmaster Story
After touching the lander down on the lunar surface, Buzz Aldrin transmitted to Houston control these words, nary more than a whisper, the first communication between human beings not concurrently on the same planet.
When Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon for the first time, his Omega Speedmaster was in the module serving as a backup for its electric timer that had malfunctioned. It was Aldrin who, following Armstrong to become the second human to walk on the moon, introduced the Speedmaster to the lunar surface.
Today, Omega has become synonymous with the Apollo missions, the moon landing and space exploration in general. The provenance of the brand, driven by the incredible reliability and functionality of the watches that they produced throughout the space era is second to none. But at the heart of the moon missions, at the core of their objective, was the intrinsic human desire to explore, to crest the horizon and, undaunted, step forth into the unknown.
NASA approved the Speedmaster for its space missions because it was the best, most accurate timepiece they could find, and testing revealed that it needed no modification in order to remain functional under the duress of space flight. NASA was concerned with accuracy, durability and usability; they didn't care about Omega's history, they needed a tool that could accompany humans on a mission to the moon and help them get back safely. They exposed the Speedmaster to high and low temperatures, blasted it with vibrations, challenged it with g-force extremes and submitted it to high and low pressure. Through it all, the Speedmaster ticked on, proving that it could go where no watch had ever gone before.
Today the Omega Speedmaster is often regarded by collectors and enthusiasts to be the single most important wristwatch ever made, if for no other reason than that it accompanied us on mankind’s greatest feat – touching down on and exploring a heavenly body.
While most of the Omega Speedmasters in circulation haven’t left Earth’s atmosphere, we can all take a certain amount of pride in knowing that they could – and would continue to perform just as they would down here on the ground. When you stop and think about all that entails, that’s really saying something.