The Omega Speedmaster is without a doubt one of the most desirable watches known to collectors. At the time of its selection by NASA for all manned space missions, no other watch had travelled farther than the Speedmaster. Its resilience in the face of trials, as well as the timelessness of its appearance, has surpassed benchmarks set by any other watch brand.
Of all the Speedmasters, those whose production dates span the model’s participation in the Apollo missions are by far the most sought-after. After all, it was the Apollo missions that—one after the other—tested man’s capacity to venture past the Earth’s atmosphere. The Space Race culminated in 1969 with the moon landing of Apollo 11.
Likewise, the Reference of Speedmaster worn by Buzz Aldrin—the Reference 145.012—as he became the second man to walk on the moon is perhaps the most desirable Speedmaster of all.
However, pre-Moon Apollo era Speedmasters such as those worn by Buzz Aldrin—being the most sought-after—suffer from a demand that their relative scarcity cannot meet. Surviving examples that hit the vintage watch market in relatively unmolested condition can command a hefty premium. Collectors grant these watches the lofty, unattainable position of “grail” watches, those for whom one would gladly part with any number of watches in one’s collection to attain.
And if you’re lucky enough to own an Apollo-era Speedmaster, the temptation to wear it often is outweighed by the desire to preserve it. But tokeep a Speedmaster in a safe would be, in many ways, like keeping a Ferrari up on blocks in your garage. A Ferrari is meant to be driven, and a Speedmaster is—quite simply—meant to be worn.
A compromise can be reached with post-Moon Speedmasters, particularly those in the Reference 145.022 family. Though the production of the Reference 145.022 started in 1968, the year before the Moon landing, Omega continued to produce it until the 1990s. Despite a few minor cosmetic changes, and one major technical one (the transition to a new movement, the Calibre .861), a Reference 145.022 from 1990 looks almost identical to one produced in 1969.
This is due to the remarkable continuity of the Speedmaster’s design. Why tamper with something that’s perfect? And examples of Reference 145.022 produced before Omega switched to SuperLuminova have the added benefit of tritium on the hour markers and hands.
This particular Speedy, with its strong twisted lug case, has a deliciously creamy patina to the luminescent elements of the hour markers and hands. Though from the 1990s, it retains all the solid proportions of the 1960s and 1970s Speedmasters that we so love. Attractive and above all wearable, it’s the perfect choice for a collector looking to get into the wonderful world of vintage Speedmasters.
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