There are Speedmasters, and then there are Speedmasters. This is one of the latter!
If you're eyeballing this piece you probably already know that the Omega Speedmaster Professional chronograph is one of the finest and most important timepieces of all time. You already know that it was the first timepiece to be qualified for manned space flight missions by NASA. You already know that the Calibre .321 column wheel chronograph unit is one of the finest manual winding movements of all time. And you already know that it was the first watch worn on the moon - earning it qualification beyond reproach for every terrestrial use you could think of. And you know that since the Eagle landed the Speedmaster Professional has remained virtually unchanged in appearance to this day, making it a timekeeping icon in every sense of the word, and one of the most sought-after timepieces by collectors world wide.
But what came before that Professional model? How did Omega cut its teeth and earn its stripes? Well, you're looking at it.
Originally born in 1957, the Omega Speedmaster underwent a number of modifications and improvements in its first decade of production, eventually earning its place in the history books and hearts of passionate horologists. A variety of cases, dials, hands, and bezels graced these early limited production models, making them highly collectable artifacts for serious Speedmaster collectors today.
One of the most desirable variants is the Reference 105.003 that you see here. Worn by Astronaut Ed White during the first American Space Walk, this early "Pre-Professional" Speedmaster is now referenced by his name amongst collectors. Featuring a straight-lug case with no crown guards, this model has a slimmer, more svelte profile than its progeny. With a pie-pan dial with applied Omega logo and "Speedmaster" only script, this beauty dates to approximately 1965, heralding the end of the "Pre-Pro" era and ushering in the age of a timepiece that would accompany astronauts to a new world. For vintage watch enthusiasts like us, this is the stuff dreams are made of.
The importance of early Speedmasters on the collector market cannot be understated. Although models such as the 105.003 command significantly higher values than their 145.012/145.022 descendants, in our opinion they still remain a tremendous value. This watch will be 50 years old in the new year, and has been witness to an age most of us only dream about.
In truly remarkable condition, this particular piece features a great case showing honest wear, a terrific original dial, and all the right elements of a truly desirable early Speedy. No regrets!
For more information on the Reference 105.003 Speedmaster, check out this great writeup by the Speedy experts over at Fratello, HERE.