Whatever your opinion on special or limited editions, when it comes to the Speedmaster, Omega has released some that have become almost as desirable as its more traditional iterations. Despite the fact that the Speedmaster's design has become, for lack of a better word, iconic, it is by no means rigid, and adapts well to a variety of configurations and complications. Nothing illustrates this adaptability better than the models that celebrate the watch's long and fruitful association with NASA--or to commemorate the Speedy itself.
Omega started releasing special editions of the Speedmaster as early as 1969. An example in solid 18k gold was released the year of the moon landing, and is the first limited edition of Speedmaster. Its bold gold dial and red tachymeter bezel are a playful take on the Speedy's more traditional color scheme, and examples of this limited edition are highly coveted by collectors.
Two decades later, in 1985, Omega released a limited edition that has gained near mythical proportions--the Speedmaster Professional Moonphase.
To be sure, there's undoubtedly a touch of eccentricity in a watch with a moonphase indicator. There's a particular use for it that doesn't see much application in today's world, unless you're a farmer or a fisherman. But the addition of a moonphase to the Speedmaster just makes sense, given the fact that it actually went to the moon.
Additionally, this marked the first time that the Speedmaster would ever include that complication.
While that fact alone makes it significant, it's also rare--exceedingly so. Though production numbers of the Reference 345.0809 are inexact, the late (and great) Chuck Maddox put it to about 1300 pieces in stainless steel. For a manufacture that releases "limited editions" that number in the thousands, the Speedmaster Moonphase's relatively modest run makes it all the more desirable.
This particular example is unusual in that it bears a case number of 145.0809--the designation that Omega used to signify a watch sold on a strap. Yet somewhere along the way, a previous owner sourced and installed a Reference 1447/809 bracelet, which is in fact correct for the Reference 345.0809. The Reference 1447 bracelet is itself rare as well, used for only a few years in the early 1980s before being replaced by the Reference 1450.
The Reference 1447 bracelet is distinguished by its sold end links and a quick-release clasp, which allows for easy removal and adjustment.
Internally, the watch is powered by the Calibre .866 movement, a modified Calibre .861 which is the first Speedmaster calibre to include a moonphase.
As one can imagine, a watch that's so few in numbers comes up rarely on the market--for our part, this is the first one we've ever come across.
Complete with box, it is a worthy addition to the stable of Omega Speedmaster models, a time capsule that cements the Speedmaster in the pantheon of horological greats.