The Omega Speedmaster is without question one of the most historically-significant watches ever created. Ever since the mid-1960s, it has been included in every manned space mission, as indispensable a tool to the astronauts as the sextants they carried. Due to this fact, it often tops the lists of many collectors.
There’s an undeniable mythos about it, as with anything having to do with the space missions. But there’s more to the Speedmaster than mere myth, mere lore. It’s a tangible object, like a moon rock, something that can be held and worn—but unlike moon rocks, which are relegated to museums, a Speedmaster can be bought with relative ease, with dozens of models to choose from.
But as for expense, that’s relative as well.
Early Speedmasters like the 2915 now command six figures due to their scarcity. While straight lug Speedmasters like the 2998 or 105.003 (Ed White) are far more plentiful than the 2915, they can command a premium on the collector circuit. And as for the variants that Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong wore, prices of these examples have also reached nearly stratospheric levels.
Moreover, demand will surely climb as the 50th anniversary of the moon landing approaches.
However, a compromise can be reached with Speedmasters produced later in the 1960s, just prior to and just immediately following the Moon Landing.
The Reference 145.022-69, in particular, occupies a pivotal role in the history of the model. In the late 1960s, Omega decided to revamp the Calibre .321 movement used in all early Speedmasters, simplifying the movement’s construction and making it easier to service. The resulting Calibre, the .861, would be used in the Speedmaster until the debut of the Calibre 1861, which is virtually the same as the .861 but with added rhodium plating.
The .861. has become just as significant to horology as the Speedmaster itself, serving as a base model for movements used by Patek Philippe, among others.
The Reference 145.022-69 serves as a good entry point for the collector who wants a Speedmaster but isn’t prepared to sink six figures into acquiring one. Moreover, one will feel that purchasing a Reference 145.022-69 isn’t settling for less at all, because it still has an impressive lineage and a tangible connection to the space program.
The one that we offer here is an excellent example of a noteworthy and collectible reference. The dial boasts an excellent overall patina that’s slightly darker on the hands, and the Dot next to 90 bezel is crisp. A previous owner installed a later exhibition caseback, the better to watch the famed Calibre .861 dance away; although we have elected to retain this feature, we provide a “pre-Moon” case back and dust cover.
With all the increasing furor over Speedmasters, owning one might seem like prospect as remote as the Moon itself; fortunately, there are Speedies like this one that make the impossible possible.