When one thinks of the Omega Speedmaster and space flight, missions like Gemini 4 and the Apollo Missions come to mind.
But when the Speedmaster you see here (a Reference 145.012) was made, it was the Surveyor program that captured the hearts and minds of the inhabitants of this "pale blue dot."
From June 1966 to January 1968, NASA sent seven lunar rovers to the Moon, mostly to test the feasibility of soft landings on the lunar surface for the Apollo missions. One of the most amazing things about these missions is that all seven crafts in the Surveyor program approached the lunar surface on a collision course while decelerating over three minutes to a 3 m/s soft landing.
Imagine sitting at your station at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, your eyes fixed on the Main Screen. Would the spacecrafts (all $469 million of them, not counting the hours of blood, toil, sweat and tears that went into designing, constructing, and launching them) gently alight on the moon's surface? Or would they slam directly into the surface at around 6000 miles per hour (which is what happened, more or less, with Surveyor 2)?
Perhaps the most famous of the Surveyor missions was Surveyor 3. As the spacecraft slowed to make its landing, reflective rocks confused its lunar descent radar, causing a systems malfunction. Though the engine were program to turn off at 14 feet above the lunar surface, they kept running.
Instead of the soft landing that the scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory had intended, the probe hit the moon's surface and bounced 35 ft into space before descending again with another bounce of 11 ft. It finally settled on the surface safely where it fulfilled its mission. Two years later, its landing site would become the place where Apollo 12 would land two years later.
This was a critical time in the Space Race, and in the same way that the Speedmaster played a pivotal role in landing mankind on the moon, the Surveyor program laid the groundwork for our astronauts to finally set foot on the surface.
The 145.012 was the last Speedmaster to use the famous caliber 321, and is one of the easiest ways to own the great column wheel chronograph movement built by Lemania.
To make the story even more romantic this particular reference is exactly what was worn by Buzz Aldrin as he stepped after Neil Armstrong onto the dusty, rocky shores of our closest celestial body, the Moon. Though this particular Speedmaster shows signs of daily loving wear, it's the perfect daily companion. More than that, it's a close tie to the legendary days of humankind's first walk among the stars.