In horology there are certain indelible associations. Perhaps the most enduring and the most iconic is the association with NASA and the Omega Speedmaster. The Speedmaster has set benchmarks that, in our opinion, are hard to surpass: the first watch to be flight-qualified by NASA for manned space missions, the first watch to be worn by an American astronaut during a space walk, the first watch to be worn on the moon.
The fact that the Speedmaster came to be used by NASA is somewhat serendipitous. Since the dawn of military aviation, pilots had used chronographs to time their flights. When NASA developed their space program, the first astronauts were, as one can imagine, pilots. The Speedmaster was already known to NASA for its personal use by the astronauts: Wally Schirra wore his own Speedmaster, a reference CK2998, aboard the Mercury-Atlas 8 in 1962, and Ed White donned his Reference 105.003-64 for America's first EVA (extra-vehicular activity) on June 3, 1965.
In 1965, NASA sent formal bids to twelve different brands whose chronographs the astronauts preferred for use in their flights. Chronographs from Breitling (already by then well-established for use in aviation), Rolex, and even a pocket-watch by Hamilton were considered by NASA. Ultimately a Rolex, a Longines and an Omega made the final cut, but the Speedmaster won out and was found to be the most durable and suitable of the bunch for use in the Apollo missions. The Speedmaster was one of the few pieces of equipment not made specifically for NASA, but given the watch’s outstanding quality, Buzz Aldrin went on to wear his on the surface of the moon.
In 1968, shortly before the historical moon landing, Omega released a new reference of Speedmaster Professional with a new movement, the Caliber .861, an improvement on the redoubtable Caliber .321 that powered the astronauts' watches. This new Reference, 145.022, was produced from 1968 to 1971. The earliest of these, ranging from 145.022-68 and 145.022-69ST, are generally considered "Pre-Moon" references, since all subsequent Speedmaster Professionals would bear this engraving on the case back: "Flight-Qualified By NASA For All Manned Space Missions, The First Watch Worn on the Moon."
In 1971, Omega released the Speedmaster Professional Reference 145.022-71ST, the reference offered here. This model combines all the features of previous Speedmaster Professionals--most notably the stepped matte black dial--with a new case back featuring the Speedmaster hippocampus in a medallion in the center of the case back, with the engraved text surrounding it.
One of the most enduring legacies of the Omega Speedmaster Professional--aside from its extraterrestrial heritage--is the continuity of its design. Whether it's from 1971, or today, a Speedmaster looks like a Speedmaster--a horological icon that deserves to travel with its owner to the Final Frontier.
Stainless steel case is approximately 41mm (excluding crown and pushers). Omega Reference 145.022-71St. Omega Caliber .861 Manually-Wound Chronograph Movement. Circa 1974.
Overall Condition: Stainless steel case is in very good condition with sharp bevels on the lugs and no signs of over-polishing. "DN90" bezel is in good condition with some flaking near 11 o'clock. Dial is in excellent condition with no discoloration or major blemishes. Luminescent elements of the hour markers and hands have developed a fine even patina over time. Omega signed crown. Omega case back is in very good condition with minimal signs of wear and deep, legible engravings.
Includes one 20mm steel bracelet (1171/633) with Omega signed clasp. Also includes two 20mm Crown & Buckle