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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.
Omega released the Speedmaster in 1957, in the midst of a craze for racing chronographs. Over the next few years, the Speedmaster saw several changes in dial and hand configurations, but at its heart retained the design elements that would be carried down through the decades: the black dial with its triple-register layout, the domed hesalite crystal, and of course, the tachymeter bezel, signifying Omega's intention for the Speedmaster to be used in automotive sports.
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 Wittnauer were considered by NASA. Ultimately the Rolex, the Wittnauer, and the Omega Speedmaster made the final cut, but the Speedmaster was found to be the most durable and suitable for use in the Apollo missions. The Speedmaster was one of the few pieces of equipment carried aboard the spacecraft that was 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.
And this Speedy, the Reference 145.012, is the reference that Buzz Aldrin wore on the moon. While the Moon landing happened in 1969, the Speedy that the Aldrin wore pre-dated the moon landing by two years. Aside from this amazing fact, the Reference 145.012 is the last reference of Speedmaster to bear the Caliber .321 movement before Omega would replace it with the Caliber .861.
Now, we've featured Speedmasters before, even Speedmasters from this sub-reference. But what sets this one apart is its bare-faced honesty. The consigner purchased it from the original owner, who preserved it with tender loving care. The bevels on the case are sharp, and the JB Champion bracelet and Dot over 90 bezel are perhaps the best-kept examples that have ever entered our shop. With the luminescent elements of the hour markers and hands aged to a creamy patina, this particular Speedy is without a doubt as honest and true an example of Speedmaster as can be found on the vintage market today.
The result is an icon among icons, a chronograph with an impressive heritage that deserves to go with its wearer to frontiers unseen by mankind.
Stainless steel case is approximately 41mm (excluding crown). Omega Reference 145.012-67. Omega Caliber .321 Manually-Wound Chronograph Movement. Circa 1967.
Overall Condition: Stainless steel case is in excellent condition with sharp bevels on the lugs and no signs of over-polishing. Case shows only the slightest signs of light use and wear. Dot over 90 bezel is in likewise excellent condition with minimal signs of use and wear. Dial is in very good condition. Luminescent elements of the hands and hour markers have gained an even deep patina over time. 'Flat footed' Omega crown. Omega case back shows signs of light use and wear.
Includes 20mm JB Champion bracelet with 47 endlinks. Bracelet is in exceptional condition with only the faintest signs of use. Also includes reproduction nylon/velcro Nasa-style strap two 20mm nylon straps from Crown & Buckle