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We're not going to beat around the bush here. This is one of the most spectacular Apollo-Era Speedmasters we have ever had the fortune to offer!
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.
The result is that the Speedmaster came to be an icon among icons, a chronograph with an impressive heritage that deserves to go with its wearer to frontiers unseen by mankind.
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 watch we have here. This Reference 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.
All hyperbole aside, this particular example is an incredible find. In virtually New Old Stock (NOS) condition, this watch appears to have never been worn or used! With a completely untouched case, perfect dial, handset, and bezel, this watch appears as it would have when it was brand new in the early 1970s. Fitted with a matching bracelet and coming complete with its inner and outer boxes, blank paperwork, and even the original hangtag (with matching serial numbers), this Speedmaster is a time capsule if we've ever seen one, and without question museum-quality!
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.
But not many Speedmasters from 1971 look like this one!
Stainless steel case is approximately 41mm (excluding crown and pushers). Omega Reference 145.022-71ST, Calibre .861 Manually-Wound Chronograph Movement. Circa 1971.
Overall Condition: Case is in mint, virtually New Old Stock condition with only the faintest signs of light wear from handling. Lugs are unpolished and sharp. Dial is in mint condition with crisp printing and light even patina to the luminescent elements. Matching original hands. Bezel is in excellent condition with no signs of discoloration. Crisp case back with flawless engraving and small signs of the residual factory wax seal. Omega signed crown.
Includes 20mm steel bracelet (1175/640) with signed Omega clasp in excellent, unworn condition.
Also includes inner and outer boxes, blank papers, and hang tag.
Given the time-capsule nature of this watch, it comes unserviced. Should the buyer desire a full servicing with warranty, please contact us!