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Much can be said--indeed, has already been said--about the Omega Speedmaster Professional. Initially intended for motorsports, the Speedmaster debuted in 1957, the first chronograph to feature a distinctive and innovative external tachymeter bezel. Already a departure from chronographs of the period, the Speedmaster's flight-qualification by NASA for manned space missions in 1965 turned it into a horological icon that remains unsurpassed.
The Speedmaster may be recognized at a glance, thanks in part to the remarkable continuity of its design. Though in its earliest iterations (Reference CK 2915), the tachymeter bezel was brushed steel and the hands were a distinctive "Broad Arrow," the design language was already established. The matte black dial with its triple register layout and the domed hesalite crystal were already there, and by 1959 the Speedmaster had gained its black bezel. With an appearance that has remained more or less the same over the years, a Speedmaster of the late 1960s looks like a Speedmaster from today. It's a tangible relic of the time when it played a role in the most pivotal achievement in human history: mankind's ascent into the heavens and its first steps on the moon.
The timelessness of the Speedmaster lends itself to collecting. Most collectors own a "Speedy," with preference for particular references and sub-references. Purists will proclaim the Reference 105.003-64 (worn by Ed White as he took the first spacewalk ever achieved by an American astronaut) or the Reference 105.012 (the same reference worn by Buzz Aldrin on the lunar surface) as the Speedmasters to own.
But there is something to be said for the collectibility and popular appeal of the Reference 145.022, which straddles the period between the pre- and post-Moon landing Speedmasters. First produced in 1968, the Reference 145.022 is pivotal in the development of the Speedmaster. While the earlier References of Speedmaster--including those worn by the astronauts--contained the Caliber .321 movement, first designed by Albert Piguet in the 1940s, the Reference 145.022 was the first to contain the Caliber .861.
The sub-reference of 145.022-68, the one we feature here, is considered a "transitional" sub-reference because, even though it has the new movement, it retains the dial of earlier references with the Caliber .321. The 145.022-68 only saw production for a year before being discontinued. What results is a highly-desirable sub-reference in an imminently-collectible watch, which should be staple in every vintage collection.