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The Moon Landing owes its existence to a woman who took a job at MIT only to put her husband through law school.
In 1960, Margaret Hamilton, at 24 years old with an undergraduate degree in mathematics, took a job at the Lincoln Lab at MIT writing code for XD-1, a computer that monitored U.S. airspace for “unfriendly” aircraft—predecessor to modern defense software. At first she had intended only to work as long as her husband was in law school, before resuming graduate studies herself.
In fact, when the Instrumentation Lab at MIT was granted a contract with NASA, Hamilton was already slated to start graduate school at Brandeis, in abstract math. However, the Apollo project intrigued her, so she immediately called MIT and set up interviews with two project managers. Both offered her jobs on the same day as her interview.
Hamilton flipped a coin to decide which position to take. Fortunately for Hamilton (and humankind!) the project manager who won out went on to oversee a project that would result in the creation of the world’s first portable computer—the Apollo Guidance Computer. Back then, in Hamilton’s words, “There was no school to attend… to learn what today is known as ‘software engineering.’ When answers could not be found, we had to invent them…”
Hamilton worked tirelessly. She would bring her daughter to work and plug away while her daughter slept on the floor of her office. Once, she rushed back to the office after a party to correct a line of code that she realized had a flaw in it.
The Apollo Guidance Computer represented the pinnacle of technological achievement at the time, and though it was not without its flaws, it was this computer (and Hamilton’s tireless work) that enabled Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to walk on the Moon.
During the Apollo Program, the Omega Speedmaster Professional became absolutely essential for astronauts, as integral to the success of the mission as the Apollo Guidance Computer itself. Though first worn by Wally Schirra, it was worn in every manned space mission from Ed White to Apollo 13. In fact, it’s still a piece of an astronaut's kit, having been used as recently as 2014.
There's something to be said for the collectibility and popular appeal of the Reference 145.022, offered here, 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 Speedy offered here features a few elements that put it ahead of the pack. Firstly, it bears a "Pre-Moon" hippocampus case back offered before the Moon Landing in 1969. It also has a lightly faded "Dot Over 90" bezel correct for the era, an increasingly hard to find element on any Apollo-era Speedmaster.
The allure of the Speedmaster continues to be powerful; various models continue to appreciate with quickening pace and rare examples are setting record high-water marks when they come to auction and public sale. With these premium examples getting scooped up by savvy collectors and enthusiasts, we can say with confidence that there is no better time to acquire a vintage Speedmaster.
Stainless steel case is approximately 41mm (excluding crown and pushers). Omega Speedmaster Professional Reference 145.022-69ST. Omega Caliber .861 Manually-Wound Chronograph Movement. Circa early 1969.
Overall Condition: Stainless steel HF case is in very good condition, showing signs of light and careful polishing. Lightly faded D090 bezel shows signs of age and wear throughout. Dial is in very good condition with fine overall patina, particularly to the luminescent elements of the hour markers and hands. Dial shows light 'tropicalization.' Omega crown. "Pre-Moon" hippocampus case back is in excellent condition with minimal signs of wear.
Includes one 20mm dark brown leather strap.