Put simply, this is the most special 105.012 we've ever handled. Omega’s Extract of Archive confirms delivery in 1966 to South Africa. The abundant sunshine and heat of South Africa is very likely responsible for the extremely attractive and even tropical dial on this example. The tone can range from bright milk chocolate to warm grey drab depending on the ambient light. The warm tropical tone is entirely even and accented well by honey-yellow tritium. Where many latter 861-calibre Speedmasters can sometimes feel a little soulless or standard-watch-nerd-issue, this is the precise opposite; it’s a Speedmaster that oozes vintage character effortlessly.
The ref. 105.012 isn’t just a moonwatch, it’s the moonwatch; this is the exact reference which Neil Armstrong wore on Apollo 11 while stepping foot on the Lunar surface for all man. It succeeded the ‘Ed White’ ref. 105.003 and was the first Speedmaster to debut what was then called the ‘Professional’ case. This meant it was the first with asymmetric crown guards, the first Speedmaster with lyre lugs, and 42mm. This was the first Speedmaster to nail the modern recipe. Perhaps most notably, though, it was produced with the Lemania 2310-derived Omega calibre 321. This is arguably the most important movement in all Omega’s vast history.
And while that may sound like a lot detail to study, that’s really only the start. For example the bezel has the original, adored dot over ninety (often abbreviated as DON). The Omega logo was still applied back then. For the real nerds, you can tell this watch still has its original pushers and not latter service replacements because the stems are wider. And the signature at six has correct narrow Ts, not a latter service replacement either.
Vintage watches are made special not simply by age, but the lives they have lived. It’s no guarantee that any watch will be made more beautiful by its wear. It’s perhaps one in a hundred pre-moon Speedmaster dials, or even fewer, that reach an end state this gorgeous. This is the kind of watch we’d hold up as an example of why vintage moves the soul most.