‘Apollo XII’ Omega Speedmaster 3597.16
In the cult of Speedmaster, there is a sort of hierarchical nerd strata . . .or, perhaps I should say fractal. One may venture as deep in any niche direction as they desire. Like modern Speedmasters? That itch can be scratched by an Ed White 321, Apollo 8, or Moonshine with total equanimity. Fancy something more arcane? Maybe the 148.0062 or 3570.31 is more your speed(master). I worship everything at the altar of Moonwatch. However, one varietal which I find a particularly attractive proposition in 2021 is the neo-vintage mission patch series. No hype, all the history, and all the 90s Speedmaster one could desire.
For the Speedmaster’s 40th, Omega partied hard. The manufacture released 23 different Speedmasters with varied mission patch subdials, each referencing a specific event for which the Speedmaster played a role in the cosmos. Emblems were taken from the Apollo Program, Gemini Project, and Skylab. The watches were released in 190 examples per patch, with 40 hugely valuable box sets of 23 also sold included in that number. Needless to say, the confluence of (actually) limited production, neo-vintage charm, and hardcore nerd-ery has proven quite desirable to the Speedmaster community.
This example references the Apollo 12 mission, crewed by Captain Pete Conrad, Lunar Module Operator Alan Bean, and Command Module Operator Richard Gordon Jr. The mission, nicknamed the Yankee Clipper, was the second ever man-on-moon mission. Astronauts Pete Conrad and Alan Bean stepped foot on the lunar service while Richard Gordon remained in orbit. The scientists took photographs, examined the decay on Surveyor 3 which had landed ~3 years earlier, made measurements, and set up lasting experiments. More on the crew’s specific aims and history is available here.
This example is in a spectacular condition. The case is strong, the patch is still brightly colored, and the lume is only just beginning to shift hue. It comes on an original bracelet with a full set and recent service from Omega documented (which should help easy the mind to dial forgery, which unfortunately does exist in these). As ever, do your own research. However, it comes from a reputable small retailer out of Japan. Individual missions that may attract a collector are growing more difficult to find. If you’re considering basing a collection theme around the cult of Speedmaster, you could do far worse than starting with the patch series.
Find this Apollo XII Mission Patch here from Arbitro for 12400 USD.