BA 145.022-69 Omega Speedmaster
This is just a Speedmaster in the same way that Daniels was just a watchmaker; true, but it sort of isn’t, because it’s so much more than that. The BA 145.022 was not just the first solid gold Speedmaster, but intersects with actual space history much more significantly than just about anything else post-moon landing. The pale gold dial, onyx indices, ‘OM’ Swiss signature in place of T (for Or Massif, the French for solid gold), DON burgundy bezel, and slightly crude caseback engraving have more soul than any other reference I can think of with an 861. They’re the horological celebratory conclusion of the space race, executed by Omega as a victory lap; American optimism, accomplishment, and opulence in Swiss Speedmaster format.
You’ll know the Apollo XI story, we’re all watch people here. What you may not know is that to commemorate the moon landing, the US government hosted a dinner with President Nixon, the Apollo 11 astronauts, and astronauts who had built toward Apollo XI in prior mission. All were presented with a BA 145.022, the first-ever gold version of the Speedmaster Professional that had seen the Apollo XI crew to the moon. This original gold Speedy was a numbered run of 1014; in series, numbers 1 and 2 went to President Nixon and VP Mr. Agnew respectively. 3-28 went to NASA astronauts, 29-32 went to Swiss friends & family, and 33-1000 were offered to the public. Interesting, 1001-1008 went to Apollo 14 & 17 crews, with 1009-1014 going to ‘other personalities’ (no one knows). The President’s and VP’s watches were refused per US law and currently reside in the Omega museum. It’s a sort of luxurious trophy-tool-watch, taking the chronograph that helped land man on the moon and giving it deserved nobility.
This is a latter public production model, 92X, and I can’t help thinking it’s still a value even at 60K. Since, these have become some of the most highly collected Speedy refs ever. Finding one alone is difficult, in decent condition extremely challenging. Values have shot from 30K in the early 2000s to 50K mid 2010s, recently trading hands in excess of 100K for exceptional examples (Phillips Geneva 9 2019). Astronaut’s personal watches (a vastly different proposition) command well in excess of a million. Three of those actual astronaut’s watches have come up for sale, all quite recently. Now, for any Speedmaster, yes, 60K is insane. But for one of the most historically significant Omegas, with a known production numbered in series, in such a distinct visual flavor, it’s downright reasonable. Particularly when you consider that the reissue of this very watch, the Moonshine Apollo XI 50th, is about 10-15K less. That’s blasphemously close, even though it is a standout watch in its own respect. But I’ll always favor the original to its offspring, particularly the moonshine bioceramic cash-grab which shall not be named here. It’s John F Kennedy to Joey Biden, who would you rather grab a drink with?
This example has a fantastic case and bracelet, with strong factory lines that haven’t hit a polishing wheel to my eye. The engravings are deep with all enameling still present. The dial shows no damage, beautifully preserved. The fact that these don’t have any tritium makes them just that little bit more timeless, less susceptible to age. The crystal, likely original, shows a small bash around the 5 marker. Thankfully, there’s nothing on the bezel. These bezels are totally irreplaceable, this one looks great. It comes with an extract, confirming delivery to Mexico, today from a well-regarded American retailer.