‘Ed White’ 105.003-63 Omega Speedmaster
In 1965, Ed White became the first American astronaut to walk in space. Needless to say, he is a hero. But he was so much more: an aeronautical engineer, USAF Officer, fighter pilot, crewmember of Gemini IV and Apollo I. He puts my entire life, and likely yours, to shame. Mr White tragically passed in an accident training for the first Apollo mission, but his dedication to excellence lives on. I would have never studied the man had it not been for watches. But more impressive than any of that other stuff is that fact that he has a Speedmaster named in his honor (please don’t take me seriously, ever). Appropriately, like the man, it is a damn special one.
This 105.003 is what was worn during that historic Gemini IV first walk. The reference had a very short production, bridging a gap between the Moonwatch 145.012 and previous (essentially 2998 with an updated reference) 105.002. It was the first ever Speedmaster with the baton-styled handset that is today iconic. It was also produced before the traditional Moonwatch style case with its lyre lugs, this is what we call a straight lug Speedmaster case. This style of case lacked the asymmetric crown guards. The face is familiar, the 39mm straight-lugged body is foreign. Thankfully, the 105.003 was powered by the venerable calibre 321.
The influence the Ed White has held among Speedmaster collectors cannot be overstated. The reference is deeply revered, even being referenced by Omega in their latest 321 Speedmaster. This may in part be due to its instant recognizability and in part its immense historic significance. Nonetheless, I believe them still to be undervalued, as most early Speedmasters. The watch has historically accomplished more than the initial 2915 or 2998. In my personal Zeitgeist, it slots just below Armstrong’s ref. 105.012. I don’t generally wish to comment on valuations. I do wish to say that this is a disproportionately important Speedmaster which is only today finding appropriate recognition. That which came first is not always the most significant in my view.
This example has wonderfully worn aesthetic. Its case is very full, likely never touched by a polishing wheel. All surfaces and its bracelet display an even and consistent level of surface wear with no significant bashes. The bezel has adopted a slightly grey tone. Its dial is clear of damage. All tritium applications have gone golden in age. It comes recently serviced from a well-regarded retailer.
Find this 105.003 here from Mann About Time for 13000 GBP.