Pulsations Bezel 105.003-65 ‘Ed White’ Omega Speedmaster
For every mission that rockets up to the ISS, NASA appoints one Flight Surgeon. This role is given to an MD and requires the oversight of health care or any medical issues that arise, known as the ‘personal doctor to the astronauts’. To be able to credibly call yourself a space doctor, that’s a title which simply cannot be bested. That is, unless there happens to be a space doctor who knows watches, because, if there were, this is what they’d wear: a 1965 Ed White with an original pulsations bezel.
The Speedmaster was made for racing. But very quickly after release, a a few different bezels were available to order with a Speedmaster, not just tachymetre. The chronograph received a decimal, telemetre, and pulsations or ‘medical’ bezel as well. The medical or pulsations bezel is extremely scarce relative to the standard tachymetre, but it’s also slightly murky territory. This is because there are modern service replacements that have been made in larger quantities. Luckily, those replacements differ slightly from this original. The replacements feature dots below each numeral, where the 60s production featured a circular line with graduated markers under each number. Omega don’t include bezel information in their extract of archives, that wasn’t noted at the time.
The underlying 105.003 is a killer straight-lugged 321 chronograph, worn during the first historic space walk on Gemini IV. 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. Its following is small and extremely ardent, rightly so. This one is just that slight bit more interesting for its medical connection.
As examples go, this is an interesting one. It’s bezel is the correct style, first off. But the case, which has full lugs and moderate to heavy surface wear, appears to have been attempted to be opened by a Neanderthal. That wear is not matched in the dial, which is perfectly preserved. Same goes for handset and bezel. Most of the heavy case wear is on the back, and appears to be the result of someone not knowing how to open a screw-down caseback (yikes). The rest is gorgeous. It comes from a well-regarded London retailer.
Find this pulsation bezel 105.003 here from Watches of Knightsbridge for 15000 GBP.