‘Red Racing’ Dial 145.012-67 Omega Speedmaster
This is the rarest racing dial and a dream Speedmaster. It’s known as the ‘Red Racing’ or sometimes ‘Black Racing’, as both colors are distinct to this dial. Apart from the real astronaut watches and prototypes, they’re as special as Speedmaster collecting gets. There are two iterations, one with a ‘professional’ line at 12 and one like this without. There are fewer than 10 examples of each are known. On the non-pro, as this is, you also get an anachronistic wide O of Omega, which was a feature on much earlier dials. For many years these were so scarce that they were assumed prototypes, some even thought they were fugazi. But no, this a production Speedmaster, just so extraordinarily rare that they’re chasing values around 100K USD regularly.
So what’s really the deal here? Late 60s and early 70s racing dials are a highly collected category of Speedmaster with colorful accents and fun chronograph seconds tracks. Mostly, these watches have grey dials with orange accents, in 145.022 and 145.012. But black and red we almost never see, even now that they’re a known quantity. Unlike most Speedmasters the variant without the professional line appears more collected in these, such as this example. The Red Racing is a watch on the very extremes of enthusiasm, only recently deemed correct and a watch that even many Speedmaster people are not going to be aware of. Combine this with near-prototype scarcity and it’s a recipe for a very interesting market. I also appreciate the fact that this is a Speedmaster seen through a very different lens, not as much a Moonwatch as a racing watch, which was what the original design brief intended.
The market here is a wild one, with so few around. Antiquorum sold one last year, non-pro dial, at an astonishing 206K USD. Phillips sold two the same year, one at 63K and one at 97K. In ’21, Sotheby’s hit 94.5K with the only Meister signed dial known and then sold a standout pro dial for 88K. And then Watchfid put one up last year at 92.5K. It’s becoming more defined, but still kind of the Wild West out there. In ’18, values were half this. I’d draw a parallel to think of this like people thought of Milsubs in 2013/2014. Everyone knew they were very rare, significant, and knew all the nuances. Just no one saw how big the market would get when people outside Rolex Forums cared. This might be the same sort of thing, just switch Rolex for Omega. At the very least, it’s an interesting variation that I don’t get to talk about as often as I’d like. Probably the perfect watch for Lewis Hamilton after he moves to Ferrari?
This example is fairly strong, not perfect, but very correct and honest. Its dial and hands are excellent, you’ll note that other examples of the non-pro dial photographed are also without lume at 3-6-9, that’s just how these are. The case has been lightly polished, but still even and not way overdone. Just noted because this is a great dealer. It was made in ’68 and delivered to Switzerland, where it comes from again today, from Davidoff in Geneva, watch only. Such a shame Omega can’t do extracts anymore, but this is a good’un.